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Conversational Threads

The best garment you ever made

mrsbeast | Posted in Talk With Us on

My daughter spent her Junior year of college in Paris and we were fortunate enough to visit her over Christmas break. The one souvenir I wanted was a length of fabric, so Wendy took me to the fabric shopping district where I found a beautiful piece of grey-blue wool. Then and there I decided I would make a coat. Well, I’d never made a coat before, so the wool sat for 3 years while I gathered my nerve, honed my skills, and found the right pattern. As luck (providence!) would have it, a new fabric store opened in the next town, offering sewing classes. The owner of the shop (a designer) and the teacher were wonderful mentors and guided me through the whole coat making process. I took a Great Copy pattern meant for fleece with serged seams and made it into an underlined and lined wool coat! I call it my “Paris coat” and have fond memories of our perhaps once-in-a-lifetime trip, as well as the satisfaction of making a sewing dream come true.

Edited 4/18/2007 10:13 pm ET by MrsBeast

Edited 4/18/2007 10:25 pm ET by MrsBeast


  1. Cherrypops | | #1

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story. I love the coat! it is gorgeous. An inspiration to all. CherryPops

  2. User avater
    VKStitcher | | #2

    Oh wow!  You did an outstanding job on your "Paris Coat"!  Thanks for sharing it with us.


  3. Gloriasews | | #3

    Beautiful coat & beautiful fabric - you did an excellent job on it!  It probably was a good idea waiting to make it until you felt sure of yourself before starting & you were very lucky to have help along the way. 

  4. cynthia2 | | #4

    What a beautiful coat!  Congratulations.  Not only is the coat beautiful, but you have wonderful memories of spending time in Paris with daughter.  Now, if only I could convince someone in my family to live abroad for a while!

  5. solosmocker | | #5

    That is a gorgeous coat. How lucky to have had such wonderful mentors. Great job1

    1. sally ryan | | #6

      I'd have to say my very best sewing project was the first thing I ever made.  I was graduating from grade eight and decided to make a sailor dress.  Bought a pattern, sewed it from the directions, my mom made me a red tie to go with it- and wore it to the ceremony.

      I shudder to think what it must have looked like, but I have been sewing ever since ( over 40 years) and it's been the most pleasurable hobby I could ever have.  I never tire of it.

      Edited 4/19/2007 8:39 pm ET by sally ryan

      1. fabricholic | | #8

        That is a neat story. Was the dress navy or white, white with stripes? I bet you looked cute.Marcy

  6. MaryinColorado | | #7

    Lovely coat!  Very stylish and great looking choice for your fabric.  I'm glad you finally got up the nerve to make this special garment.

    1. User avater
      mrsbeast | | #9

      Thanks very much, Mary. The lining is tencel, which I also had on hand for about 3 years! Funny how the colors all just came together. Patti (mrs. beast)

  7. Bernie1 | | #10

    Your Paris Coat is absolutely gorgeous.

    My best garment was a semi-formal Dior dress I made back in the 80s. It had a ruffle neckline that angled off one shoulder and a gathered side seam with a zipper, and low dropped waist and three tiers of ruffles on the skirt and hem. The body was silk velvet when you could still get it mostly silk so it draped beautifully, and the ruffled neckline and skirt were taffeta. It was all in green, dark for the silk and emerald for the ruffles. I'm a redhead so it looked really great on me. Unfortunately, it no longer fits and I gave it to Goodwill. Shouldn't have done that.

    1. solosmocker | | #11

      That sounds exquisite. I have had garments "disappear" (I'm being kind here)that I was so proud of and they are no more. I guess the moral is if you did a great job on it and love it, don't let it out of your sight.

  8. bratalier | | #12

    Wow! It's beautiful! What a great story too.

  9. jatman | | #13

    Very nice job!  Beautiful styling and colors!


    1. msewing1 | | #14

      Hi. My best project I have made was one I just made recently. I made a dress out of polka-dot jersey. It ended up very cute and I wore it to a dance I went to.

      Does anyone else have any stories?

