Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


My MIL is perfectly pleasant and kind... and I'm still jealous of GD for having the luck of the draw to find a man like LD and have him have parents like you and BD!!! (My GB is so many leap years beyond his father it goes beyond evolutionary theories...)

What fun! And there's nothing wrong with bringing back an old love... who knows, maybe it will make those newer loves really stand up and take notice, as you've said they've been less than inspiring of late!

By Blogger Amie, at 11:43 AM  

Bess, dear, have you considered actually publishing a book of stories? Your writing is so engaging that I actually have to bring myself back to the here and now at the end of a post.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:55 PM  

Bess, dear, have you considered actually publishing a book of stories? Your writing is so engaging that I actually have to bring myself back to the here and now at the end of a post.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:56 PM  

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Monday, November 01, 2004  

Meeting an old lover

We parted. We had not quarreled, just slowly drifted apart. There was only a bit of sweet sadness left behind. Now and then we’d touch base. “How are you?” “My, it’s been a long time” “Is the family well?” That sort of thing. There would be a tiny moment of recognition - some play of light across a familiar face, the tickle in your nose of a long forgotten scent. A touch, a stroke, and the tactile memory would stir. But it never shook loose from its dormant state. We’d spend a few hours together and then go our separate ways. I eventually found another lover, then a second, and I began a life of juggling two passions, trading off the hours I spent with either of them, now one receiving the bulk of my attention, now the other. I truly thought I should never again know the delicious frothy excitement of my first love - that all we had shared was in the past, a sweet memory, but one with no future.

And then I walked into G Street Fabric Shop.

LD&GD came for breakfast yesterday and afterwards, the boy darlings drove off into the sunrise and we hopped in the car for the drive to Potomac Mills. Now - I saw the huge PM sign going up, back in the days of long ago, and marveled at the extravaganza of shopping blossoming in the Virginia countryside. Marveled and probably complained too - it’s the tackiest, most vulgar thing you ever saw. But it is an enormous outlet mall. Nordstrom Rack where you can get $900 corduroy jeans with Broderie Anglais all down the side seams marked all they way down to $600! but also where you can get some stunning buys on some really fascinating and designer clothes. Thank goodness I don’t need any fascinating or even designer clothes at the moment. There are fortyzillion other shops, including the Lennox outlet, and yea!! a Cosmetic Company outlet where I could snap up the Perscriptives lotion I didn’t find in Williamsburg.

We had a fun couple of hours wandering the shops, with the only jarring and disturbing element the Halloween celebration going on. Mind now, I enjoy Halloween. I especially love to see the tots in their costumes and my goodness! Costumes these days are fabulous. Even Walmart’s Prêt-à-Porter fashions are the stuff of kiddy dreams. So many princess dresses! I had a grand time watching the cute children all over the place. I was just distressed that the place was an enormous outlet mall. I’m still trying to put my finger on the germ that makes me sick about this. All I know is that trick or treating seems like it should take place in one’s community - one’s neighborhood - one’s home territory and the thought that thousands and thousands of people consider their home territory to be Potomac Mills makes my skin crawl. I was also a little put off by the adults thrusting out their candy bags, and the mothers of stroller sleeping infants doing the same.

Okay - enough complaining - as I say, I completely melted at the sight of all the superman/ninja turtle/princess/devil/pirate/goulish kids. And not a single ho’ among the whole crowd. (another disturbing Halloween phenomena this year - not even gonna’ go there)

But the purpose and pinnacle of the visit was the waltz through G Street and what a dance that turned out to be. GD has a splendid idea for a wedding dress. It involves an empire waist, a tucked, ruched, pleated and beaded bodice, and an accordion pleated overskirt. Silk is the only allowable fabric. G Street has plenty. We touched and stroked and pulled out bolts. She was aiming more for a darker cream than we could find and I’m glad that we couldn’t find it, because she’s a white blonde and truly will look better in a whiter off white. We found a wonderful silk taffeta and a truly matching silk organza and began designing out loud. She doesn’t want the traditional lace look, but something funky and off beat and asymmetrical - but still feminine. I completely understand, especially since I’ve seen her fashion choices, with which I completely agree. In fact, I can’t help but laugh at myself for caring so much that my future daughter also cares so much about fashion and has the eye to choose what’s right for herself.

