Small Things

I have a couple of confessions to make.  The first is that I have not been doing any sewing.  At first I chalked it up to post-vacation doldrums and the psychological adjustments that usually accompany the return to reality.  Anyways, I’ve done a tonne of thinking and tracing and mental sewing, but not much real sewing.

I embellished the neckline of the swimsuit coverup.

shell necklineAnd started working on a small stumpwork box.  I’m new to stumpwork, but have always been intrigued by it.  Here’s a fern leaf and a bluebell – fishbone and straight stitch.  I’ll be working on bigger bluebell petals with wire bluebell

E’s Prom Dress Finale

Front view, modeled so nicely by my vintage Acme fully adjustable “living” dress form.  🙂

Bodice front

Another bodice pic.  I tried to get those sparkly star effect thingys happening with the light prisming through the crystals, but obviously my photography skills aren’t up to snuff, and I wasn’t about to Photoshop them in.

So there we have it.  Six yards of silk chiffon + silk peau de soie bodice embroidered with freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, silk flowers, japanese seed beads + petticoats and a variety of supporting layers = one completed prom dress.  I had a lot of fun!!!

E’s Prom Dress 3: Embellishments

Japanese iridescent glass seed beads, silk flowers, fresh water pearls and Swarovski crystals for the bodice.

A summer top

topThe second UFO is now a wearable garment.  It’s about 9C outside – hence the big mommy-sized sweater!fp backRosebuds in the buttons for the fly-away back and adjustable straps.fp straps  Front strap embroidery – bullion rose and rosebuds; detached chain leaves and fly-stitch stems & calyx.IMG_0536

I also managed to quickly put together a new petticoat, since DD3’s outgrown the previous one.  I used a RTW tank, cut it off at what I thought was waist length (it’s stretched a bit since it’s been hanging around waiting for a nice day for photographs) and attached a four-tiered peasant skirt.  The bottom tier is about 6 yards in width.  I used remnants from previous petticoats for this one, so the top two layers are different weights of Egyptian cotton shirting, and the two bottom layers are Swiss broderie anglais, which I originally purchased because of the fabulous edging for the last now-too-small petticoat.   hem & shoesI finished the bottom with white satin ribbon.  And the Lelli Kelly’s are too small this year – a big disappointment in this house!petticoat

White Linen

I’ve finished one of my three UFO’s!  This was originally supposed to be DD3’s Easter dress three – read it:  not one, not two, but THREE – years ago.  But I never got around to finishing up the smocking or the embroidery.  I was just not motivated.DSCN0378The dress pattern is from AS&E #74, and was originally sized up to a 7.  I find that the Australian kids sizes are quite a bit bigger than US or European kids sizes.  DD3 is really a size 10, but can still squeeze into this dress, although it’s a bit short on her.  Needless to say, it’s going into the heirloom closet.

DSCN0379It’s white linen with cotton smocking and embroidery.  The original version has embroidered short tulip sleeves with piping and a piped embroidered peter pan collar, but I left them off because I thought it looked better without them.


There’s a belt instead of the usual big long ties for a big bow at the back.  It’s a nice touch and suite the clean lines of the dress.  Although I really couldn’t be bothered to be a perfectionist about matching the widths of the belts since it involved turning one of them inside out and ripping out the piping and redoing it, it’s done, and that’s the end of it.  I’m annoyed it’s not perfect, but I am not redoing it now.

DSCN0390The bottom band is a double width of the linen.  I’m happy with the piped and bound armholes and neckline.  I think it ties the whole dress together.  And now that I have buttons, I’ll be finishing up another UFO in the next couple of days. Yay!

It’s outgrown, so now what?

Home Coming (AS&E #66)

I’ve finally decided to part with a winter coat I smocked for DD1 about 8 years ago.  It’s another pattern from Australian Smocking & Embroidery Issue 66. It included a little purse, which I thought was a cute touch.  The roses and leaves are made from strips of cashmere.

It was my first attempt to smock a heavier fabric by hand…. I mean actually marking the fabric and pleating it by hand, as it was too bulky to put through a pleater.  What’s a pleater?  A little hand-turned wonder that pleats the fabric for you, saving a lot of time, not to mention ensuring that the rows of pleats are precise.

But back to the coat.  It’s a beautiful coat – a little heavy – but warm and there is so much wear left in it!  Why keep it in my closet for someone 30 years down the line when I can always make another one – and would enjoy it, too?  So I handed it down to a friend who has a daughter younger than all of mine.  In a way I’m happy that it’s going to someone who will appreciate it, but on the other hand it makes me sad to part with it.  This particular friend’s mom was a seamstress, trained in Italy, so I know she appreciates the work that goes into a garment like this.  But it’s hard to part with something that has a lot of love and time put into the making of it.

Just last night DH managed to encourage me with an offhand comment about how art isn’t really worth anything until there’s someone willing to pay for it.  In his defense, I see his (time = money) point, but it still is a hurtful and sad comment.  Is what people create really so “worthless” if there isn’t a return on the investment, so to speak?

purse with roses

I know I would be very hesitant to fork over what this purse is actually worth in terms of material and labour (maybe $15?)  if I saw it in a store, but is that because I know I could make it if I really wanted to have it?  Because I’m not one of the “rich” that don’t think twice before paying ridiculous amounts of money for one-of-a-kind garments?  Or because I don’t think it’s worth it or that it will be tossed after 3 days of use?  Yet I love to spend my time to create an item like this!  It’s enjoyable, I’m pleased with the tangible result of what I spent my time on, and it most definitely gives me a creative outlet…. a place to wind down and relax while I do something that I love!