Monday, December 23, 2013

How Sew Beautiful Makes My Life

I bought my first issue of Sew Beautiful magazine the year before I became pregnant with my eldest child. I flipped though it slowly and carefully, in awe of all of the things I could never sew and promptly forgot all about it.

Twelve years later, I've finally bitten the bullet and started subscribing to a magazine that has become far more important to my sewing journey than I assumed all those years ago. I'm also proud to say that I can manage about half of the designs featured in those inspiring pages. So when I was looking for some Christmas ideas, it was only natural that I started thumbing through the pile of SB issues I keep nearby.

Isn't this pretty? It was designed and sewn by Janet Gilbert using the Pascale, a Sew Beautiful pattern that was released in issue #80 back in 2002. The silk reminded me of the green taffeta I bought from Joann's on Black Friday a few years ago. Mine is polyester but it was a good price and I was feeling brave. I decided that if I could find some decent embroidered ribbon, I'd give it a go.

I was pretty amazed to find Joann's had exactly what I was looking for. Usually, their ribbon selection is a wee bit lacking but I keep coming back because you never know what kind of magic you might uncover. While I was there, trusty coupon in hand, I picked up some poly organza for the underskirt. Because my ribbon looks markedly different from

I pleated the front bodice back in September, I think, a decision that sounds good in theory but is awful when you're the mother of a preteen in the middle of a series of body changing growth spurts. Also awful, the decision to force polyester fabrics through your pleater. I only broke one needle, however, and the piece that give me the long kiss goodbye didn't launch itself in the general direction of my eye.

It was a good day.

And so, I spend the next few months in various stages of procrastination. Around Thanksgiving I decided I needed to get a jump on and backed the bodice up for a road trip. I arrived in Florida (aka God's waiting room) with a ziplock bag of embroidery thread and some time on my hands. I did not, however, arrive with the exact color of DMC floss I needed to continue. I had to go to three stores before I found #610 and then it was time to take my forever ill prepared behind home.

Did I continue smocking there?

Nope, of course not. There is a reason I call my blog hot mess, more or less. Because that's what I am, a procrastinating hot mess who more or less manages to complete projects. But I digress, a phrase that was the second runner up in the "what shall I call my blog" informal poll I took. Instead, I waited until two weeks ago, knee deep into an advent scarf to wake my behind up and get to business. Once I got to it, business was booming.

In a matter of a few days, I went from those top two rows of smocking, to a complete front skirt piece. Within a day of that, I had the ribbon stitched down to the organza yoke.

Then finally, we had a Christmas dress.

Once upon a time, I would have oohed and aahed over a dress like this but written it off as too difficult or complicated for little old me. But I'd like to think a ten year love affair with the little sewing magazine that could has been the red bull to my sewing soul.

Now it's time to focus on my Christmas dress.


  1. Its so beautiful. Something I want to some point. Heehee. A lot of work .

  2. You really did an incredible job and Pinky looks GORGEOUS in it. You DO procrastinate a lot, but when you finally get going--- magic happens!