Friday, November 07, 2008

Hand Work

I've had the chance to do some work on "Rejoice, Mother." I think the fabric collage is one of the strongest part of this piece, so most of the embellishment I'm doing right now is embroidery over the existing prints.

I've embroidered over vines and some parts of the flowers, outlined the virgin's image in metallic thread, and I've beaded the large flowers and the background to hold the layers together and add sparkle.

I've done some simple lazy daisy stitches and beading on the silk panel from Allie that's incorporated into the composition. I'm in the process of outlining the word "rejoice" in the panel and I'll probably go back and satin stitch over the letters.

Both Susan and Jane Ann had recent posts about dresses, so I thought I show this little dress that I've hung up over my sewing machine as a decoration.

I made it for my daughter for her second birthday. It has snaps in the back instead of buttons, because I had not yet learned to make buttonholes, but it was the first of many dresses I've make for her over the years.

The pattern on the collar was embroidered from an Aunt Martha transfer. I loved this dress, though Allie only wore it for about 10 minutes that day. Her first act as a willful two-year-old was to decide that she didn't like it.

I ended up sewing a lot for both my kids in those years. I worked part time and was finishing my dissertation, but I would stay up late or get up early and make little shorts, pants and dresses for them, and I also sewed for myself. At one point, I had made most of my own clothes. Because we lived in Southern California at the time, it was pretty simple to do since I wore cotton almost exclusively.

I remember once I ran across the garage sale of a guy who had a factory that made the cotton pants ("jams") that were popular among surfers at the time. I came away with yards and yards of fabric and for years after the kids and I wore a lot of the bright colored faux South Pacific prints. We were the SoCal version of that scene in The Sound of Music when Maria the governess makes play clothes for all the kids out of the curtains.

I started quilting because of all the scraps that accumulated from these projects. My first quilts are like swatch collections of the clothes we wore when my kids were little.  The lime green Tiki masks bring up especially fond memories.


Vicki W said...

Oh wow, I remember jams!

Plays with Needles said...

First of all, the embroidery outlining Mary's veil makes it come to life. The little dress is adorable but your SoCal story of all of you wearing Jams' prints just takes the cake! Loved it!

Debra said...

I took up quilting for the same reason--all my fashion sewing scraps were beginning to pile up and I needed to do something with them. Then, I discovered if I bought just a little more when I was making blouses, I purposely had scraps for quilts. Eventually, quilting overtook fashion sewing when I discovered the Chicago thrift stores & clothes were so cheap.

Judy S. said...

Beautiful work on Rejoice, Barbara. I'm anxious to see the whole thing....loved the details though. I remember when you could save money a kid my mom even made stuff from flour sacks. (They were fabric back then ;>)

Rian said...

I am always in awe of people who can do needlework like that, for I cannot sew a lick. It's all I can do to stitch the bindings onto my quilts, and I only do that for the competition ones.

JoWynn Johns said...

I've especially enjoyed this post and the previous one about celebrating the dead. Great stories, both.

Granny Fran said...

I especially like the way you are embellishing the patterns in the fabric.

Magpie Sue said...

That little dress is adorable. Maybe a granddaughter will deign to wear it someday :- )

Another beautiful piece in the works, and I loved the story of your family being the SoCal equivalent of Maria VonTrapp and her brood!