      1. starzoe | | #15

        My list is rather long, hard to choose. One is a skirt I made out of a kilt. I wore the original for many years and finally took at the pleats out, turned the fabric sideways and made a long skirt with pleats at the front and a fringe on the bottom. I have just finished making the waistband 1 3/4" larger and will shorten it a bit so that makes about 20 years of wear.I have a faux fur coat I made in the mid 70s from a picture in Vogue magazine. I remember the fabric cost $80 a yard then. I just wore it the other evening once again. It's ocelot.

      2. fiberfan | | #24

        The best garment I made was a tailored jacket in a very nice navy wool gabardine.  I spent quite a bit of time on the tailoring.  The jacket no longer fits and I don't wear tailored suits but that jacket still hangs in the closet.

        A recent nice garment is one I drafted last summer.  It is an armhole princess with short sleeves.  The center front and center back have no waist seam.  The side front and side back have a waist seam and a pleated skirt.  The pleated side skirt allows more fullness without the flared look that occurs when fullness is added by tapering out on all the seams.  The waist seam also supports a pocket nicely.  I made one in October using a teal sueded rayon.  I am currently working on one in a royal blue wool gabardine.


        1. damascusannie | | #25

          I love the sound of this dress. What's the pattern? Annie

          1. fiberfan | | #29

            The pattern is self drafted.  I don't have pictures of the teal dress.  I plan to enter the blue wool dress in the Pattern Review "One Fabric - Wool" contest so I will get pictures of it.


          2. damascusannie | | #30

            >>The pattern is self-draftedI KNEW you were doing to say that! RATS!Annie

          3. fiberfan | | #31

            If you have a fitted princess line blouse pattern you like, the changes to make it a dress are pretty easy.  I would be happy to help you with those changes.  They are simple enough I didn't make a separate pattern, just made the changes with a washable marker.


          4. damascusannie | | #32

            Don't have a blouse, but I think I have a princess line dress. It's the side gathers that intrigue me. I can't wait to see the pictures of it.Annie

          5. fiberfan | | #75

            I finally finished the dress last week.  I posted a link to my review at pattern review on the March challenge thread but I wanted to make sure you saw it.  The review includes a rough line drawing that tries to show the pleats on the sides.


          6. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #76

            The best garment I ever made was at the age of 14 when I was a 10th grader in high school. I had to make a project for the sewing portion of my Home Econonics class (giving away my age, aren't I). I've never understood why I chose this nor why my mother or my teacher didn't squash it, but I chose burgandy corduroy and made a princess style dress that had a Peter Pan Collar, puffed short sleeves and a seven-button closure ending just below the waist in front. It turned out perfect. I got an A, AND I wore the dress until after I married at age 22. I altered it once when I lost about 12 pounds somewhere around age 18.

        2. rodezzy | | #28

          I would like to see that dress too!

        3. nottoway | | #43

          I have been sewing since I was eight years old - now 62!  I tend to be a perfectionist in everything I do so I always find the fault in any project.  In memory the best clothes I every made where the ones that have an emotional connection.

          Sounds as if you have found some lovely fabric - where do you shop?

          1. fiberfan | | #44

            The royal blue gabardine I bought at Mill End Fabrics in Portland OR.  I don't live there but I spent Christmas with family who live west of Portland.  A stop at Mill End on the way to the airport was a delight.  There is one fabric store with a nice selection in SLC where I live.  They are sometimes beyond my budget and many of their fabrics don't appeal to me.


  10. rodezzy | | #16

    I just noticed that this thread is from April 2007, but it's a beautiful coat and has beautiful memories. 

    Back in 1979 I was young and you couldn't pinch an inch of fat on my body.  That was when I made my first perfectly fitted dress.  I bought a sewing book that was one of those manual type books showing you how to measure your body, make alterations to your pattern before cutting and everything you needed to know about making garments. 

    I found out that I was pear shaped (narrow shoulders, wide hips) and how to make all of the alterations to create this dress.  I followed the instructions and made a perfectly fitted dress that enhanced my figure and made me very proud of myself.  Back then I wore everything fitted.  darts in the blouses, nothing loose.

    Well, needless to say, I am pounds heavier and rarely make dresses.  I can't bear it.  People keep insisting that I have a good figure still, but I miss those days and I'm too old and physically inept to work through the pain.  I just try to keep from getting any bigger and staying as healthy as I can.

