Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Devil's In the Details

This morning, a female vintner friend of my husband's came over to taste some wine (she was once his summer intern - don't laugh! (he doesn't smoke cigars) - and has since become a family friend). She and I get along well, so when she popped her head in the door to find my dear Muttonchop, she sat and had a little chat with me first. I was looking disheveled, with my head buried in layers of shiny pink fabric. She didn't seem to mind, but I explained what I was up to. I was pleased to see that she seemed impressed by my ambition. She even mentioned how "detailed" my little dress was. It is, but I have to say, that mean ole devil sure is in the details.

Because of those details, I have spent the majority of my waking hours for the last day-and-a-half forgoing dishes, laundry and even personal hygiene. All in the pursuit of a sweet princess dress for my first-born child to proudly show off at school tomorrow (and promptly dip in the mud or rip under her shoe). Honestly, though, it's been fun. It sure beats the alternative, and hey, when I can seriously look my husband in the face and tell him I just can't do the dishes right now, because I absolutely must get this sewing done... well, that's a happy day.

This morning, once the kids headed off to school, I immediately got back to sewing (well, if you call "I did it after eating some breakfast while browsing knitblogland for a half hour" immediate). And, I am happy to say that after 4-6 just-one-more-half-hour-to-gos the dress is done. And, I'm so happy, I'm going to force some pictures on you even before the model comes home.

So, please feast your eyes on my handywork. Just don't look too closely, or you'll see how poor of a seamstress I really am. I really need to take a course, I think. Learning on my own is all well and good, but I have some obvious tension issues (not at all helped by the fact that Lambchop #2 once fiddled with my bobbin tension dial).

You may have noticed that it looks very little like the cute picture I drew of the design I had in mind (the one in my last post). That's because Lambchop #1 is extremely picky and has definite ideas about which fashions she likes and which she doesn't (oh, yes, did I mention she's five??). She saw that poofy skirt and immediately vetoed its use. She insisted on a straight skirt. So, a straight skirt she got, but I pulled a little fast one on her (or pulled the wool over her eyes, if you knitters prefer). I did a little bunching thingy in the back. She'll never see the poof and it'll serve to keep her from falling flat on her face when she tries to run. I think she'd thank me if she truly understood that motivation. Anyway, I'm happy to say that she tried it on (without the zipper and sleeves) last night and exclaimed the skirt was exactly what she wanted.

It's certainly not perfect, but I did learn a little more (as I do each time I sew anything), so the time spent was well worth it. I even thought of a fun way to avoid doing a traditional hem, which I'm not so great at. See that first picture up there? It's the hem. I just used a wide zigzag stitch in a contrasting color thread, and Voilà! Decoration. I love contrasting colors in the stitching anyway, so the zigzag makes me giddy when I look at it. Notice the contrasting color on the zipper, as well. The original request was put in a week ago for a blue dress, but I didn't want to go to the store for any fabric or notions. She was more than happy once I pulled out the pink fabric, but some scrounging had to be done for other parts of the dress. The zipper is hot pink. I had it on hand for another project. It's not an invisible zipper, as it probably should have been, but since it matches the contrasting thread, I think it looks great. Actually, I think it looks really fun. It keeps the dress from being too serious. It is a kid's costume, after all. And, the lining inside the bodice as well as the petticoat skirt thingy that holds the black tulle are t-shirts. The bodice lining comes from a lavender cottony t-shirt I got for 1 euro a year or so ago at a local store. I had two, so I sacrificed one. The petticoat thing comes from one of the shirts I bought at the local thrift shop last week. It sort of fit me in the body, but the arms literally cut off my circulation. For the euro I paid for it, I figure I put it to good use.

I have one or two final touches to put on her costume, and she'll be ready to go. She originally asked for sleeves, which given the cool weather of Springtime, is pretty reasonable, but I didn't have enough fabric for that. She suggested gloves. Also a reasonable request, but is she insane? I'm not making gloves, and I have no idea where I'd locate matching gloves at this point. So, I'm going to use some pink spandex fabric I've got lying around to make some of those faux-gloves that have an elastic that wraps around the middle finger. I also have an idea for a bracelet purse, but I don't know if I'll actually go through the trouble. I did promise somebody a Batman cape, and even if it doesn't have to be done for tomorrow like the dress does, I still want to get to it before I lose my motivation.

Oh, and ladies, please calm yourselves. Nobody's middle-aged around here. Go take a post-menopause hormone pill and have some chamomile tea or something. I was only joking about my early-graying head at the end of that last post. Boy, you girls sure are sensitive. Am I going to have to start to watch my mouth around here? You'd think I said something political the way you people jumped to correct me on that.