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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Totally uninspiring skirt shots and better things

I am happy to announce that I have the Magic Skirt out of my system for the time being. 

I am restlessly ready for new projects.

Miss Scarlett is starting three mornings a week nursery school in September and she needs clothes. I haven't made much for her so far because her dad has a cousin with 4 little girls and the hand-me downs have been gorgeous and constant.

However Scarlett has decided she only likes dresses. A fashionista already:

And she is tall. 

She needs her own clothes. She needs fitting and extra length.

With a 5'10" mother and a 6'4" father this is no surprise. I have to admit however that I am getting weary of new people saying "My she's so tall isn't she?" the first time they meet her.

This is where girls get messages, because being tall myself I know that there is a pretty little thing going on. Not everyone was meant to be tiny and we had better be making that crystal clear to our little girls.

So I am on a campaign to respond to that each time I hear it with "I know isn't she lucky? I love being tall." 

And I do.

The words last. I have a friend who is plus size, always was, always will be. She has shared with me how long it took her to get her mother's voice out of her head, you know that one that was saying "You will look thinner in this."

We really have to pay attention to our words.

Back to sewing. 

Miss Scarlett as you can see is beautiful but so many dresses are just too short on her. I have tried to sew a little for her in the past but found toddler patterns hopelessly sized way too wide for the length, particularly in the sleeves - all the sizing mistakes I see in some adult patterns where every little piece gets over graded up - like those plus sized dresses with giant neck opening.

Back to sewing again.

So I am going to be making knit dresses (if anyone has a cool online source for fabric let me know) starting from a pattern I made this morning from a Landsend dress she likes.

I am ready to do this after three more Magic skirts.

A woven denim one that is OK for things like laundry folding or sewing room cleaning or walking around with a sponge trying to figure out where that spilt milk smell is coming from, never mind who spilt it.

Here is the back view of that utility model. I left out the front darts so I could get it over my hips after a brief period of thinking that putting a skirt on over my head made sense. 

You have seen these on me so use your imagination. Really scroll down these numbers are not so squat in real life. 

I hope.

A stretch cotton version - I think I like this pattern best in stretch wovens:

And finally a lace version, underlined I think successfully in tricot, the outside and inside views:

If you do this underlining thing remember to bag the lining out at bit- you know make it a shade longer and ease it in so the outer fabric doesn't pull up at all. Now how would I know that?
And finally, because I like to see these pictures myself, here is my youngest.

My entrepreneur/gardener/builder/landlord/surfer. The one of needle in his foot and skipping competition fame. 

The child I reference when some mother is telling me her own teenage son stories - the one I trot out in a you can't top this way, because of his long history of mishaps all of which he has survived.

Living evidence that if you can last through it all, they actually turn out. 


annie said...

I'm not sooo tall, 5'9", but I always wanted to be short and cute and cuddly. Not tall and competent. I guess I'm past that but it would have been nice. All because my mother was tall and didn't like it. On the other hand, both of my girls are a good bit shorter than I, 5'5", and they hate it. Always telling me that they got the short genes and wish they hadn't. And believe it or not, I encouraged them to embrace their height and shape as it was, beautiful. You just can't win that one. Lots of media pressure, you know the cute short girls in the movies, etc. The female agenda.

I love your magic skirts and your musings.

Anonymous said...

From another tall Barbara - The joy of sewing for little girls after raising only boys! I can't say enough good things about Ottobre magazine. Their patterns are darling, come in a huge size range, and fit perfectly unlike Big 4 patterns. I have been sewing Ottobre clothes for my 2 DGD's since they were babies (now 5 & almost 8) . Only downside - you have to trace the patterns, just like Burda.

My mom was a dainty 5'3" and I always felt huge and gawky around her, so I think you make very good points about self esteem.

Martha said...

Of course, it's not just tall ladies or heavy ladies. My children are shorter. Growing up, it was hard for them when people assumed they were younger than the step-sibs. You know, gave them kids menus and other indignities.

In fact, it's all females. We just have to comment on their appearances, don't we? Truthfully I find myself doing it all the time, especially because I sew.

I notice those young ladies at church who look adorable in their clothes. It's just so hard not to say something.

Angela said...

I am 5'8" and my daughter is 5'9" (so far). For a long time she refused to let me see if she was taller than me. I always promoted the pluses of being tall (and there are many), and finally one day she decided she was just gonna own it. Stand up and be proud! We both have lots of cute and petite friends (and they have their pluses, too!) There is room for all of us, and we just have to be what we are.

jemilyea said...

I've heard good things about Ottobre children's patterns. Here is a link for knit fabric: Chez Ami Childrenswear

If you ever make the drive from Canada to Florida, maybe you could make a stop at this company's Raleigh outlet sales.

Branka said...

I also higly reccommend Ottobre childrens patterns, each magazine has many patterns to chose from, they fit perfectly, come in all sizes and are just adorable. The only thing is you have to trace them, but I'm used to that so it's not a big deal:) Well worth of money spent, I love Ottobre kids patterns.

Linda said...

You are so right about the words we use. I was so skinny in high school and everyone made a point to tell me that. My mother and grandmother never told me that-thank you both. When Twiggy (the model) came along and was soooo thin, I was so grateful. I was not tall but there was some one who was thin and everyone was talking about her. Today thin is really tooo far IN. No one can call me thin now, but those words stuck in my head for a long time. I love your response back to the comment.

I love what you do with the Magic Skirt pattern.

sdBev said...

They not only turn out, they turn out quite handsomly.

Patty O. said...

When well-meaning people would comment on my daughter ("Isn't she beautiful"?) it made me realize the skewed message she was getting. My response was always "And she's smart, too". Never hurts to reinforce the message to our girls that appearance isn't a measure of worth.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. Nice haircut, beard trimmed. But t-shirt and jeans means that he is a man at work. A man that is hardworking, competent, risk-taker...That is one good looking man.

It is so sweet the way you two seem close.

Bunny said...

My 8 year old Sophie is VERY tall and slender, like her dad. I made a top recently that fit her four year old cousin perfectly. It also fit 8 year old Sophie perfectly. I just have to make the straps longer. Try some measuring and just do the simple length adjustments. It may sound weird to use such a small size but if it fits, hey, it fits. Us big girls need to do more of this for ourselves.