Saturday, June 30, 2018

Couture Details on a Breezy Yellow Embroidered Gingham Dress

Well, I'm not really a couture seamstress, but I'd like to be. So this is my journey to share how I'm learning new skill sets for couture sewing at home. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

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The pattern is New Look 0125, which was chosen only after months of agonizing wrestling of which pattern to commit to this fabric that I love.

The fabric was purchased at Jo Ann Fabrics in San Antonio back in 2008 for a Civil War gown. I had purchased a blue fabric as well, for the other gown I sewed. After moving to Virginia and living in Civil War territory, I learned more about accurate sewing. Thus, I've sewn a more historically accurate gown. Then my plan was to reuse this fabric that I love for contemporary projects. I've already shared my 1960 blue dress. Now for my more contemporary yellow dress.

The pattern had been in my stash, unused, for years. I wasn't sure if I'd like the look on me, or not. I finally took a deep breath and dived into the deep end (instead of making a toile). The pattern was a cinch to use, and I had plenty of fabric for the project. I also ended up loving the final look.


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I've been doing lots of contemporary sewing from my stash in the last few months. (I have lots of blog posts to catch up on, in order to share all the projects.) I've been playing around with lots of techniques. For myself, I've settled on a narrow hem done on my sewing machine, for contemporary dresses. It's my favorite look and technique of all the various types of hems.

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I handpicked my zipper, which for me is far easier than a machine sewn zipper.

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For the inside I used a combination of facings and bias trim. I make my own bias trim out of lightweight natural fiber.

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I have worn it several times this summer. I wore it to a wedding and did some swing dancing. I even wore it out and about Washington DC where my kids did a photo shoot of me. You can see more of those photos, here.


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Friday, June 29, 2018

Eleven Year Blogging Anniversary with many thanks to Colonial Williamsburg

Once upon a time, the term blogging was coined into cyber-existence. The year was 1999, which incidentally was about the time I started homeschooling.

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But oh, no! I did not succumb to blogging...yet. Instead I rolled my eyes and firmly proclaimed I'd never do that! Why would anyone want to read about my daily life? All I do is cook. Sew. Garden. Travel. I take my kids to the pediatrician and then to various occupational and physical therapists.

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However I did realize there was a wealth of ideas on the internet that I might be able to use in my teaching. So I explored and came upon an on-line community of homeschoolers through forums. I created a secret user name so no one would ever identify me. My persona became lahbluebonnet when I was incognito.

Over the course of time, some of the homeschoolers with whom I interacted had blogs which shared about their journey. By June of 2007 I was hooked.

I chose Homeschool Blogger for my blogging platform. I got a digital camera. I learned html code. I designed my own blog page. I got to know many of my readers. Eventually Homeschool Blogger deleted all our blogs, so I had to reinvent the wheel here at Blogger. (Things are still a bit of a mess. When I find time I have plans to finesse my page!)

Once I was firmly established in that, my life took another turn. I moved from Texas to Virginia where my kids implored me for yet another time travel trip to Colonial Williamsburg. We visited so much I think the locals got tired of us. But we had to seize the moment, because years would flash by. With the advent of college, we knew our experiences in the colonial city were limited. My kids asked for proper attire, so I met the tailor and mantua maker, who guided me in my stitching.

All the while, my daughter was quiet. Developmentally delayed, she didn't walk until age 2. Speech came very slowly after that. Even by the time we moved to Virginia, my 16 year old daughter was quiet. However she loved the idea of going to Colonial Williamsburg in period clothing.

She had first visited Colonial Williamsburg in 2004. By the time we left, she wanted a gown. We returned for a visit from Texas in 2008. She wore a gown. Her brother had his breeches and waistcoat.

We moved to Northern Virginia in 2009. We must have made umpteen trips to the colonial city that summer. She'd quietly sit while her brother chatted his way through history with each interpreter.