    1. Elizard | | #17

      I agree on the coat, it is very beautiful, it is nice to have something to remind about a trip.
      May I jump in and ask you, Rodezzy which book you used, sounds like it was a good one.
      I think my best garment was the bridesmaid dress I made for myself for my uncle's wedding. I had intended to use it for my confirmation as well, but by then I was even taller, and made myself a beige suit, skirt and top.
      I wish one always had the time to make things "just right"
      Of course, happy birthday Rodezzy!

      Edited 1/16/2008 11:52 am by Elizard

      1. rodezzy | | #18

        I really don't remember, but I believe it was a Simplicity sewing book.  That was in 1979.  I don't know when I lost it, as I'm pretty good about keeping up with things unless I lost it in the basement flood in 1990 of my house. 

        I went out on the web to see if I saw something and it triggered my memory.  It was one of those "complete guide to sewing" books.  Any it must have been Simplicity because they make those guide books and the cover looked very familiar to my old book.

        1. Elizard | | #19

          Thank you for answering, I might look.
          I'm really sorry about the floods in you house :(

          1. Stillsewing | | #57

            This has been such an interesting tread, thank you very much for starting it. It has been so interesting reading people's memories. While I cannot decide which of the literally hundreds of things I have made over the past 50 years was my favourite, it has given me great pleasure in remembering various dresses and suits that I have made. Overall I seem to remember most pleasantly the items made where I adapted the pattern in several ways. One of these was a McCalls pattern that I made up as a denim dress first as on the pattern. I then made a skirt suit in needlecord with patch pockets. Suitably adapted, I can't remember the sequence, but I used the pattern to make a dressing gown and a mohair coat for myself, and a dress for my mother (she was at least a size larger probably two,) than me. I continued to use and adapt that pattern for a long time.The garment I got most fun making was surely a bright daffodil silk dress made from fabric purchased in Hong Kong. I was invited to a formal and needed the appropriate dress. I made the one and only strapless boned dress I ahve ever made, out of this fabric. It had a ruched top gathered onto a base and I was indeed challenged by it. The more interesting part of the operation was the fact that all of this was carried out on the table in the living room (no sewing room there). All of my late mother's friends came and went and could not miss the bright eye catching colour. When it was finished each and every one of them demanded a showing of "the dress" and I modelled it so often I thought the dress would be worn out before the do. Just as well, as although the dress was lovely and I was very happy with it, I only got to wear it twice. I remember also that my late mother in law was so impressed when she saw it. It was lovingly put away over 20 years ago and last summer we were invited to a wedding in Italy. The dress was still there at the back of the wardrobe. At least three to four inches too tight across the bust, or should I say the back? I ripped the dress out, carefully pressed the top and was able to make a new top out the old one. The gathered skirt was remade just a waistband added and was I delighted to be able to wear it again? Even though it was a remake I felt very proud to be able to breathe new life into some beautiful material.
            So... thanks again for the memory.

          2. quixotesmom | | #58

            My favorite item is usually the one I'm making. Been reading all the couture articles and books I could find and decieded to make a Chanel jacket using her techniques including quilting the lining, making the lining and blouse from the same fabric. I found a wool with a texture she often used and a silk for lining and blouse . I'm going to wrap the lining to the front. I'm making braid from the wool fabric . I love to hand sew and now feel I have permisson to do so. About 25 years ago I wanted to use a fabric at the jacket sleeve edge but didn't want a sleeved blouse made of that fabric. I thought it would be to uncomfortable so I made a ruffle of the fabric and hand stitched it inside the jacket sleeve. Now in reading about Chanel's work I see that's the way she made her blouses. At the time I thought I was rather cheating, didn't realize I was a real "designer". I'm trialing a blouse of silk which I'm hand sewing. French seams, bound neck and arm holes. I have a super pain problem and think maybe I can get more done by hand as I can just pick it up and sew for short time and not make the commitment to go to my studio and sew. Pat

          3. scrubble4 | | #59

            Stillsewing;  What a delightful story about your daffodil silk dress.  Best of all being to re-create it to wear again.  Scrubble4

          4. Stillsewing | | #60

            Thanks very much. I'm blessed as i now have a top and a skirt so it is a 50% increase or should I say a 100% increase. ........ Anyway thanks very much.

          5. Josefly | | #65

            What a wonderful thing to be able to re-make your dress. I can just imagine that daffodil yellow silk - glorious.

