Good morning! Due to our road trip and other vital things (like sewing clothes for myself), there’s still no sewing for K happening, but it occurred to me that she’s been wearing this halter dress I made several years ago a lot lately and that I’ve never posted it here. If you saw my nani IRO post last week, you might have noticed a very similar muslin, and it was inspired in part by this dress.
The pattern is from this book, and I vaguely remember sewing this before she started kindergarten. At the time it was huge on her and was more of a maxi dress, and three years later, she’s starting to outgrow it. I love these types of patterns that make a visual impact but are so easy to make and can be worn for years on end. The fabric, in case you’re wondering, is some kind of quilting cotton.
It wasn’t until two days ago, when she was wearing the dress for the fifth time in a couple of weeks that I realized she was under the impression that it was store-bought. Hm. I’ve heard that the handmade revolt usually starts around 9 years old, but my child might be precocious.
It brought back a memory that hadn’t crossed my mind in eons. When I was in middle school, my mom had stopped sewing clothes for me due to my entreaties that they just looked too homemade. Of course, we couldn’t afford any of the trendy clothes all the kids at my school wore, which is a colossal bummer when you’re eleven.
But my mom had this friend. This friend was a professional violinist, who lived in this gracefully appointed, breathtaking house in Los Angeles. She had exquisite taste in everything. Because she was extremely petite and had a voracious appetite for clothes, she would often drop off bags and bags of items she’d grown tired of. They were all meant for me, and my mom would painstakingly alter them to fit me.
Isn’t it funny? Here I was, an eleven-year-old wearing Chanel and Diane von Furstenberg and Anna Sui and the like, and all I could focus on was how I wasn’t wearing the hottest jeans at the time (the brand was Guess, if I’m remembering correctly). My mom has more talent in her pinky toe than most people, but alterations weren’t her strong suit so the clothes never sat on my awkward preteen body quite right. I was also so so embarrassed that I was wearing second hand clothes — at that age, everything embarrassed me, but that topped my list big time. As I slumped shamefacedly in my hand-me-downs, I had no idea that I was waltzing around in crazy expensive, expertly made, beautiful designer clothes. I’m sure that my mom told me, but I’m also sure that I didn’t believe her. Because tweens are like that, and I was obviously too unsophisticated to know about these brands. I’d like to shake and throttle my eleven-year-old self.
I imagine that K will get to a similar point. There are murmurs of discontent already, but she still loves a lot of what I make. Yet no matter how skilled I become at sewing (and the hope is that I will become incredibly skilled), she may not be able to get past the handmade part of the clothes. I better mentally prepare myself….
And I wonder if those middle school years of reluctantly wearing my mom’s friend’s clothes actually embedded an appreciation for finely made garments? I never thought about it that way, and now I’m even more appreciative of her generosity.
K hoped that the butterfly looked real and insisted on certain poses to fake you all out. Did it work?