Monday, February 20, 2012

something old...

I have a new sewing challenge... I am trying not to get scared and intimidated, but even saying the words: heirloom sewing. yikes!! I know myself, and the kind of skills required for this fine detailed perfection, neat and tidy... well, let's just say that I'm not naturally gifted in those areas.
Pic by Fish and Raven on etsy
My sister is getting married in a few months and my dearest children will be the ring bearer and the flower girl. Elisha informed us that he learned everything he needs to know about both jobs from a Calliou episode. He seems to make a pretty good flower girl coach ;-) Elisha will be wearing the seersucker suit I found at the consignment sale (hurray!) and carrying a ring pillow that I will make... As you may have figured- Anna's dress is my challenge. The picture above is the inspiration picture my sister sent me.
 I have moved boldly ahead and worked up a muslin from the measurements I have taken of Anna and estimated pattern shapes. She barely consented to stand somewhat still enough for me to try it on and adjust the pins for a better fit. I will probably go through several more rounds of recutting the muslin, basting it together and trying it back on for adjustments. But when the muslin is just right...
 ... though it will feel a bit like sacrilege, I will be cutting into this old dress fabric. This was my Great Great Aunt Maud's dress. She came from a wealthy family in England and didn't have any children, so my mother inherited these dress pieces.
 It is so amazing to think that this lace was hand-sewn one hundred years ago. It feels wrong to cut into it, but then again it seems like a wonderful thing to give it a new life. Instead of staying in a box until it completely disintegrates it will be transformed into wedding day apparel, to be used for such a special occasion. I think Maud would have been pleased to know that her great great great niece was wearing her reincarnated dress in her great great niece's wedding.
There is lots of visualizing, mulling, measuring, and probably some hand-stitching to be done... and then we will be holding our breath that it won't get ruined while my 2 year daughter wears it ;-) Ah, the joys of making functional art-- so much goes into it, and then you have to send it out with open hands to be used... only when you think that being used is something very worthy can you attempt this field of work. I'm thinking of the words from The Velveteen Rabbit that discusses that value of 'becoming real' through use... sometimes isn't pretty, but it is undoubtably good.


Sarah Boutwell said...

I think your aunt would absolutely love that her dress is being reincarnated for such an important celebration! I know that you will do a lovely job, and I can't wait to see photos of Anna wearing your beautiful creation. :)

Christy said...

Perfect. It's the perfect thing to do!