Perhaps the best thing about the trip was the wonderful sales lady we worked with. I explained to her that it had been 10 years since I had done anything other than industrial sewing - slip covers and curtains. I asked about already accordion pleated fabric and she clicked her tongue. We pulled out the sketches and photos and she sort of groaned about the pleats, but the more I thought about it the better I felt. She suggested putting them into the fabric and taking it to a dry cleaners for pressing and at that moment I knew we could do this.

She told me she had a degree in fashion design. We talked shop. When she heard we were going to actually create our own fabric, “embellished fabric”, she called it, she dashed back to the employee area and returned with an embellished fabric she was making herself. It was covered all over in threads and ribbons. Coming close to what we want, minus the tucks and random pleats. We had her hooked then and we spent another hour in out-loud dreaming. We asked about patterns. She pulled out books. We lay ribbons on the organza. She showed us hologram quilting threads. I asked if the organza was a stock item and she said “so long as the tag doesn’t have an NR on it - means not re-orderable.”

Oh dear.

The tag did have an NR on it.

We found another bolt - obviously the new unimproved version. It was a perfect match for color, but alas, it was 42” rather than 45” inches wide and was ever so slightly lighter weight. GD wanted crisp texture. The original bolt was just that hint more crisp. Not so you would know if you didn’t have them to compare, but unfortunately, we did have them to compare.

We had to wander around just a bit then, re-think the priorities, consider the options. I asked the sales lady how much was on the bolt - since it didn’t look like all that much, though enough for what we wanted. She offered to measure it out for us and came back with 9.75 yards. I did some quick and rough calculations - 3.5 yds for the pleated skirt, 1 for the bodice, 2 for the shrug, and a minimum of 1 for the head-dress - for we had already begun to design-talk a Juliet cap made from the embellished bodice fabric gathered into a cascade of organza behind. That ment a minimum of 7.5 yards. An extra yard to experiment with would sure be a nice bit of insurance.

This was not supposed to be a buying trip - other than a pattern and some sample fabric. GD didn’t even have her purse, for she’d left it at a restaurant the day before and the boy darlings were picking that up. This was supposed to be a scouting trip. There are other shops, though, of course, all further away and there was no assurance they would have this same fabric. I looked into blue eyes that held a pleading only partially masked by the resigned stoicism of one who is prepared to make lemonade from lemons. What can I say? A daughterless heart melted and a credit card appeared. And my former lover, prompted by some patron saint of tailors, perhaps the former tailor Saint Homobonus, whispered in my ear, reminding me of an old cloth merchant’s trick.

“What sort of discount will you give me if I buy the whole bolt?”

“How does 15% sound?”

Well. It sounded great. And it was applied to the boning and the threads and the pattern too - which is a Bellville Sassoon that came in at a hefty $25!

And what fun lies ahead for us now. I can’t wait to thread up my needle and begin playing with this gorgeous stuff. Unrolled onto the cutting table it formed a billow of creamy white silken cloud puff. We have enough marvelous fabric to experiment with - enough to make mistakes with. I will call my two girlfriends with fancy shmancy sewing machines that do embroidery and squiggly sewing and, if necessary, I can buy a new iron. I dread the thought of my present tool spitting on this magnificent fabric.

Best of all, I feel that old stirring of creative juices that I used to feel whenever I brought home a new pattern. I pulled out the instruction sheets for the dress last night. Just the sight of those little v shaped snips you put in the seam allowance of a convex curve made my heart beat. I am not the sentimental type. I don’t yearn for yesterday. I enjoy today and look forward to tomorrow far more. But now and then, someone who used to be important will step back into your life and bring all the excitement of yesteryear to add to the joy of today. When that happens, you can only open your arms wide and embrace him. Knitting and spinning, my new loves, will just have to make room for this old one. But that’s the great thing about love. There is always room for more.

posted by Bess | 7:38 AM