I've returned to my roots! This is with the help of my daughter Katy, who is a new wife of a new Marine and will be living in Hawaii for the next 3 years at least. She wanted to add some "Hawaii" kinds of clothing to her wardrobe and so while we were in our local fabric store on another errand last week, she found two fabrics that she decided she couldn't live without. So we went to the pattern counter to choose what these fabrics would become. Because Simplicity patterns were on sale for $1.99, we obviously went to that catalog first. She found a pattern that was designed for knits and she thought it would work nicely, so that was the one we took from the drawer. Because she chose fabric with a very large and bold design line which included stripes, we had to pay particular attention to the way the pattern pieces were laid out on the fabric.
I learned to sew as a 7th grader and never stopped once I started. I just loved to sew and still do. While I probably didn't choose dresses like this vintage 60's design I found on line, I tried to be as fashionable as my little-country-girl-from-Indiana budget would allow. I wish I had kept my old patterns! My mom probably handed them off to goodwill in one of her spring cleaning frenzies. This pattern is for sale now at nearly $20 - an astonishing price when we used to pay about $.45 for most patterns we bought back then.
Here is the first dress we made. What I re-learned is that you cannot mix knit fabrics with woven - especially when lining the bodice! We had gotten it all sewn together and when she attempted to try it on, found out that she could not because it would not stretch to fit! Grrr! So, while she was at work, I carefully un-stitched the whole top and found some off-white knit in the ole stash that we could use for a lining piece. I am a firm believer that one cannot sew without an iron and a seam ripper - make friends with both because you will be using them often! We were able to finish that bodice in no time, had a successful try on and then proceeded to finish the skirt, hem and all. A first success is what she (and I!) enjoyed!! But, hey, why stop there???
This is the 2nd dress pattern she chose. It's made from gorgeous, but wildly slippery fabric that was determined to slide as much as possible under the presser foot. We pinned aggressively and persevered, however, and the result is a very pretty, and perfect for Hawaii, dress.
Here is a close up of her 2nd dress. She added some sew-in jewels to the collar (hope they wash ok!) and it really adds a nice touch.
This weekend of stitching was worth the time and effort on both our parts. I was able to share with her some of my vast years of experience and she has two beautiful dresses to pack. I have another student to teach, but have tucked away in my memory banks some wonderful bonding time with my dear (dare I say "little"??) girl who will be leaving us soon to make a home of her own.
We do have one more dress to make - she just couldn't stop at two, now could she? Sew, armed with knowledge of that made-for-knits pattern and what needs to be tweaked on it, we will attempt another one like the striped dress. This time, there are large geometric prints; we have no stripes to deal with, this making the cut out session a bit easier (I say this with certainty, but will certainly run into a different problem, as we often do!) and the sewing a bit quicker than the last time! Nothing like good ole trial and error. Just glad I know how to fix those errors before they get the better of us both!