Musings from 2017

Here I sit, the last day of 2017. As I drink my coffee on this cold, chilly morning, bundled in fleece, I reflect on my accomplishments.  There are many. I participated in three runway shows, created two collections, “La Paci Primavera” in April and “Plums the Word” in August. I made two wedding gowns based on photos for two very different brides. I created numerous prom gowns and shed tears over a mother of the groom outfit that my client decided she didn’t like.  I alterated 40 evening gowns for sick kids to attend a special prom for The Sandbox.  I did my first ever quilt blocks and created an ugly Christmas sweater for my soon to be husband. Whew, no wonder my studio looks like World War III!!

There are also those numerous projects that didn’t get accomplished. A lovely summer red dress for me, Carl’s frock coat for holiday caroling that was started in 2015, sketches on paper, designs in my head, numerous patterns, and yards and yards of fabric.  However, I’ve learned how to say no to clients.  I just can’t do every single project any more and I am busy enough that I don’t have too.  I keep alterations to a minimum, refer all home dec items, and even hand off some custom sewing if the time constraints don’t fit my schedule. I think there is plenty of sewing to go around for all of us.

On a personal level, I got a promotion at work, basically a better title and more money! I dealt with an aging 90 year old parent having heart valve replacement surgery. I had a concussion, spent time at the ocean, had numerous dinner parties, visited my Mom in Florida, cooked some luscious food, and held my dying friends hand, making promises I don’t know if I can keep. And I got engaged!

IMG_20171230_210805One of my last sewing projects for the year was for a client celebrating her 50th birthday.  She liked a halter top she’d seen online, even ordering it.  It was cheap polyester, unfinished hems and even worse construction.  She wanted  it to be royal blue with a soft drape, but not flimsy and it had to cover her tummy pooch.  She also wanted matching cigarette pants. I had made a prom gown earlier in the year with a peachskin from JoAnn’s and they had the perfect shade of blue for this outfit. I have decided to make this my entry for the Designin’ December Challenge. 

I started with a muslin to work on the fit, especially in the bust.  Having the original, I could tear it apart and make a rough pattern from it, although it fit so poorly I didn’t want to rely on it too much, besides it was a knit and I was doing a top out of a woven fabric.  Getting the front to lay right over her full bust and not gape was a problem.  This is one of those garments that you need to wear the same bra for all of your fittings.  One time she didn’t and the fit was totally different! And not in a good way  . . . she had to return the following day with the right bra.

20171028_111954To make final tweaks, I had to tear apart at center front, under the bust, and pin on her to get it to lay correctly. Stitching and refitting a couple of times while she stood in the studio holding a tee shirt over herself while I stitched. I put an invisible zipper in the side seam and used a silicone coated elastic to hold the top against her back so as not slip down – a great product but difficult to sew with the machine! I also had to add a waistband on the pants to allow for them to not be baggy in the crotch yet fit her backside correctly. All in all, we were both very happy with the final outcome. I hope she had a wonderful birthday bash . . . I know the 50s have been my best decade.

As this year comes to a close and my coffee cup sits here empty, I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished enormous feats in 2017.  My customer sewing for 2018 has been put on hiatus, I’ve got a wedding gown to create – my own!  And I plan on blogging about the journey – 125 days to go and sew much to do!  Maybe I should start with a tidy studio . . . Happy New Year and here’s to an even better 2018!!!!

Looking at Each Other Resized

2 thoughts on “Musings from 2017

  1. Rebecca Grace January 5, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    That royal blue halter top and cigarette pants outfit is absolutely stunning, and really shows the value of clothing that is custom fitted to the actual body that will be wearing it versus off-the-rack RTW in whatever standard size comes closest to fitting. So many women start the new year with a resolve to conform their bodies to standardized sizes and shapes through rigorous dieting and exercise, not realizing that they are already beautiful right now, the size and shape they are this minute, and the problem is that their CLOTHES aren’t shaped right for their bodies, not the other way around!

    Somehow I missed the ugly sweater you made for Carl. And I would like to put in a request to be invited to one of these dinner parties in 2018, even though I couldn’t make the whiskey tasting in ’17. Your cooking is as fantabulous as your sewing. I am looking forward to your wedding, and will be following your progress on the gown carefully, to learn as much as I can. By the way, if you need an extra pair of hands or just some company in your sewing room, I’m just a phone call away. I don’t have your wealth of experience with dressmaking but I can follow directions and I’d be willing to help in any way that I can, just for the chance to learn something along the way. I would LOVE to watch you sew. 🙂

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