          6. Stillsewing | | #66

            Thanks very much for that. I must say that the daffodil yellow was perfect for an Italian Summer wedding so it was a double win - first time I really enjoyed making and wearing it, so then it was great to have another chance to make and wear it again. I find it lovely to be able to share these things with people who understand.

        2. Gloriasews | | #21

          Rodezzy, I have that Simplicity sewing book (among all of my other books that I have a hard time parting with :) )!

          In the 70s, I also bought 3 little no-pattern books from a lady in Quebec.  Actually, they were wee patterns that she had made on graph paper & you'd have to copy them to scale for your own body.  They were all simple designs - one was for infants & children's clothes, & the other 2 for adults (both men & women) which included nightgowns, blouses, dresses, sweats, coats, jackets.  She & her husband self-published them.  I still have them.

          Hope you had a wonderful birthday - guess my birthday wishes got to your computer after your workday was finished, as your time is an hour or 2 later than ours.


          1. rodezzy | | #26

            wOW, that's amazing.  I love this site.  Talking to people that have so much in common with me and share the same books and tools.  It's just awesome. 

            Yes, it was late, but better late than never, I appreciate your message no matter when I got it.  Sent you a thread in the knit and crochet thread too. 



          2. Gloriasews | | #33

            Yes, we do have a lot in common - too bad we all can't get together once in awhile, eh?  Would be great fun meeting each other!

            Thanks for the thread in the knitting/crochet section.


          3. rodezzy | | #34

            Yes, that would be great, but I can't get these people together on an informal manner here in Chicago.  I belong to a quilt guild, a craft group that is faultering and I have only one true craft/sewing friend that I can talk to almost any time.  So, I think it would be the same.  People have commitments, issues and etc.

            The quilt guild is just guild meetings, I can't go to the sewing sessions during the day on tues and thurs because I work.  So I do my crafting/sewing alone.  But hey, I get lots done. 

          4. Gloriasews | | #35

            I, too, don't have any sewing/quilting/needlework buddies - but I'm still not getting a lot done, like you do - you go like the wind!  I'm envious!

            But, just think, when you eventually retire (you young thing, you), you can take all kinds of classes at your local seniors centre at low cost & during the day (perfect).  I have taken a few quilting courses - very enjoyable - but, again, there were the cliques (aaagh!!) - many of the women know each other & take the same courses all the time;  they were pleasant & helpful, but stuck to their own "group", & I wasn't able to make new friends there (maybe if I took more classes - but, if you take them all, it's too expensive).  So I read a lot & do my own thing - I like my own company, anyway :)


          5. rodezzy | | #55

            Hi Gloriasews, I was out all last week (21 thru 25) because of my car.  It was a horrible experience.  I should have gone to the dealer and paid the extra high price, because between loosing five vacations days for the year and the price I paid to get it fixed - it cost me more to go to the person I was sent to.  Oh well, lesson learned.  Plus I wouldn't have had to wait that long.  I just got my car back last night.  I took the bus to work monday because the weather wasn't so bad.  Luckily I have a great manager to work for and the office is small.

            Well, I crocheted a sweater jacket and about six scarves while out.  I started knitting a shawl and ripped it out.  I just couldn't concentrate. 

            Glad to be back.  Yes, it is hard to make new friends every where and any many types of groups.  I've had this problem since I was a child.  Mainly because I am an only child and have a very small family...I felt this through out my entire life.  On average people from big families stick to the family and friends they grew up with and don't really want any new friends.  Most groups are clickish because they have been around one another for long periods of time and don't really open up to new people.  And then sometimes I've been into groups that I don't like after all.  So...I would venture to say, everything happens for a reason.  I've been in my quilting quild since 2001 and I've only bonded with one person.  And she's craft crazy just like me.  She feels alienated by the other guild members too.  They never remember who she is and they constantly fawn over me, but never treat me as one of "them".  I've done some teaching in the guild and for some reason, that puts you on another level (in their minds).  I'm a Capricorn (you know) and teaching is part of our nature.  Right.  Doesn't make me smarter or better, just interested enough to share and give back what I've learned and taught for free.

            Oh well, you have me.  I can't physically be with you and I had better get a laptop this year, so I can stay connected. (giggle)  I missed talking with you.

