Old Skills and Memories Rekindled

Some years ago I bought a summer dress on sale; simple, round neck, sleeveless, no shape, one size too big, perfect for hot summer days when one doesn’t wish to be constrained by clothing. I no longer like the fabric, but still like the style, so I decided to embark on a dressmaking endeavour. Not a new adventure as my gorgeous Nanna had taught me some dressmaking skills in my girlhood. All that was required was to bring them to the fore of the memory. The one thing I wasn’t sure of was making a pattern from the dress. So I called on the professional skills of my friend Maree who helped out…..well actually she drafted the whole thing!

Armed with a lovely Japanese fabric

and the pattern, courtesy of Maree

I made a start on the dress on Sunday afternoon.

After sitting quietly and working out in my mind the order of the steps involved in the making, (with Nanna sitting on my shoulder), I wrote out some instructions for myself, then started.

Fronts darts were the first step after cutting out. The voice of Mrs MacNeill, my high school home economics teacher reverberated in my brain. “Remember girls, nice smooth darts please, no pig sties”. As her student, I pondered the association of darts and pig sties, while trying to repeat her demonstration on my fabric, and could find no correlation, until she repeated the message after looking at some poor hapless student’s work. Then I realised; pig’s eyes, not pig sties! But forever after, my darts are made without pig sties! See?

In the middle of all this, B kindly offered to make lunch and he cooked a delicious meal of scrambled eggs.

Who knew my boy was a ” master chef” and could “garnish with rocket”?! By the way, that’s steam from the eggs, not a misty setting on the camera for the romance of the cooking!!

Then it was back to it. I remembered how to do the facings, trimming the corners and clipping the curves. Do you know, I think this turning tool is probably from my high school days!

Found a button for the back

and a little hand stitching later…….

…..it’s finished! All in one afternoon! Looks big on the hanger, but it’s comfortably large!!

While sewing I remembered lovely times spent with Nanna as “we” made clothes for me; the outfit she made me for the Little Miss competition when I was about 7; watching her skills as she wielded her shears, cutting unerringly into the fabric; the chats and laughs we shared as she guided me through garment construction. Happy memories!

While Mrs MacNeill may not have given me an A+, I’m very happy with it and I reckon Nanna would have been too. So thank you Maree, Nanna, and even Mrs MacNeill. This could be the start of something…..

Happy stitching

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10 Responses to Old Skills and Memories Rekindled

  1. Helen F says:

    So how many more are you going to make???? It looks fabulous well done M!!!!!

  2. Fan-bloody-tastic Mrs C. I reckon you will make more than one !!!! Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday ……..

  3. Suz says:

    Great job! I have two pieces of fabric waiting to be made into blouses or something! You never forget those dressmaking skills! And with Nanna watching over….yippee!

  4. Glendacust@gmail.com says:

    I’ve been fabric shopping today for fabric for a top!!!!
    I’d love to find some one to draft a couple of patterns from comfy tops I have if anyone knows someone!
    I love yr dress!!
    Thank you miss magpie for my quilt!!!

  5. Gloria King says:

    “WELL DONE”, Always new you were talented “love it ” will be wearing it on Thursday will we?

  6. broderie says:

    My sort of a dress, why don’t they make them like it now !

  7. marian says:

    impressive and all in an afternoon..wow!! i’m loving the fabric too!!

  8. Anne says:

    It’s a long, long time since I did any dressmaking! I had an awful sewing teacher at school, but a friend taught me how to use a pattern, and also how to do tailors’ tacks. It has been cold here – the ice on the birdbath didn’t melt!!

  9. Miss E says:

    Fantastic job M! For the first time in years, I have been doing some dressmaking for myself. My Nana taught me to sew, too… we began with dolls’ clothes and simple skirts. I had forgotten how much fun it is!!
    This last weekend I made a wild waistcoat in Union Jack fabric for my daughter to wear to a fancy dress party.

  10. Thimbleanna says:

    Very cute Meredithe! It looks perfect for your summer. Apparel sewing will always be my favorite — I just wish I did more of it!

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