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


Bess, you are a Brave Woman, sewing such a confection! But I know you can pull it off!

Did I miss something? Do you have a Wedding Date yet??

By Blogger Margaret, at 10:06 AM  

What a wonderful post. I can identify with all of your "almost winter" descriptions and makes me even more homesick for my midwest childhood. The desert has it's own beauty, but it's not the one I have imprinted upon me from childhood.


By Blogger Literary Lady, at 8:18 AM  

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Monday, November 15, 2004  

Wedding dress excitement is beginning to make its presence seen and not just felt around here. There are piles of snowy shimery fabric heaping up on the dining room table and little whisps of thread still cling to the carpet, in spite of my vacuum weilding. And watch out for that box of straight pins! A trip to Walmart on Saturday uncovered some $1-a-yard taffeta and a sparkly fabric with a similar hand to the silk organza we purchased at G Street. The kids came for breakfast on Sunday and then GD went home to do some work while B&LD drove into the forest to split firewood. The house was mine at last and I began to pin and cut and sew.

My sewing machine is an ancient relic from 1972 - purchased with my first paycheck from the Richmond Symphony - and by golly it took the entire check. It was the second from the top line of machines, the one without cams, but with the innovative zigzag stitch that let you sew on knit fabric. Do you remember polyester knit?

Yeah. Gross. In fact, I never made anything with that stuff nor did I ever buy any clothes made from it, but you could also get acrylic knit fabric and a t-shirt fabric that was sometimes cotton and sometimes a cotton blend. Can you imagine a world where it is cheaper to make a t-shirt than to buy one? Been a long time, hasn’t it?

Anyway, my sewing machine has been aging somewhat gracefully, but it may have crossed the line from temperamental to more trouble than it’s worth. I have not been able to adjust the bobbin tension properly for 10 years; nor has any repair man I’ve taken the machine to, btw. I did a major packing-up a few years ago, with additional reorganizing when the GuyWithPaintbrushes came last spring. So now, of course, I can’t find the little box that holds the zipper foot, nor can I find the operator’s manual, which I did find during that first flurry of efficiency. I don’t know if I can sew with the feed dogs down on this machine and one of the spindles that holds the spools of thread snapped off last summer.

This is not a good thing.

A dear friend, C, brought over her machine, but it is one of those Singer machines that has a horizontal thread spindle - not good for embroidery with metallic thread, though the feed dogs do drop down for this sort of sewing. I may have to hook up with one of my quilting friends to do any of the embellishment I have in mind. C has made lots of strapless dresses, though. She has 2 teenage daughters. She had lots of advice about underpinnings and structure.

By dinner time I had a shell of a dress for GD to try on, a slim fitting sheath with a back zipper. I gathered the sparkly stuff and pinned it around her hips at different angles and in different directions. Now - this is a 24 year old woman with a lovely figure that is a perfect fit in sewing patterns. This is a major relief for me - because I never could make anything for myself with standard pattern sizes. Everything had to be cut and adjusted and moved about, with extra inches taken here and other inches removed there. Since she’s well proportioned, she doesn’t have any particular figure “flaws” to disguise. At this junction we are looking for a silhouette she likes - or perhaps that feeds some secret hunger in her.

That’s the way it is with clothing, especially wedding clothing. Especially for women.

Our clothing is a major form of communication. We wear particular styles, colors, textures, to explain to people who we are. In different settings we want to be sure people know different things about us. On a Saturday morning I don’t care if you know I am efficient and can meet deadlines. On a Wednesday afternoon, I do. If I were going to be the center of attention at a big event, you can be sure I would have an attention grabbing outfit. If I’m not the center of attention at that same event, you can be equally sure I’ll have on a great dress, but I won’t try to rival the guest of honor.

Then there are the fantasies we can fulfill when we have the right costume. Wedding dresses play a little of that costume role because the event itself is so theatrical. Not that I think a wedding is just a show. But the event is special enough, far enough out of our ordinary lives, in spite of its great importance to those ordinary lives, to justify extraordinary clothing and a bit of fantasy fulfillment. A lot of hopes and prayers and dreams can be sewn into a wedding dress.

I haven’t delved too deeply into GD’s psyche to see exactly what she wants to express about herself in this wedding dress. I’m comfortable with letting her experiment around a bit. But I believe I’ll ask her outright, next time I see her. In the mean time I’m taking a half yard of the silk organza to work with me, along with the hologram thread. A quilting group meets at the library every other Monday and one member promised to bring her sewing machine today and show me how to scrumble.

This all sewing post should give you a hint about the status of my other loves. I’ve packed up knitting and spinning till post-wedding dress, maybe even till post-wedding. With holidays and wedding arrangements filling up the next 8 weeks I believe I’d ruin any knitting project I worked on. A very dear friend, a professional caterer, has offered to work with us on the food side of the wedding and she’s coming down Thursday to cook in my kitchen. We’re having 15 for Thanksgiving dinner next week and I’ve scheduled the Friday after T’giving to take down the screens and wash the windows - with the Marvelous Sheryl’s help. R&Co. will be here Saturday post T'giving. Then there’s Christmas, which I love too much to give short shrift. It will be different this year, of course, but wonderful.

So February will be a grand time to pull out BriccaTheAran and that natural blue mohair. Let’s think sunny January and snowy February.

posted by Bess | 7:28 AM