Ho Hum Hem

Bonnie dropped by when I got home from work a few days ago, and tried on the dress.  It looks absolutely AMAZING on her!  The foundation does provide enough support, and all the prior alterations have created a wonderful fit.  She decided she wanted me to take a few inches off the bottom so that the dress comes right above the knee on her, and we marked the locations for the hooks and eyes on the neck strap.  And that was it!  Just a couple of eensy little quick steps to be fininshed!

*sigh* But hems are boring.  Fold, pin, stitch, iron.  Fold, pin, stitch, iron.  It takes forever, and while a garment looks FINISHED once it is nicely hemmed – it still looks basically like the same garment.  Taking bizarrely shaped pieces of pattern, sewing a few quick seams, and suddenly having a DRESS is my favorite step.  Easy work and instant gratification.  Hems?  Hems are a necesarry evil.  And this dress, fully lined and with a chiffon layer on top, was going to require me to hem THREE layers of fabric.

So, I did what any logical seamstress would do.  I procrastinated.  🙂  First, I actually did have a couple of days without enough time to sew.  And then I promised my husband I’d do my share of the chores this week – I’ve been slacking while working on this dress, and since he’s been busy taking finals, he hasn’t really had the time to pick up the slack.  We’ve been living in polite squalor these past weeks.  But I’m sure you all knew that already, if you read my last post!

When the housework was done and I had time to sew, a less experienced procrasinator might have resigned herself to actually hemming the dress in its entirety.  I did actually trim the excess inches off the bottom as we’d planned, serge the raw edges, and even contemplate folding up the first little bit, but I found my OUT at that point and  decided instead to make Bonnie a purse.

One of the downsides of re-inventing a pattern is that I have to estimate the fabric I’ll need.  And I’m not yet actually good at this.  After cutting out all of the pieces to Bonnie’s dress, I had just over a yard each of the chiffon and the tafetta leftover, and since she paid for it, I wanted to put it to good use for her.  I used some of the fabric to make a little matching wrap.  And, inspired by many other sewing blogs I’ve ready lately, I figured a hand bag would make a nice use of the remaining tafetta.

 Now, the whole point here was to make USE of the money Bonnie had already spent (well, that, and of course AVOIDING the whole process of hemming).  So I didn’t want to race out to JoAnn’s and spend another $5 or $10 on purse handles, magnetic snaps, and a zipper.  Or, ahem, a pattern.

You guessed it – I decided to wing it.  I cut simple rectangles of pattern paper so my layers would all match up, and used two layers of tafetta sandwhiching plastic, for added stiffness, to make each side of the purse.  One blog I read (I apologize but I have forgetten which one of the many I browsed through) suggested using a shower curtain liner for this, and I just happened to have a spare liner in the wrong color sitting on *my* messy dresser top.  I stitched the layers together into a box, added black vinyl industrial snaps leftover from my diaper sewing days, and sewed on a fabric strap.

Of course, before I managed to sew on the strap, Eva discovered it, fell madly in love with it, and announced that it was “my blue hat!”  So I resorted to working on the hem a bit until she went down for her nap, at which point I snuck the purse back and finished it.

It’s a simple design, has no pockets, and isn’t the absolute most stunning purse I could ever imagine making; but it’s attractive, matches the dress, and was essentially FREE to create, so why not?  Plus, it let me put off the hems for a few blissful hours.

 Of course, I did break down and get to work on the hems.  All three of them – lining, dress, and chiffon (which was a delightfully easy rolled edge on my serger, instead of hours of folding, pinning, stitching, and ironing as the first two layers had been).  Then I settled on the couch with needle, thread, and a good movie and hand sewed the hooks and eyes onto the neck strap and above the zipper in the back.

Which means (drumroll please)…. the dress is finished!!!  But I’m afraid I’m going to leave you with a slightly anticlimactic end to this post, I haven’t yet taken photos of the finished dress.  I hope to deliver it to Bonnie either this evening or tomorrow after work, and get some photos of her wearing it.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a final proud picture of my cutie pie, modeling the finished purse.


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