avia’s wedding

Hello Friends… I’ve been missing in action for several months. Maybe longer. The keyword here might be action. I’ve thought about many a topic for blog posts and have quite a few in que but want most to share this one with you first. 

My second daughter, Avia, was married last week. She is my picky girl. Or more precisely – the girl who knows exactly what she wants and is patient enough to wait for it. When she was a toddler she would work diligently for an hour on a drawing then have a sudden meltdown because of a minuscule error that we couldn’t fathom. She still is a perfectionist – an excellent quality for a talented graphic designer. The meltdowns are a thing of the past… or at least very quietly internal instead of external.

When she told me she was engaged I worried only the tiniest bit and only because I worried that she had let her cool, analytical self make the decision without enough of her heart involved. That’s only because I only got to see them together for a very short couple of days. She wasn’t feeling well, it was super hot here in NC when they came to introduce themselves as a couple. It just wasn’t enough time to get to know them together. But I TRUST my grown daughters. They are intelligent young women who are balanced and have made wonderful decisions so far.

Funny story – when my oldest, Haven, got married she came home to North Carolina for a few weeks and we made her wedding dress together. I patterned, we cut and sewed, we both made really stupid mistakes. I also called Avia at that time and had a conversation about making dresses. We both agreed that it would never work for me to make her dress. She’s too picky and I’m not patient enough to make the perfect dress.

Or so we thought. Avia searched and found the perfect dress – in a photo of another bride. Fortunately the photo was taken by a photographer she knew. The enterprising young lass contacted the other bride and asked if she could rent the dress. An arrangement was made and the dress was shipped but it didn’t fit and couldn’t be altered. Sigh. Enter me and my big mouth as I sat talking to her on the phone. I happened to have a bunch of patterns out at the time as I was getting rid of most of them. She had continued her search but couldn’t find anything close because the dress was too simple. I said it really wouldn’t be that hard to make.

The pattern WAS simple. The fabrics we chose were another story altogether. I layered silk habit in between two layers of silk crepe de chine for each pattern piece. She didn’t want shiny and this sandwiched silk was perfect, but needed body and stability – and a little less transparency. I cut out, layered, and serged the edge of each piece. She wanted a floaty sheer layer on the top of the skirt and we chose silk gauze. Here’s a little hint for you. Use chiffon. NOT gauze. It’s beautifully light. It floats in the air – enough that it took forever to lay out each piece and weight it down so that I could even cut it out.

Krista and Scott Lewis – the very best in-laws anyone could wish for!

Enter a miracle. I took the pieces with me so that I could fit them on and Krista, my new son-in-law’s mother, happens also to be a sewer. She invited my two youngest children and I to stay with her and use her sewing studio to work on the dress. I thought it would take a day. It took almost four. And those four days settled my heart with serenity as I got to know Krista and Scott and as I watched Chase and Avia in their element. They were happy. They were delightful. They were a perfect match. And they also happen to live in an extremely beautiful place.

Krista’s hospitality (and her steamer and serger and sewing machine – as well as a willingness to  keep my two youngest occupied) got the job done. It took most of a day to hand roll and hem the silk gauze layer, and all of 40 minutes to hem two layers of the crepe. The machine simply couldn’t handle the gauze and we never could get the serger to work for it.

I think Avia was 95% satisfied – especially after I agreed to cut down the sleeves into cap sleeves after she tried it on and thought about it for a day or two. Everyone is entitled to change their minds and it was the only thing really doable at that point. Her beautiful smile made it all worth while.

You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get a photo of the finished product.

Altering ready-to-wear and… nobody’s perfect

I did it again. I think I’m pretty good at sewing clothing – just terrible at paying attention.

Backstory – my very favorite clothing store (other than Goodwill) is Possibilities Boutique in Cary, NC. They carry all sorts of smaller designers like Flax, Iguana, Cynthia Ashby, Cutloose, and others. Lots of linen. Lots of lovely, loose, artsy kind of things that make you feel … well … artsy. And the people there tend to treat you like a long lost best friend.

My favorite thing is that they have a “closet sale” every year where everyone brings back the things they don’t wear any more. It’s huge. It’s a big tent in the parking lot, a giant communal dressing room with cheap mirrors leaning up against the walls and hundreds of women. Nothing like the sales fights you see on the news.

You meet a new friend when you put down your giant pile of stuff and start trying it on. Everyone offers an opinion if asked and if you’re not going to buy the thing you just tried on there is probably somebody right next to you who wants to try it on next. I save up my $ and buy two or three outfits each year for less than the cost of one usual outfit here.

So when I’m not paying $100.00 for a pair of pants it isn’t daunting at all to take it apart and remake it into whatever you had in mind. I’ve cut apart or dyed many things from this sale. This pair of pants was pretty cool. I also bought a lovely asymmetrical vest with a sheer drape on it that is beige linen. I plan to dye them both a deep purple.

But I have a short torso (I wear petite if it’s short sleeved.) So I undid the waistband, cut off three inches and re-inserted the elastic. I like the zig-zag down the middle that keeps it from twisting. 

I also undid the topstitching and took in all the seams above the hip to take out some of the fullness up there. But I also have freakishly long legs and arms. Pants are ALWAYS too short and if I buy tall sizes the rise is long enough that the waistband hits my bustline. It’s comical.  

I took the extra from the waistband, hemmed it and added it to the bottom of the pants. If I can find what happened to the belt-loops that I took off the pants I might string them across the gap with a couple of cool buttons. If not it’s just a funky design element right?

So – I was half way through the topstitching before I noticed it. This, of course, is after hemming, sewing the seam, zig-zagging the seam in a very tight – almost-satin-stitch (I’m saving every bit of length I can here). And I decided that it’s down by my feet. If anybody notices one of the strippy little additions is inside-out ummmm… who cares. Actually, one of my daughters will notice. It’s amazing the details she notices. But still. *I* don’t care enough to unpick it this time. (Unlike the last time I did this.)

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