Tuesday, April 23, 2013


It was school vacation last week so I didn't manage to get in a lot of quilting, but I did sew.

My daughter Grayson needed to come up with a costume for her role "Peaseblossom" in her school's upcoming production of I Hate Shakespeare.  "Peaseblossom" is a fairy from A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Grayson's director wanted her to find a "hippie" dress in pink and green.  Not eager to spend our vacation in the car driving from store to store looking for the perfect hippie fairy costume, I suggested to Grayson that we make the dress.  

I sew all the time, but it's been a while since I've actually sewn clothing.  When I was in high school, I made a skirt or two and during my first pregnancy, I even made a couple of maternity dresses.  And when the kids were little, I used to make their Halloween costumes every year--of course now that they are older, they want to buy or assemble their own costumes and my days of sewing with Winnie the Pooh-colored fake fur are long gone.  

But I wasn't too worried about getting the job done--it was just a simple dress after all, and I've been watching Project Runway for years, so I was pretty sure I had it covered.  Grayson was hesitant, but I told her that if we made the dress it would probably save time, it would definitely save money, and she could have exactly what she wanted.  "Trust me," I told her, "It's what I do."  She finally gave in and off we went to the fabric store.

I had my first moments of doubt when it took her 90 minutes to choose her fabric and pattern--but I figured she was distracted by the less than desirable behavior of her little brothers.  My concern grew when I was trying to figure out the notions.  She had chosen a Burda pattern--German, I think--and instead of actually listing the necessary notions, the pattern had little pictures that I assume were supposed to be universally understood.  When even the store manager wasn't able to translate, I took my best guess and grabbed interfacing, elastic, and bias tape.  At the cash register, the total came to just over $40--not exactly the bargain I was looking for, but there was no going back.

Flash forward:

The dress took me two days to finish and left me with a few more white hairs and a bruised ego.  I struggled with the fabrics--one gauzy, one slippery.  Quilting cottons make so much more sense.  I struggled with the fit and had to adjust the bodice when the arm holes ended up too tight--apparently German women have unusually skinny arms.  And I struggled for an hour to fish the elastic through the waistband only to have to remove it when Grayson decided that she didn't want an elastic waist after all.   

But in the end, Grayson was really happy with her moderately priced, reasonably pretty, homemade pink and green hippie fairy dress.  And I was comfortable with the realization that I should probably stick with quilting.    All's well that ends well.

The pattern and fabrics -- floral on top with an underskirt of the green.
Please try to disregard that the pattern is classified as "very easy."

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