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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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Sunday, August 2, 2015

A sewing update

I had big plans not to do anything or even blog until I got the flower girl dresses done.

However I have given up on that recognizing that there is a time to stop for the day.

All sewers know what I mean - it's the opposite of the sweet spot - it's that time where you say just one more buttonhole and then you cut through that last buttonhole right through the entire front of the jacket (yes I did this exact thing in a jacket I was making for a girlfriend in about 1975), or you get impatient with taking out a few stitches and rip a hole near the neckline.

I once snipped a thread on my sister's grad dress hem as she was going out the door and cut a hole in the skirt.

You see where I am going with this.

This particular project, these four silk taffeta dresses are going really well and I am being careful. Which is why I knew when to call it a weekend tonight.

I have the skirts all gathered and even hemmed and the bodices finished with the ties in the side seams.

All I have to do now is attach the bodices to the skirts, insert the zippers, and hand hem the linings in place.

Silk taffeta is interesting. It picks up every mark and adopts every wrinkle. I sure wish I could remember who I lent my steamer to, I am going to need it when we unpack in DC. It has made me realize too that when you see those Old Masters portraits in museums and the dresses still have fold lines it is because they were silk taffeta and there was no outlet nearby to plug in an iron or a steamer.This stuff remembers the folds.

When I was doing the hems I got nervous about pins and so used big paper clips to put up the hems when I hand stitched them. This was so fast and easy I think I will use this idea again when doing normal hems:

In my spare time I also made my daughter a simple dirndl style skirt so she could try some pattern mixing with a bought top, to be worn at the meet and great after the rehearsal dinner.

After I made this up, she was away for the weekend when I worked on it, she told me she actually wanted the stripes horizontal. I told her I could take it apart and do that, but I really was thinking if she says yes to that one I am just going to quietly leave town so I don't have to. 

Some things you just say to show off.

Fortunately she said it would be OK so we left it as it was although I did have to take the waistband off and take it in about 3" because apparently no one in my family can be trusted to take their own measurements, and I should know that, so it is probably my own fault. 

A mistake that will not happen again.

Here she is in the skirt out her backyard after a day at the beach with the kids, so you are supposed to take that into account when you look at her hair and make-up less face. 

It kills me that she was surprised I didn't do the stripes across - after all these years of sewing I had more or less assumed that any person wouldn't want their bottom half to look any larger than it is - that is at least what I would have thought. As it is she thinks this outfit makes her look fat. Considering she has a 27" waist despite three kids I don't think anyone would think that.

Finally this is Miss Scarlett who saw me with the camera taking pictures and wanted to show you her being a butterfly, that is fabric from my stash BTW:

Once I have the flower girl dresses done I think all I have left to do is one for my step-daughter and then me.

Mine is this Marfy pattern which arrived in the mail a few days ago - they come in an envelope just the pattern pieces no picture even of the garment and no instructions. I should be able to figure it out and for once in my life may even make a muslin for this one:

Before I get going on this I have to get my 75 jars of blueberry jam made for the wedding welcome baskets for guests.  I have been in touch with a farmer and am going to go out and pick up 40 pints, which I hope is enough, in about ten days, so I better have all my sewing except for myself done by then. 

Somehow this dress doesn't look like something a person who is making all that jam would wear - so I guess my plan is to go to the wedding in disguise.

My husband is coming home Thursday and he just emailed me to suggest a golf over night at a resort for our anniversary.

Little does that man know he is going to be spending his anniversary sterilizing jars for me instead.

For better or for worse, and I am pretty sure he remembers what he signed up for.

Now off the bed. The dogs are looking tired. 


Elle said...

Your daughter looks lovely in that skirt and top. And of course a butterfly in the dappled light is a beautiful sight.

Jodie said...

First of all, I don't know why you would ever want horizontal stripes. AND....GOOD LUCK! I'm sending good vibes your way

Beth said...

This brings back memories of my mother. Cautioning me to quit sewing while I was ahead. The younger me would have tried to keep sewing and end up with a "hiccup". Lovely daughter, lovely skirt.

badmomgoodmom said...

I read that which stripe orientation is considered slimming is cultural. In Africa, everyone knows that horizontal stripes are slimming. In North America, we think the opposite.

Cognitive scientists have studied stripe orientation and perceived lengths of lines. They didn't get conclusive results.

Kay said...

Your daughter is so TALL! How could she ever think she looks fat? (BTW as a 5'2" person, when I say someone is tall it is definitely a complement) And I hope to look that good with makeup and a fresh do in my next life, never mind with no makeup and beach hair.

I live in Md., in the DC Metro area. If you want to borrow my steamer, you are welcome to it.

jirons42 said...

What an huge undertaking! You are sewing up a storm.

Julie Culshaw said...

Yeah, everyone is wearing stripes horizontally. And I guess they don't mind that it emphasizes the size of their behinds, go figure!

Louise Perry said...

You made me laugh with the comments about making your husband steralize jars for his anniversary. You are so busy! The stripey skirt for your daughter is lovely and she is not fat at all.

Laceflower said...

That is one seriously sexy dress you are making for yourself, best make a muslin. Keep us posted through the process; I'm too scared to make a Marfy.

Anonymous said...

Love the stripey skirt combo. So fresh and pretty. Your daughter is beautiful and I can see the variation on a gene.
That's true love – sterilizing jars on the anniversary.
Vancouver Barbara

Anonymous said...

Your daughter's outfit is lovely (as is she) and your wisdom about quitting while ahead is clearly well earned, and resonates with anyone who has sewn even one thing late into an evening. I cannot believe all that you are doing but you are clearly getting it all done and sharing with us, too -- bonus! Good luck on the remaining sewing (a Marfy muslin is a good idea), and the jam-making. Blueberries in upstate New York this year have been excellent -- hope the same is true where you are.