"Ever since I could remember I have been in love with . . ."
That's what most people will tell you about their hobby or interest. That they've loved something so very long that they cannot recall just when they fell. It's just always been.
I love a great many things but one of my longest, enduring, widespread loves comes from my mama. Not directly, I suppose when one thinks of it. My mom doesn't sew. She reads Star Trek books, not regency era romances. She prefers tee shirts and jeans to dresses and lace. She likes a good action movie better than a period drama with corsets and crinolines. However, once upon a time, in a land far far away called Brooklyn, my mama gifted me with a set of books that sparked a lifelong connection between fabric, history, and fashion.
I'm not sure what it was that resonated the most when I devoured my copy of Samantha Saves the Day. But what I do remember was that in the back of that book, there were pictures of elegantly ladies dressed in frothy white from head to toe.
They frolicked in the woods, flitted about country cabins, lazed indolently in little rowboats, their fingers trailing in the cool water.
I wanted that life. I wanted those dresses. I wanted that doll.
A few years ago, when American Girl discontinued Samantha, my mother bought me one. It was quickly snatched up by my daughter. So when it came time to design something special for pinky's confirmation, it seemed only fitting my daughter should get the dress too. It also provided the perfect opportunity to finally launch myself back into the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge I managed to neglect once again. Since I've already done one blog post on the topic here, let's just skip right to the challenge details, shall we?
The Challenge: #9: Black and White
Fabric: Swiss dot from Hancocks and a variety of laces
Pattern: Sense and Sensibility's Girls 1914 Dress
Notions: Swiss laces from Martha Pullen Company, 50 wt DMC broder thread from Farmhouse Fabrics, Kam Snaps from I Like Big Buttons
How historically accurate is it? While the use of the sewing machine had become widespread a number of years before, I'm pretty sure this type of work was still done by hand for a very long time. So I suppose I lose points for that. I also lose points for running out of time and sticking some snaps on there instead of a proper line of buttons. However the lines, construction, design elements, and use of all cotton fabrics make this a very good historical feel that would not be that far out of place should pinky be magically transported to a cabin in the Adirondacks just prior to the Battle of the Ardennes. I'm going to give it a 75% accuracy rating.
Hours to complete: Uhm maybe 30 I think. I kind of squeezed it all into one week.
First worn: Three Sundays ago
Total cost: Do I really have to cop to it? I don't want to be divorced! The swiss dot was about $20. Thanks to a warehouse sale at MPC, the laces probably cost about $30. Throw in the pattern, the half a bottle of Best Press I blew through, and thread, I'm going to estimate about $75.
I'll admit I'm a wee bit sad that this dress is finished. I really enjoy heirloom sewing and being the mother of a tween girl pretty much insures my days of heirloom sewing for this particular little miss are drawing to a close. I expect it will be a good while before I see a need to create this exact brand of pretty. But just as my mama passed some of her interests down to me, I look forward to seeing what kind of things my daughter pics up from me.
Mothering is full of the sweet, the nostalgic, and the wondrous.
So forgive me for being a sap and allow me a moment to thank my mom for planting seeds and encouraging them to bloom. There isn't a thing on this blog I would be doing without her. There are a lot of things however, that I'd be doing without her and none of them good so you should probably all be grateful.
Edwardian photographs were found at My Little Time Machine.