The picture above was taken while I was sitting in my lawn chair; chatting with a neighbor (6 feet away, of course); watching our other neighbors light off fireworks. It was AWESOME!!! Since COVID-19 changed the look of 4th of July my neighborhood decided to go with the flow. I have a couple of neighbors who have a friendly “Who-has-the-best-Christmas-lights” competition. This year they carried it over to “Who-has-the-best-fireworks”. My neighbor Mike won hands down because my neighbor Don had rotator cuff surgery last week which greatly impacted his ability to light fireworks. Anyway, I made yummy chocolate/peanut butter brownies and passed them out to anyone that wandered within 100 feet of me. They were a big hit. We all social distanced, we all had a blast.
The only downside was for the next few days I had a headache from the smoke. I share this fact so I can make a full and complete confession. Whenever the slightest little thing happens to me, I worry that I’ve contracted the COVID 19. It’s pathetic.
As soon as the headache came on, I Googled, “Is headache a symptom of COVID 19?” WebMD answered, “Headache certainly can be a symptom of COVID 19–but also approximately eleven-million other health conditions.” Good to know. Suitably chastened, I took some aspirin and got better.
Okay, enough of the chitter-chatter. Let’s talk about sewing.
Taming the Too’s
We all have a “Too” or two in our closet. Garments that we like but can’t wear. They are too big; too small; too short; too long; too little; too much; too something. We look at them longingly and pass them by waiting/hoping/thinking one day we will change and the Too will be perfect. Silly silly. We don’t have to change. We just have to turn the Too into something Just Right.
Taming Too’s can get addictive. There is something about taking things from worthless to wonderful that soothes my soul. I have a few Too’s I have been taming that I thought I’d share with you. Are you ready?
- Too Tiny: I bought this Too at a street “broconte” in Paris. A broconte is a flea market or second hand sale and during the weekends whole neighborhoods will hold them on the sidewalks. Think of it like a giant yard sale where everyone speaks French and there is no yard. This dress was super cute, super French and super tiny. My Sewing Sister (who was with me when I bought it) had the perfect fix.
- We took out the zipper, cut down the back and found a nice piece of stretchy black knit. We cut a strip about 6-7 inches wide the length of the dress and stitched each side of the back (both fabric and lining) to the strip. This made a back inset. To keep the fabric and lining from shifting around I basted the 2 pieces together before stitching them to the inset.
- After you make the inset you will likely have to adjust the sizing of the dress. It’s easy! I pinned the dress to fit along the inset (smaller at the waist/wider at the hips and bust) and made sure my fabric was even on both sides. Then I stitched it together to make a center seam, cut out the excess and covered the seam with some beautiful white lace.
- Tah Dah!!! From Too Tiny to Just Right!
- Too Short/Too Low-Cut: This Too was another Paris sidewalk/yard-sale dress. (Since we all get to stay home this summer I am traveling through my clothes…..hah!!!). It fit, which was wonderful, but I felt a little too “revealed” in it. I kept tugging it down to cover my bottom and tugging it up to cover my top. With all of that tugging it was hard to walk or move comfortably. I don’t have any “before” pictures of this dress because I was in such a hurry to make it wearable! You will just have to take my word for it.
- This Too was tamed with my favorite “slip-fix”. I found an large lacy black slip from St. Vincent dePaul’s Thrift store and cut 5 inch piece off the bottom. I opened up a side seam and stitched the strip along the inside bottom of the dress so about 3-4 inches of the lace would peek out below. I double stitched just to make sure that everything held in place.
- There was extra fabric left from the slip so I measured the width and length of the “too low” area and cut a v-shaped piece out of the remaining fabric. Then I turned it upside down and stitched it into the neckline.
- Voila!!! From Too Revealing to Just Right!
- Too Long/Too Tight/Too Boring: Again, I wish I was better about taking “before” pictures!! This dress was a red-white-and blue number that had a lot going for it. It was lined, had princess seams, was a great shade of blue and was extremely well made. But it looked terrible when I zipped it up; the length made my legs look dumpy and it was……kind of a “Plain Jane”. I had to talk myself into tackling this Too, because I didn’t want to ruin the construction. But I took it in stages and am really happy with how it turned out.
- First I added some decorations. I went with the tried and true hearts motif and laid them out along the left hip in a way that reminded my of heart fireworks.
- Next, I took out the zipper and opened up the back. Remember how we enlarged the Paris dress in our first example? Did the exact the same thing using a red knit for contrast. Again, I had to adjust the dress for fit, so the inset isn’t a perfect 5 inch stripe. Instead it is a Kristi’s-figure-shaped stripe. But I don’t feel like that detracts from the dress. In fact, I kind of like it.
- I covered the center seam with a red-white-and-blue ribbon and used the ribbon again across the top front.
- Finally I turned up the hem a couple of inches, trimmed the lining to fit and attached one more section of ribbon above the hem.
- Finie!!! From Too long/Too tight/Too boring to Just Right!!
Honestly, I have more Too’s I could show you, but I think we need to cut for time. I will move on……..
Red White And Blue Extraveganza
The Red-White-And-Blue Dress I just finished is part of my 4th of July tradition. I always make a garment (or two) that I don’t quite finish until after the fireworks are put away. It sounds like it would be a problem but the following year I have a brand new item sitting in the closet that I haven’t worn yet. Pretty sweet. Here is my 4th of July collection over the years. Some things are made, some are remade. If I made the garment I will give you the pattern name and number……..
An Update on our Sewcation:
Of course we are still going!!! In my last post I said it was time for us to go on another Sewingjourney. But, since there are restrictions on travel, this journey will be to my back yard. Here are the details. I’ll set up the sewing machine on the patio and you’ll join me there. We will have yummy snacks (I haven’t decided what to make yet, do you have any suggestions?) and instead of finding our fabric and materials in some exotic location we are going to go to my garage. Yes, you heard me right…..the garage.
You see, I have (way too many) containers of fabric and thrift store finds tucked away in my garage. This strikes me as the perfect opportunity to dig into them. To make this interesting, I am going to ask my friend Cheryl J.-who is a follower-to randomly chose two numbers between 1 and 16. I will pick 2 containers that match her numbers and those will be the materials we have to work from. Doesn’t that sound great! I have no idea what we will find. The same rules will apply as every journey, I can use notions, thread, etc from my sewing room but no patterns. We have to sew using our creativity.
The journey (to my back yard) will start around 11-ish on July 10th. We will have 2 days to create something wonderful and I will do my best to make it an interesting adventure for you. Take care my dear friends. Don’t worry about packing a suitcase. Come as you are!!!
Growth Garment Update: The Pink Raincoat.
Nothing to report, nothing to see. Growth garments are supposed to take a long time. Right?
Okay dear ones, it is time to sign off and say goodbye! I will see you again in just a few days. Take care, stay healthy, stay safe. I adore you!