Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Well hello there! That’s me back in 1956. Age 10. Occasion – the first dress I made by myself. It won the district Singer Sewing contest and went to regional. We couldn’t afford the trip to regional so I had to have a photo of me wearing the dress accompany it to St. Paul/Minneapolis.
My mother who was an excellent seamstress decided it would be better to have someone else start me on my sewing journey. I made little fashion doll (fore-runner to the Barbies of today) clothes on my working toy sewing machine but now I was going to learn to use a real honest to goodness sewing machine. So she enrolled me at the local Singer Sewing center. I was allowed to pick out my fabric and my pattern. It was not the easiest pattern but my mother never discouraged me she just let me forge ahead. Typical of my mother really, she decided to learn to knit in her 70’s and when she picked out the pattern she wanted to do her senior center instructor tried to discourage her. But she was determined and she succeeded much to the instructor’s amazement! That’s just the way she rolled.

So off I went to the class. The ladies teaching were knowledgeable but when I started to cut out the pieces they decided to have a gossip feast in the corner of the room. Well when they finally checked on me they were horrified to see I was cutting off the hem. I was following the fold line rather than the bottom, an honest mistake for a 10 year old I think. Well there wasn’t enough room to scoot the piece over so they just had me use a bias binding to turn the hem up. They had a bit of explaining to do when it came to the judging part. But at least they owned up to it!
Sleeve detail with trim and covered button

I still have the dress, and I am always amazed at the detail in it, from covered buttons on the sleeves, to handmade binding trim around the sleeve and the sleeve tabs, to turned under seam edges (we didn’t have sergers back then!), it looks like a lot of work.
Seam edge turned under and sewn

Even the gathering was protected from raveling 

Sweet little button detail echoing the fabric design
I still have the handwritten critique that I received and the prize which was a zippered case with three Singer scissors. The case is a bit ratty and I’m not sure I have all three scissors but it’s still a treasure to me.

What prompted this trip down memory lane?

Well I was watching Karen in one of her Simply Stitch videos and she had made a printed copy of some of her fabric work and was incorporating it in her paperwork cutouts. I had my little pin pricked fashion illustration dress in mind and the light bulb went on. I could do something like that with my first dress and so now I have another idea to work on to put in my ledger. Oh the ideas just keep coming!

Close Up of the Fabric

Be back soon!

Happy stitching



deanna7trees said...

oh what a most delightful story and i am amazed that you still have the dress. looks to me like you did a fabulous job. thanks for sharing.

Rose said...

Thanks Deanna! I try to save the "firsts" of my work so I'm hanging onto this dress. I didn't always do this and am sorrowful I don't have the first embroidery (all though I do have some from my childhood) or the first quilt (that was a gift). But I still have the first thing I ever knitted and the first of my crochet.

BumbleVee said...

Wow! Way to go Rose! Good for you ... I still don't know anything about sewing with my machine really ...and wouldn't ever attempt anything like that ..I did make a couple of pot holders last year ...but, had a mentor/friend sitting right there helping me ... and I"m happy with them....but, honestly....what a job for a little girl..... and what a great way to save something to add to a story ...

Christine B said...

I really enjoyed reading this story. How lovely that you still have the dress... What a treasure it must be to you. I love your Mum for having faith in you.. too often we discourage children from trying things we think are beyond them... so good for you and hats off to your Mum for her encouragement. The dress by the way is beautiful!

karen said...

lovely story Rose and I am so grateful you posted the detailed images of the little things, the seams, the cuff, the button...beautiful

epocktextiles said...

that is a wonderful story Rose. My first dress wasn't nearly as complicated, but it too was made when I was 10. My brother gave me the fabric for my birthday - an orange toned paisley design. I made a sleeveless, princess line shift - and wore it to school, where I jumped off a bank and promptly tore a hole on a stick! wish I had kept it.