I spent a nice hunt on Saturday in the sewing room (how did I ever collect this much stuff?) hoping my brain hadn’t gone on hiatus a few years ago deciding to toss the old Christening dress pattern sizing templates. I found them – including all the bodice and sleeve variations! You have no idea how relieved I was…
That meant Sunday was devoted to ‘tracking down fabric’. It took awhile, but I found some very nice ivory cotton batiste and voile. By the distance everyone was giving me, I have a feeling I was doing a lot of ‘talking’ while crawling around pulling bolts of fabric and comparing.
I pulled out all the cotton laces – they’re white, and will be tea dyed – the silk ribbons, white also and on the same list for tea dyeing, silk thread, wash out marker, Fray CheckÂ®, both fabrics, silk pins, clear elastic and snaps, double pin tuck and wing machine needles, and generic Tylenol.
The big question now was: what do I want to do? I have absolutely no idea. Well let’s try a pleated bodice. We already know it’s a boy (at least the first one is), so I’m going to try to not drown everyone in ruffles, and pleats are a nice alternative.
I cut a strip about 10″ wide and pulled out the pleater board. The only trouble I ever have with very thin fabric is keeping the pleated strip straight. After filling the board I steamed those pleats into place, used 3 pieces of clear tape to hold them together and gently rolled them out of the board. It looks good! On to the sewing machine to run a line of straight stitches down each side and removing the temporary tape.
I laid the pleated fabric down and lightly traced the bodice front on to the piece. 15 minutes later I was convinced that wasn’t the way to go. AARRRRGGGGHHHH.
Time for a different approach. How about…. hmmm okay, yeah I think I’ll try that instead. Simple slightly decorative stitching using silk thread – vertically – combined with lace and / or entredeaux.
To do that though, I have to prepare the fabric. I take two layers about three inches bigger then I need, and place them on a sheet of wax paper. Then I grab one of the best sewing inventions in the world: Perfect Sewâ„¢ from Palmer/Pletsch. This is a slightly thick liquid that’s poured onto your fabric and allowed to dry completely.
After it’s dry, you can peel that piece of fabric off and use it like a Frisbee! You will experience absolutely no distortion when sewing on fine fabric. When I finish added any decorative stitching, I’m going to simply wash the stiffener away. I’ve been using Perfect Sew since it came out in the early 90’s. I love this stuff.
Now I wait!
You can always tell who your friends are in a time of crisis. I happen to be in ‘time of crisis’ and my so-called friends are all laughing at me!
I admit it’s my own fault, but still… a little sympathy and understand would go a long way towards my conveniently forgetting a few issues.
So what did I do this time? I did what any good sister would do! See my brother Ray and his wife Bre are expecting their first child in a few months, and I asked if I could make the Christening Dress. I made the dress when my sister had her first, and I’ve made quite a few for family members.
Years ago I created these beautiful old-world style dresses for sale – special order only. Each dress was 42″ or longer, made from fine cotton or silk batiste, using tea-dyed cotton laces and silk ribbons. They were gorgeous if I do say so myself. Pin tucks, and gathers, ruffles, laces, bonnets and booties. If you visit the Gallery, you can see some of these dresses.
Each dress also took between 3 and 5 weeks to make. I finally got tired of paying for the privilege of sewing for someone else; I was barely covering the cost of supplies and my labor wasn’t even a factor. While I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing, it wasn’t paying the mortgage. Major bummer.
Now we come to the part about my friends.
I created the last Christening Dress about 14 years ago. Since then I’ve gotten divorced, moved twice, gained a new snuggle-bunny, have more cats, gotten a new sewing machine, and have none of the supplies I need (or patterns I had created) to make the the dress. When I bemoaned my situation to these friends of mine what did they do? They laughed at me! In fact I believe Storm was laughing so hard she was crying… right before I got patted on the head.
I think what triggered the crying was when I told her I had to have it done before July 15th.