Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pansy Dress

This might have been my ideal dress at age five or something, but regardless of how critical I am about my finish product (usually a lot) I'm always try to be happy about the accomplishment. The way I see it, I’m bound to eventually make things I’m proud of if I keep working at it. In the meanwhile, I'll enjoy the process.

 As I find myself nearing a turning point in my life, with all the excitement and anxieties this brings, sewing is just as, if not more, important to me. The pleasure of getting lost in a project – the “flow” – or what Gretchen Rubin would call “challenging fun” -- the kind of pleasure that requires substantial efforts, but that also provides the highest pay-off. The importance of creativity in our lives: what Alice Walker is talking about when she writes about “feeding the creative spirit” (“In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: The Creativity of Black Women in the South,” 1974)... Regardless of what happens in the next few months, my sewing machine will always be there for me when I come home.

The fabric is a cotton lawn from Goldhawk Rd., London, with a bemberg lining. The pattern is self-drafted based on my bodice block and the skirt is a gathered rectangle.

What did I learn?
  • I finally tried Tasia’s method forhandpicking a zipper and I’m hooked. I was initially concerned that the result would appear too home-made, but the greater control your hands give you is well worth the extra time.
  • I figured out a way to apply frills to form a jabot without making any cuts in the front of the dress, and without unsightly seams under the frills. Curious? I’ll show you how soon.
  • I also nailed the exact proportions for the sleeve frills – and made sure to keep the pattern.
  • Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that zigzagging the edges of the frills is usually better than baby-hemming (see bellow) because it emphasizes the undulation rather than rigidifying the frills. (This is what happened with the petals of rose blouse for example.) As long as you chose wisely the width and length of your zigzag stitch.
Photography by Jillian Rubman

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Cambie Dress in Action

Earlier this summer, I accompanied my mom to a Bengali wedding. What a feast for the eyes! And the perfect opportunity to showcase my García Lorca Dress (Sewaholic Cambie dress).
I impressed everyone at my table when I told them I had been an "actress" in a Bollywood movie. Really, I was just an extra with no speaking part who barely made it into the final cut! And my own mother did not even spot me in the movie -- that's how brief my "part" was!

While traveling in Mumbai, we were approached by a casting agent who offered us a whole $10 and three meals for a full 12-hour day of standing around on movie set. We were in! Luckily, it wasn't a scam, and we really did get to appear on the silver screen next to one of the biggest Bollywood star, Kareena Kapoor. The movie is We Are Family (2010). Here is the proof! (I'm the blurry person in the background wearing the burgundy shirt.)

After two years abroad, I must admit that it's strange to think that I'll be back in Canada for good in October. I'm very excited about having a stable place to live and a sewing corner where I can accumulate store fabric. I'll also be reunited with all my self-stitched garments, which means I'll finally be able to partake in Me-Made events! I've only been meaning to do that for the past... two years? But couldn't because I only had a small percentage of my wardrobe with me in Europe. So, the next Me-Made event is in... March? That's... quite far away... Too far away. Could Zoe please create a "Self-Stitched October" for me??

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