Guests assumed she was an interpreter, so they'd ask her questions about the town, or they'd ask for directions. She was quite uncomfortable with this at first, reluctantly opening up. In time, it became more natural. Her favorite interaction was a little girl, about age 3, who walked up to her, starstruck.

"Oh, Tinkerbell!"

I looked at the parents and mouthed, "But Tinkerbell wears green." (My daughter was wearing pink.) The parents laughed and mouthed back that their daughter thought otherwise. =)

My daughter was confused at first, but was definitely taken in by the sweet little fan who adored the pink Tinkerbell colonial gown.

Then the interpreters treated my daughter like a friend...every time they saw her.

One day, my parents called on the phone while we were driving down to Colonial Williamsburg. They talked to each of the kids, then to me. When I got on the phone they exclaimed about how happy and chatty my daughter had become. Indeed. That is the charm of Colonial Williamsburg.

But that is not the only charm. I, too, am quite quiet. I would sit on a bench and watch my kids interact. I've lost count of the stories of guests who'd walk up to me, recognizing me and my kids from my blog. They said they had planned their Colonial Williamsburg trip through my blog, even to the point of making sure their children had 18th century clothing to wear to enhance the experience.

As I shared those experiences, and dug into historical sewing, I met historical seamstresses from around the world...through blogs.

I've met blog readers in my neighborhood. My daughter still meets them when she is out and about with her boyfriend. They stop her to say they recognize her as the girl who wears the colonial gowns at Teacups in the Garden.

Although my blogging has slowed down, our journey has not. Many thanks to all those who turned my blogging into the most incredible experience I could ever imagine.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Regarding a Blogging Award, Sewing, and Historical Travels

I know I've been uncharacteristically quiet...at least far more quiet than I was say, 4 years ago. My life has taken a different path. Yet, I see more blogging opportunity on the horizon.

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Nevertheless, I have been...sewing!!! I have about 10 new projects in process. I'm furiously taking opportunity for that to happen. And I've had one grand photo shoot that had wonderful reviews on facebook!

I've also been...visiting history, both in person and through books. That, too, has been well received on facebook!


Also, I've been...exercising. My body has become weaker and weaker for various reasons the last 7 years, and I'm determined to turn that around. I'm a bit worn out from the exercise, however I can tell that I'm definitely stronger!

I've simply been antsy to share on the blog, but my days get so busy of everything else, that I forget.

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Oh, btw, the video, below, was for a project I did last autumn for my volunteer work. I was thrilled for the opportunity to don one of my historical gowns. There was only me to run the cameras. My audience was the general public, and I was speaking in 3rd person interpretation, and I had severely injured my back, so I opted for a simple hairstyle as opposed to historical. Then there was another project I was recently working on for my volunteer work, so I just made a blog post of the video for us to compare platforms. Thus, no details. I'll have to finesse that post with details at a later time.

Meanwhile, in all my business, I sit down with my blogger reading list during lunch and peruse all the seamstresses and tailors. I've been quite saddened to see so many of  my favorites drop off of blogging. I see that they have new adventures in life.

As for me, I do have every intent to return to blogging. It was as much fun to write about a potpourri of my experiences as it was to meet many wonderful people from near and far.

One of those wonderful persons has a lovely blog that I frequent often...and the other day I noticed she awarded me a blogger award. Awwwe, that was so sweet. She hasn't forgotten me. I've been assigned questions to answer, which I've been pleasantly tossing about my head for fun answers.

So, this morning I thought I'd take a snippet of time from my hectic life to re-introduce myself. I hope to get the details about the award out soon in a fresh blog post. And I do plan to return to regular blogging soon. But do know that I am sewing. And visiting historical sites.

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I should invite everyone to my public facebook page, Teacups Among the Fabric...and I should start posting teasers of my sewing and historical adventures. I'll try to get some teasers up today! Perhaps this is the boost I need to make it happen!

So, many thanks to one of my favorite bloggers who nudged me back into communications.