I remember visiting fabric stores with my momma when I was little. “I’m going to make you a dress,” she’d say. “But first we have to pick out a pattern.” We’d go through pattern book after pattern book. She’d see something cute and point it out to me. I’d say no, I didn’t like the color, or the print, or too many flowers. Because the picture was made in a fabric that didn’t suit my tastes, I would rule the pattern out completely and keep looking. Most of the time we both ended up frustrated. Sometimes she would find a pattern she liked and we’d go straight to picking out material. It was years before she made me realize that I was only supposed to be looking at the shape of the dress, that the rest was completely up to our discretion and we could do whatever we wanted.
I like to think that I’m better about that now. I like the freedom of being able to take what I want and like about a pattern and change all the rest of it. I have an easier time doing that when it comes to sewing.
This dress is a perfect example. The inspiration was white and blue. I was presented with green satin. I had some very overwhelming pink organza. I love how it turned out, and so did the owner.
Crochet patterns are ever challenging though. I see a gorgeous pattern, and I love everything about it. Then I look at my yarn stash, and see nothing that will do justice to that pattern. Much of my stash is a collection of hand-dyed single skeins. They are the most beautiful yarns I’ve ever seen, but finding the perfect patterns to showcase their beauty is difficult. To that end, I will be showcasing my collection of one-skein patterns. Many that I have used, many that are in my ravelry queue. Reviews will be provided where appropriate, of both pattern and yarn. My work schedule is about to get crazy with the upcoming holiday season, so hopefully this will provide an opportunity to reflect.
Among the 40 bazillion other things I have in the fire, I got the bright idea to start a craft fair. I live in the perfect location, it’s absolutely ideal, with a large crafting community. It’s early enough in the year that I can still advertise, I know several people who are behind the idea one hundred percent, I’ve got the perfect location. It’s great.
I’ve never done this before, okay?
There’s nothing special about that, there’s a lot of stuff I’ve never done before. I have three or four almost confirmed vendors, my sister is going to have a booth, I’m going to mix some of my stuff in with hers (shh!), it’ll be great. I’m researching and trying to come up with the few hard-and-fast rules we’re going to have.
I have a name. I have a press release. I have a location.
It’s going to be a simple thing. I’m not in it for profit. I’m in it to get an opportunity to purchase Christmas presents from local people like me.
This was my view at my sewing class last night. Twice monthly 5th-8th grade 4-H’ers get together at the extension office and I get to teach the girls to sew! It’s one of my favorite and definitely one of the more rewarding things I do. And last night, watching how little help they needed (most of it being with cranky machines), seeing how comfortable and familiar they are with a sewing machine, the progress has been amazing. When we started in October half of them had never touched a machine before and sewing was something their grannies did, but not their moms because they “have absolutely no patience”.
In October the class was quiet. The girls were shy. Now the giggling doesn’t stop and I occasionally get hugs as they’re leaving. Last night there were apparently cookies involved and when I arrived there was already some hyper going on.
The class so far has consisted of doll clothes, wherein the girls learned about patterns and pinning, following a given order of things and pressing. Doll quilts, which they’re going crazy over, trying to see who can get her the corners of her 9-patch to match up the best. Bags for the older girls, which I haven’t seen since. And since they were told last night that there are only 4-5 classes left, a frantic searching for a final project to complete.
They. Love. Sewing.
Half of them asked for (and received) a sewing machine for Christmas. They brought them to the class and we made sure they had them threaded right.
This is what it’s all about. Teaching something that’s almost been tossed aside and forgotten in favor of the “in” brands. I love watching the creativity come out. The fabrics they choose to put together in a quilt. The sharing as they all work together to find out why a machine isn’t behaving properly. This is my part of making sure that sewing, the skills, and the desire to make something continues on. This is paying it forward.
My family generally plans an annual historical ball. For a few years the theme was Civil War Christmas, but recently we moved it to October (warmer and less busy) and changed the theme to costume. Before that happened though, one of my sister’s best friends wanted a dress.
My favorite thing in the world to do is to look at a picture and make my own spin on it, so I sent her to the computer. She chose this design:
Her material was a beautiful green satin and someone had just given me a gorgeous piece of bright pink floral organza that I was puzzling over. It was too bright to go over white, but it was perfect over the green. So I overlaid. I did make the dress two pieces, rather than the one it appears in the inspirational image.
She was very particular about the bows on the shoulders.
I was very particular about the ruffles on the sleeves.
The bodice zips up the back, which definitely isn’t traditional or period correct, but it does allow for ease of dressing.
I call it my masterpiece on rare occasions. At least until I make something I’m more satisfied with.
I made this 1860’s-style ballgown for myself. Inspiration was taken from this image:
Mine was a three-piece ensemble consisting of skirt, bodice and waist-cincher. It was my first experience working with taffeta and I learned a lot. Like how it smells like acetate when you first get it. And how it unravels in the wind when you hang it to air out. And how it absolutely must be serged/finished or your skirt will fall to pieces. The bodice I made from a leftover piece of white satin and edged in taffeta. The waist-cincher was another experience entirely as I put eyelets in the taffeta. I’m still ridiculously proud of this dress, even though I’ve worn it a grand total of once.