Only so sew
Monday July 04th 2011, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit

I remember my Mom and my next-older sister planning a prom dress together. Would have been 1974. Mom had some beautiful fabric for it; I’m picturing that it was a red and black silk print my grandmother brought back from a trip, hand-batiked in Indonesia, but if I’m wrong I’m sure I’ll hear about it.

Before Mom messed with that treasure she decided to give the pattern a test-drive in muslin. I remember her explaining to me that this is what the pros do, they sew it twice, once for practice and fit and once for real after they see that their design works out the way they want (or what to change if it doesn’t.)

I remember arguing: you have to pay for the muslin in the fabric store so why not pay for some other fabric and get a second usable dress? Why just plain (muslin being in an oatmealy shade I didn’t like) when you could have something more colorful? And softer?

Mom just laughed me off and went on with what she was doing; I do remember my sister happily reporting afterwards that her date had admitted that when he’d heard that Mom was going to be sewing the dress, he had all kinds of worries about how homemade it was going to look–but wow, he said, she looked beautiful!

Practice makes perfect.

Mom later sewed my wedding dress. Those of you who sew who live in the Washington DC area, couture-house lace remnants at G Street Fabrics for the yoke and cuffs. My mom rocks.

I thought of all that as I put my qiviut aside, almost done but before I got any further, just just just to make sure (and yeah I should have done this first like Mom taught me), I went to go play with the same shawlette idea in different yarns: a strand of that so-soft Baruffa merino knitted with one of an alpaca with a bit of wiriness to it–okay, but not baby alpaca.

It’s done. I love how it looks, even if it’s not as soft (well, yeah) as that ohmygoodness qiviut. And Michelle approves.

When the next generation down says it looks good you know you’ve nailed it.

10 Comments so far
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Just like, when the next generation down (the friends of your kids) “friends” you on Facebook, you know you didn’t entirely mess up as a parent.

Comment by Lynn 07.05.11 @ 4:22 am

as much as I sew now, it all started when I was 8, and my mom taught me the basics.
I had to convince my Home-Ec teacher that I had actaully sewed the project for class, not my Mom!

Comment by Sandra 07.05.11 @ 7:04 am

When my daughter wound up in a home ec class in 8th grade (she didn’t sing or play an instrument, so there she was) she commented, “I think I’m the only person in the whole class who knows how to use a sewing machine–and it’s a real pain to keep them all from figuring it out!”

And yes, G street fabrics is spectacular.

Comment by LauraN 07.05.11 @ 7:33 am

LOVE G Street.

Great memories too, for all, I’m sure?

Comment by Channon 07.05.11 @ 8:17 am

I miss that old G Street Fabric store. I have happy memories of wandering the crowded store, the tight stairways and finding treasures with a friend that lives down there.

Fast forward 30 years and G Street has moved to the suburbs, losing charm and lots of the treasures along the way and my friend started knitting a couple of years ago.

Comment by Deb 07.05.11 @ 8:17 am

And that’s how it works. Knowledge passed down from generation to generation. In my case it was knowledge passed down to me by my oldest sister — 16 years older.

Comment by Don Meyer 07.05.11 @ 8:59 am

Muslin = swatch! I made a bridesmaid dress, years ago. Because I was trying to fit myself without the benefit of a dress form, I made a muslin and took it to an alterations place to ask for help with the final fitting. The seamstress placed pins in a few strategic places, which I then took home and replicated on the real fabric. Fit is important!

Comment by Kathy In San Jose 07.05.11 @ 10:04 am

My G Street Fabrics story: When I was engaged, I lived in the Virginia suburbs, and couldn’t find fabric I really liked for my bridesmaids dresses. Everyone I talked to said “Go to G Street.” This was long before Google or the internet, so all I had was a phone book, which said the store was on G Street. When I got there, I discovered that it wasn’t there any longer. A kind volunteer at the Museum of American Art let me use the phone to call the store, where I found out that it had relocated to Rockville. My map ended at the District line, and the staff member on the phone was a little fuzzy on the directions. I wound up taking M Street to Wisconsin and following it all the way out, a long and arduous trek. It entailed going through Georgetown on a Saturday afternoon, and the pedestrians ruled the roadways. It took over an hour to get there, and when I finally did, I was too overwhelmed by the experience and the prices. I never found fabric I liked and as I recall, I got lost on the way home! Today, my daughter loves the G Street near us, but we still can’t afford the prices. I will say their staff is knowledgeable though, so we often get good advice!

Comment by shadylady1216 07.05.11 @ 10:41 am

Ya…I still hate swatching, even though I see it work wonders for others. I’ve never made a “muslin” per se, but I have used your idea of a cheaper fabric, that could still be worn on it’s own as a “practice” run. 🙂

Comment by Ruth 07.05.11 @ 10:53 am

Lynnie just gifted me with an beautiful antique Bruges lace collar :-}
When I was planning my Aconie, I made a wedge shaped swatch as I was making up the (simple) lace as I went along.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 07.06.11 @ 12:17 pm

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