          6. Gloriasews | | #56

            Welcome back - I was wondering what had happened to you, as you usually check in every day that you can - yah, you'll have to get a home computer eventually.  Too bad about your car.  I, too, had to get mine repaired this month to the tune of $700 - yikes!  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there won't be any more repairs this year.

            At least you had a productive week crocheting - good for you!  Now you'll have to catch up on all the threads you missed while you were away.

            I've run into the same problems you have with joining groups.  O well, we Capricorns don't mind our own company, eh?  Actually, we usually get more accomplished on our own, anyway.  Once in awhile, we do find one person in a group who will become a friend, but it's slow going.  And if that person becomes a very good friend, she moves away either by change of job or her husband gets transferred - & we're back to square one. 

            Keep warm!


          7. damascusannie | | #36

            When I wanted to get together with my sewing machine friends on the internet, I hosted a sewing machine weekend at a local museum. Six years later, it's an annual event and last summer when I thought I'd have to cancel because of family commitments (two bridal showers and a 25th anniversary scheduled by my in-laws without asking anyone if it was convenient) they came and got together anyway. Fortunately, I was able to have Friday supper with them, and join them for Sunday. So, sometimes a person just has to extend the invitation...Annie

          8. Gloriasews | | #37

            That sewing weekend sounds like a good idea, especially when it turned out to be a yearly event - one can plan for things like that (& hopefully don't get invitations for other things at the same time :)

            Must go - it's suppertime here.


          9. damascusannie | | #38

            It's not a sewing weekend, it's a sewing machine collector's weekend. We spend the two days cleaning antique machines for anyone who brings one in. Last year I think we cleaned up 20 machines. I usually demo free-motion quilting for a while, too.Annie

          10. J_Eman | | #39

            I call it my mistake dress.  From this I learned I should never have scissors in my hand after 12 noon if I have worked the night before.  When I started cutting out the dress I didn't put the whole pattern on it (1st mistake)  Then after cutting out the front I realized I didn't have enough fabric.  So, I figured out how I could cut the back out.  Then I realized I didn't have enough for the sleeves.  Decided to scrap the dress, then remebered it was a wool knit and I had paid a lot of money for the fabric.  Went to bed.  Around 2 a.m. the eyeballs popped open and I knew how to put my scraps together along with another piece of knit to finish the garment.  Wore it to a party several days later and got so many complements.  Only my best friend had the enjoyment of a hearty laughing at how many mistakes were made while putting it together. 


          11. Gloriasews | | #41

            Oh - a whole different ball of wax!  Sorry I misunderstood you - but then, the sewing demo is good - and there!  That would be a really busy weekend working on all those machines, but more fun when you do it together, eh?


          12. damascusannie | | #42

            It is a lot of work and usually hotter than blazes, but we love seeing the old machines revitalized and it's really satisfying to hear the comments from the owners. We've gotten to the point where we fight over the dirtiest machines because we get the most dramatic results with them. Two years ago we had an old Singer 66 come in that looked like it had been spray painted black. When the gals got done cleaning it (a team of three took on this one) it had gorgeous red, green and gold decals. When the owner came to pick it up, she took one look at it and told me that there was a mistake; it wasn't her machine. I asked for the receipt we'd given her when she brought it in, compared the serial number on it to the machine's and said, "This is your machine. It's just clean now." She started crying. It had been her grandmother's and she'd had no idea that it was so pretty. Annie

          13. quixotesmom | | #45

            That's great for you to fix up the old machines. I have a Baby Lock serger, the first offered to the non professional sewers in 1960. I have a much newer on but perfer to use old one. I don't have to set lots of dials, can just stuff it under and get it cut a serged. My first sewing machine was a Pfaff I got in 1960. Used it for many years and now my daughter's gor it. She took it in for cleaning and asked me why she was offered so much money for it. I have 2 old Singer treadle machines and will ask if my 10 y old grand daughter wants to learn to sew on one of them. That's how her mother learned. My theory was the machine wouldn't go faster than she could peddle and was safer than one with power. Pat

          14. damascusannie | | #46

            I have to chuckle--my newest machine is about the same age as your oldest! Treadles are a great way to teach children to sew for just the reason you give. Plus, the treadling action helps them use up a little excess energy while they are sewing. Works for me--I find that I'm a much more relaxed sewist since switching over to treadles. Not for everyone naturally, but there are a surprising number of folks out there who do use them.Annie

          15. Gloriasews | | #47

            What a wonderful story about the woman's grandmother's Singer - I can imagine she'd cry - it probably looked beautiful when your crew was finished.  She will treasure it all the more now.  How did you get the black paint off without taking the decals off, too?  It must have been a pleasant surprise to you, too, to have it turn out so colourful.


