Saturday, February 26, 2011


It's hard to break old habits. When the kids were young, I had to sew really fast or I would never get anything done. I took shortcuts and sewed up quick things so I could feel some sense of accomplishment. Of course toddlers can get away with elastic waist pants and slightly wonky dresses and tops. As we are rapidly approaching teenager hood, my sewing needs to change as well.

I enjoy heirloom sewing because the inside looks as beautiful as the outside. The seams are all beautiful french seams. I love the look of a hand stitched shell edged neck. Even the lace is inserted and the edges are finished so that at a glance, you cannot tell right from wrong sides. I have often put a sleeve in inside out because I did not check carefully.

My girls are too old for much heirloom sewing these days. They have long outgrown the lacey, ruffly dresses of their babyhood. I still love making them and have found a dress to make for my oldest for Easter that will incorporate some heirloom sewing but in a more grown up way. I am excited to return to my first sewing passion. Hopefully I can restrain myself and not make it too much like a doily.

This brings me to my waistband picture above. I was so used to racing through things just to get them done that I was taking shortcuts. When my shortcuts produced a less than stellar product, I was disappointed. My oldest needs new shorts for summer and having no money to buy them, I will be making them. They need to look like all the other kids shorts. I decided to take my time and finish the insides properly. I added some buttonhole elastic so they would be slightly adjustable for her ever changing shape. They turned out beautifully and my time and attention was not in vain...she loves the shorts.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here Kitty, Kitty

When I was growing up, my dad owned a store in the middle of town. He has been an appliance repairman for almost 38 years. Mom says that he started the business to pay for my delivery. I often saw him come home at the end of the day with random odds and ends. An oil painting, a basket of fruit, homemade preserves, and often a bucket of change. The change he cleaned out of misbehaved dryers. The other odds and ends were often payment or thank-yous from doting customers. My dad would occasionally work on barter when the goods or services were useful to our family. He had a contract with the local butcher shop which kept us fed on fresh beef, chicken, and pork. He never charged a clergy member and when he knew someone could not pay him, he often made up an excuse why there was no charge. When I went off to college with my new computer, the salesman was the lucky owner of a new refrigerator.

I suppose my history with the barter system is why I still use it. If at all possible, I am more than willing to barter for goods and services. Dance lessons this year and last were paid for by my efforts sewing and altering dance costumes. As this year has been a year of financial hardship, I am thankful for my ability to sew. I am also thankful for my enjoyment and passion for costuming. I know that I am doing what God has planned for me because it is never a burden and always exciting.

I just finished up the last of my costuming for the March production. The cat masks have been a challenge. I must have made 8 different versions before I was satisfied with the look. They needed to be sparkly and girly for the big girls wearing tutus and pointe shoes, yet still look like a cat. They needed to be comfortable for these girls to wear. I ended up making a layer of flannel, a layer of canvas, and a layer of satin. They were rather time consuming but I think the finished result is worth the extra effort. I cannot wait to see them all on stage.