Saturday, August 19, 2017

I Made a Red Horse Dress!

I found a sewing room in Romania!

Yes, a sewing room! Complete with sergers, industrial sewing machines, fancy professional irons, and a fabulous storage room stuffed floor to ceiling with all sorts of pretty fabrics!

Now the best part of this sewing room? It was my ministry for the month. Every day I got to hang out with 5 other people and sew. What ever we made would be sold to benefit the children's home my team was partnered with this month. Sewing and helping kids? This was right up my ally!

On my first day in the sewing room, the director, Katarina, showed me where the patterns and fabric were stored then pretty much told me to make what ever I wanted! 

I had an idea in mind for a little girl's dress and a matching doll dress. So I found a basic bodice pattern, adapted it to be what I wanted, then drafted a circle skirt and sleeve flounces to go with it. Next I went on a search for the perfect fabric and found 2 meters of this pretty red jersey knit fabric featuring a Swedish horse design.

With all the hand sewing I've done on the World Race I'd almost forgotten how quickly I could sew a dress with a sewing machine! By the end of the day I had the little girls' dress and matching doll dress completed!

The next day a girl from the Children's home came to model the dress.

I'd say our model approved of the dress, she could hardly stop spinning in it!

She was also quite a fan of the matching doll dress.

After our mini photo session, she stuck around for a while to watch us sew.

She was fascinated by everything and quite excited when I let her help me use the sewing machine to hem a skirt. 

My sewing room friends and I enjoyed having this child hang out with us for the morning and watching her get excited about everything! In a few years she will have the opportunity to come to the sewing room a couple afternoons a week to learn how to sew and earn some spending money.

Who knows, maybe she'll come to love sewing just as much as I do!

If you want to find out more about what I've been up to in Romania this month, check out my World Race blog!


Sunday, August 6, 2017

My Mom's Pretty Pink Striped Regency Dress

Every once in a while, whenever I find an excuse to dress up in historical clothing, I can get my mom to dress up too - and I love it when that happens!

Up until I made her red 1890's Aesthetic dress last winter, she had two dresses to choose from on these occasions. A "pioneer style" dress she made herself when my little sister was a baby,

and a "colonial style" dress (that could pass as regency if worn with a sash), made around the same time.

Now these two dresses have served my mom well for many years, but last year we decided it would be fun to make her a new historical outfit. She just needed to pick an era and I'd do the sewing. Well, she'd just about made up her mind that she wanted a regency dress, when she got cast in the church Christmas play. So, the regency dress idea was tabled and I began sewing her 1890's dress instead.

At the beginning of December, all the costumes for the play were done and my thoughts turned to Christmas presents. I remembered my mom's mention of a regency dress and I already had the perfect fabric in my stash for such a project - a pink striped cotton/linen blend that I knew my mom liked. So I figured, why not? A regency dress for my mom for Christmas. How hard could it be?

Well, the hard part wasn't making the dress, the hard part was finding the time to make the dress. I used Simplicity 4055 (with a couple minor adjustments such as easily removable long sleeves) and the dress went together like a breeze. On Christmas Eve night. Yes, I began the dress around 7 pm, finished it around 3 am, wrapped it around 3:30 am, and my mom unwrapped it around 10 am. Merry Christmas!

My mom was quite surprised by her Christmas present, and she must have liked it as she immediately put it on for Christmas dinner! (My sister and I also wore our regency dresses for dinner, because if you have them, why not wear them?)  That made staying up the night before to finish the dress all worth it! Even better? Twice since then, my mom has had occasions to wear her dress.

First, I was thrilled in April when I received this picture from my mom! She and my sister both dressed up in regency attire for my sister's Dolley Madison presentation at home school co-op. 

Then last week my sister hosted a historical tea party for her 13th birthday, so my mom wore her regency dress once again: this time with the long sleeves removed to suit the high August temperatures. Each time my mom has accessorized the dress with a lace fichu fascinated at the neckline of her gown. 

Now that we all have regency dresses, hopefully when I go home in December my mom sister and I can do a regency photo shoot, just like we did with our 1890's dresses before I left!