Posts Tagged ‘Family
I love this job. 🙂
Today I’d like to share a rare non-sewing-related post with you all.
For as long as I can remember, my mother has just loved beautiful glass artwork. When I was a child she only owned a few vintage pieces, heirlooms that had been passed down from my great-grandmother. As the years went by (and we rugrats grew up into more cautious individuals) she gradually started purchasing pieces of her own. When she bought her house, the home I spent all of high school and much of college in, and where she lives still, she moved into a full fledged collector.
It’s an older home, nestled under the spreading branches of a half dozen mature oak trees. It is full of windows. In every room of the house, every single exterior wall has at least one window, and in many rooms the windows stretch nearly the full length of the wall. Furniture placement has always been a challenge. My mother has never minded. She loves the natural light, and loves the beautiful views of her ancient oak trees, her hibiscus and boganvilla, the curly leaf philadendron and king sago palms, the plumbago, and the two dozen other varieties of plants growing cheerfully in her Florida garden.
And all that natural light dances off the colored glass that has found its way into every room of the house as well. There are glass vases, bowls, sculptures, and glasses everywhere – on the coffee table in the living room, on the bookshelves in the family room, above the cabinets in the kitchen, on her dresser in the master bedroom, on the shelves and filing cabinets in the home office, and perched to receive the most daylight on windowsills throughout the house.
Not long after I set up my shop on etsy, I met a glass artist there who is very close by to me here locally. We’ve met in person a few times to discuss our respective work. She is not only a talented artist but also a lovely person. So, of course, I asked her to custom design a piece for my mother for her upcoming birthday.
My mother’s home is decorated largely in rich jewel toned blues and greens. She is always in search of beautiful glass pieces that combine the two, but this has always proved a surprising challenge. Brilliant cobalt blues abound. Beautiful emerald greens are plentiful. Pieces that combine the two can scarcely be found. I asked Michele to create such a piece.
What she came up with is simply stunning! The blue and green are both brilliant shades. The hand cut sections of glass form waves of color. The patterns are irregular, asymmetrical – and yet beautifully balanced. The whole thing continues to be interesting even after gazing at it for quite some time. I was delighted to be able to present such a gift to my mother for her birthday this year, as she was to receive it! This newest piece, I’m told, was granted a space in a window sill in the living room, where the light shines through it all day.
I used every possible square inch of blue fabric for my skirt, but had plenty of the black and white polka dot fabric leftover, so I made a quick skirt for my girly girl! No pattern here, I just cut a 10″ wide strip of fabric about time and a half what I’d need to wrap around her body, and a narrower strap almost twice as long as the first. hemmed and gathered the long strip, sewed it to the shorter one to create that flouncy look at the bottom. Stitched up the back seam. Folded over the top to create a casing for some elastic (which I then added, and stitched the hole closed). Voila!
I let her try on the skirt and – the girl is well trained! – when I grabbed the camera she rushed over to the curtain we always use for a back drop. Then, she struck so many cute poses I couldn’t pick one. Here – enjoy a multitude of pics!
My aunt Bonnie came over this afternoon to try on the white dress – hooray! Shortly before she came, Eva just begged to go pick blackberries in the back yard. I always get scratched up to no end from the tiny hook shaped thorns on the blackberry bramble. So despite a thorough handwashing, I didn’t notice that one finger was still bleeding slightly until I saw the BRIGHT red drops on Bonnie’s dress as I was attaching the hooks and eyes.
Thankfully, prompt application of hydrogen peroxide removed the stain *completely*. We determined where the hooks and eyes should go on the neck strap, confirmed that one spot on the hem in the back needed to be straightened, and addressed the corset which was bunching slightly in the front. All three minor issues have since been resolved and the dress is finished!
We took a few pictures when Bonnie was here this afternoon. I hope to take better photos (with better lighting, where you can see the difference between white chiffon and white satin) soon but for the moment I will go ahead and post what I have. Looking good, Grantie! Looking good!
I’ve been in an absolute frenzy the past few days but making so much wonderful progress! I now am far enough along on my Aunt Bonnie’s white dress to have something worth showing. 🙂
The photos below show the foundation for the corset and bodice, as well as one of the three skirt layers. I debated sewing all three layers directly to the outer dress. Instead, the two layers of chiffon will be attached to the outer dress and the lining is attached here. This way the seams can face towards each other and a finished surface is what will face towards the body, which I imagine will be more comfortable.
In the outer dress the distinction between the corset and bust will be a bit more pronounced, as they’ll be made of different fabrics. For the under dress, different fabric wasn’t necessary and the boning runs the full length to provide the best support. Still I think you can really begin to see the shape this dress is taking!
Bonnie came over Thursday afternoon to try on the test corset. It looks like a pretty much perfect fit! I also showed her the skirt muslin and we talked about the design a little bit more; and I have a green light to continue as planned, no further modifications needed. Hooray!
This has taken less time and tweaking than the first dress, which makes sense since it’s the second time I’ve sewn for my aunt Bonnie, and a bit more aware of the details to fitting for her. It’s very nice to spend less time on the pattern and get to move on to the dress!
So, Thursday afternoon and Friday morning (my days off, by the way) I got to work on the actual fabric. All that had arrived so far was the chiffon and the fabric lining. I didn’t even have my nice quality thread to sew with. I cut every single piece of lining and chiffon I would need, and pinned them all together, and had them waiting in a pile.
Finally, Friday afternoon a box with all my remaining items from JoAnn’s arrived (hooray!) and I was off in a frenzy sewing and serging and ironing. I’ve made splendid progress. All three layers of the skirt are sewn together, and the lining for the corset and bodice is all sewn. I’ve also cut and pinned the first of 2 layers of satin for the corset and bodice, and will hopefully have time to sew that together this evening.
No photos yet… nothing was really to a point where I could put it up on the dress form. But I’ll take some in the next day or two I’m sure.