Monday, January 27, 2014

Birthday dress

At the beginning of this month I took an introductory class on sewing with knits. It was great, I learned a ton, and at the end of six hours, I had...a t-shirt. I am extremely proud of that shirt that looks just like one you could buy off the clearance rack at Target for $7.88. And it's really a size too big because I didn't account all that well for how I like a knit shirt to cling a bit, you know? And this is too big to cling. So I might have spent $49 on tuition and $8 on a pattern and $9 on (clearance!) fabric and a vacation day from work ($300? I don't even know) and various new notions to make a $375 seven-dollar sleeping shirt. But knowledge needs a confident foundation, and there are some things I learn best by being shown, and I have no regrets (and a super cute sleeping shirt).

But this is like that thing where you say a Tylenol pill costs a penny to make and the contrarian scientist type you know (because we all know one) tells you that the second Tylenol pill is worth a penny but the first-ever Tylenol pill was worth gazbillions of dollars in research and development and now I tell you that my too-big sleeping shirt is like life-changing discovery, because for me, it was.

The eldest child had a birthday this weekend. She turned eight (and can we pause for a moment on that? Eight!) and had an ice skating party, and sweetly informed me that she needed me to make her a twirly skating dress. And it had to be comfortable. And it had to be purple. (I knew that part without being told.)

Behold, my second-ever project at sewing with knits, the birthday dress:

I used the Modkid Abigail pattern, which promised to be easy on a knits-newbie, and it was. My birthday girl was so happy with it that I couldn't get her to hold still for a picture. She needed to practice her ice twirls, right in our hallway. That's called party prep, you know.

I added my little tag to the back of the dress (heart+comma+bird="love, Robin") both because she always admonishes me that I've forgotten to sew my tag onto my creations and so she can identify the back, because if you don't look too closely, you just get dizzied by the purple.

She wore it all through her birthday day and slept in it last night. So I think it was well-received.

Fabric designer Lizzy House just posted something brilliant on her blog about sewing clothing:
As I continued to sew my own clothing, it started to feel like I was being rebellious. That every stitch that I made was an act of defiance against what has been established as normal. What we are allowed to wear. Where our clothing is made. Who makes it. Where the materials are sourced. I got to make all the decisions. And that felt, and still feels defiant.
You should go read that whole thing. I loved it. It obviously can't be economical for me to make clothes for the kids or myself. But it can be deliberate, purposeful, filled with intention and consideration -- and lots of love, of course, because my biggest girl, she's eight years old now, and such a milestone demands twirly purple.

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