Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The One Where I Run Away From Home

I spent this past weekend in Doylestown, PA where I visited my friend, Loy, for no other reason than I had to leave town if I wanted to sew. I've been too busy thus far this year to do any meaningful sewing, and I anticipate my life to continue that way for at least another month, so the only solution was to run away for a three day Craft Weekend. Loy's place fit the bill remarkably well since she is a lacemaker, glassblower, silversmith, knitter, quilter, potter, and jeweler. Oh, and she spins her own knitting yarn too.I wish I had gotten a photo of her spinning wheel, but the battery on my camera died before I could snap it.

I'm probably leaving out some of her other skills but one I enjoyed this weekend was her ability to cook:
We enjoyed this crusty, fresh baked bread Sunday afternoon with tea, butter, and jam. Yum.
But I'm getting ahead of myself; on Friday evening I was waiting at the Richmond airport to board the plane and one of my fellow passengers had on a gorgeous white dress with a beautiful jacket. She was totally rockin' it while waiting to board and I couldn't help but surreptitiously take her photo:

How fabulous is this outfit? How gorgeous does she look? I love the scarf, love the pocket book, love the whole way she carries this off. I desperately wanted to a) tell her how much I loved her dress, and b) beg her to tell me where she got it. But she got away from me before and after the plane landed, and I was never able to stalk, I mean, compliment her.
I can assure you I did not look this put together. I was wearing jeans and a sweater that is starting to pill, but I can't throw out because I love the color. : )
My plans for the weekend were to rectify this situation and make a muslin of a new dress pattern that I got at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Expo, another dress by Kay Whitt, called The Monique Dress:
My vague plan is to make this my Easter dress, but after my last Kay Whitt escapade, I knew a muslin was a must. First though, I have to show you what I was sewing on. This is Loy's sewing machine that she got at age 13, and it was used then:

Loy thinks it is from the fifties; I wouldn't be surprised if it was older. Sewing on it isn't bad, but the foot pedal has a tendancy to stick and just keep running; it's like driving a car with no brakes. Fortunately, it completely behaved until the last seam, and then it just kept sewing along as if a ghost was running the damn thing. Loy gave it a stern talking to, and a shake, and it finally quit. But then it wouldn't start again. I guess we hurt its feelings. Loy is going to try and get a new foot pedal for it since she has never bonded with another machine. She has tried, she really has, but she always comes back to this one.
But back to the Kay Whitt pattern. I paid $ 13 for it, so I decided to take the time to trace the pattern pieces. I also decided to trust Ms. Whitt's sizing, but before I traced and cut it out in my muslin fabric, I doubled checked my bust size. When in the world did I go from a 34 bust to a 36????? I don't remember this. It can't be possible. And yet, there it was, right on the tape measure.
So I traced and cut a size small, and it fit perfectly.
These are horrible photos of me; I hate to think I really look like this in real life, and if I do, Vicki, please let me know (I'm counting on you). They were taken on a rainy Sunday late afternoon, and it was cold, cold, cold. The dress is not as short as it is pictured here; there is a band that goes on the skirt edge to make it longer, but I didn't bother as it was just a muslin. The biggest surprise is that the "waist" is really a raised empire waist, rather than sitting at one's actual waist. That isn't what I got from the pattern photo. I even double checked the pattern to make sure I didn't miss some lower bodice pattern piece. Nope, I did it correctly, and the "waist" sits right up under your bust. I'm not long waisted either; if anything, I'm a tad short waisted . . . it's a mystery.
Loy and I went to the local fabric shop and I bought some fabrics to make this into a very bright Easter dress. I'm looking forward to it, but I don't know when the making of this dress will occur. Lent starts tomorrow, so I guess I have 40 days to make it happen!
My other revelation this weekend: my scissors are crap. I used Loy's Ginghers to cut out this muslin and there is just no going back. I went out today and bought a pair for myself and can't wait to use them.

This was a much needed getaway weekend. I feel like my sewing compulsion has been satisfied and hopefully this will get me through the next four weeks where there will be no time for any sewing/quilting/knitting!
Parting Shot: One reason I've been busy; the Carpenter was received into the Catholic Church on February 6, 2011. The Sacrament of Confirmation, Father Spencer presiding:
It was a great day.


KimQuiltz said...

Congratulations to the Carpenter!

You are stunning in your dress (the lighting wasn't the best, that's all) and the plane lady was stunning too. Why can't I ever look like that? Oh yeah! I'm not dark and exotic and chic. I forgot.


I so want that Easter dress patter! Googling it now...

Mary said...

I'm impressed with all the talents your friend Loy has!

Can't wait to see the dress. Partly inspired by your dressmaking I bought a book with skirt patterns a while back but it's kind of like my cookbooks...I enjoyed reading it but probably won't ever actually make one.

gwensews said...

What a blessed day for the Carpenter! And for you, as well.

Sounds like you had a marvelous mini-vaca! And you are beautiful in your new dress!

Get away from the Carpetner once in a while, long enough to write a post!

Summerset said...

Well, you certainly have been busy! I like the dress - looks great on you and will be lovely for summer.

Audrey said...

I wondered what you have been up to. Looks like the new dress will be another winner. And I'm glad everything is going well on the carpenter/church front. Sometimes problem with sewing machine foot pedals just take a replacement of a spring or a contact strip inside the pedal casing. No need to replace the pedal which might be difficult for Loy do do on a ?Nelco? brand sewing machine. A good repairman can advise her on the best solution. Happy sewing!

Becky in VA said...

Your posts are always a joy to read, and this one has such a good ending!