          16. damascusannie | | #48

            It wasn't paint at all (it almost never is). In fact, it was decades of cigarette smoke, which we could actually smell as we cleaned it, and dried oil and lint. I've never seen one with such an even coating of the crud, though. It takes hours and hours to carefully remove such a build-up but the decals are usually in good condition underneath it.Annie

          17. Gloriasews | | #49

            Sounded like a yucky job - especially the smell.  As you said, it's amazing it was to badly coated all over!  What did you use to clean it?


          18. damascusannie | | #50

            We use mechanic's hand de-greasers called GoJo or GOOP. We have to go very carefully so that we don't damage the decals but it cuts the grease and rinses easily. Like I say, it can take many, many hours of gentle brushing with a soft watercolor brush to remove all the residue. Annie

          19. Gloriasews | | #52

            Wow - that's really labour-intensive!  Thanks for the product name & how you use it.


          20. Lilith1951 | | #53

            I have two favorites:  I made myself a tailored wool suit about 25 years ago. I'd never made one before, haven't made one since.  I really loved the wool and I wore that size 12 suit proudly--about 4 times....and then outgrew it.  I lost weight 18 years ago and again wore it a couple of times before gaining too much weight again.  Last time I looked at it, it had two moth holes in the skirt...the only thing I've ever seen in my house with moth holes!  Anyhow, it had a very fitted, short, princess-style jacket with mock pockets and a narrow shawl collar.  The collar and covered buttons were in a coordinating velveteen. It was gorgeous!

            My other favorite was my youngest daughter's first homecoming dress about 13 years ago.  She picked out the pattern and the fabrics and she told me it was the most beautiful dress she'd ever seen.  It still hangs in her closet, and I bet she'll keep it till she's a grandmother and her granddaughter can play "dress-up" in it.   Fitted strapless with boning, knee-length very full skirt (50's style actually) underneath layer was gold tissue lame and all was covered with a black lace.  She was gorgeous in it and felt like the homecoming queen even though she was only 14.  Kinda young for strapless, but it was very tastefully cut and fit well--there was really no cleavage showing (though her dad would have liked to see a tee shirt under it (snicker.)

            I have no picture of my wool suit, but I probably can scrounge up a picture of my daughter's dress--I'll take a look this weekend. 

          21. scrubble4 | | #54

            Lilith 1951  They both sound lovely.  Do post one of the home coming dress.  I have a vivid imagination and could see both, but would love to really see the homecoming dress.  Thanks Scrubble4

          22. Lilith1951 | | #67

            Sorry to take so long to get back to this, Scrubble4, but I just found the picture!  Wish you could see the hemline, but the lace was actually scalloped on the hem edge...very nice against the gold underfabric.



          23. rodezzy | | #68

            Very elegant dress, I made a formal dress for the Miss Three Rivers contest I was in many years ago. (1969)  I don't have a picture of it, though.  But you picture reminded me of it.  I made all of my special outfits in high school for my and my best friend.  We dressed alike for stuff such as Dress up Day, Homecoming dances, etc.  I made look alike outfits for us in different colors.  I remember making us these dresses with pintucks in the front, one pink and one yellow.  The fabric had little fuzzy flowers on it in white.  I made palazzo pants (very wide legged pants) in a very small courdyroy one in navy and one in maroon.  I can't remember all.  We were always the best dressed in high school and out dressed most of our peers at the dances.  Between traveling to Chicago to buy clothes and my making stuff for us, we always came out on top.  It was a great time in my life.

          24. Lilith1951 | | #71

            I bet it WAS a great time of your life, Rodezzy!  I wish I had been more into sewing in high school.  My skills were really not "ready for prime time" at that point.  My girls were lucky that, by the time they were in high school, I could really handle the kinds of things they needed me to do. 

            My older daughter just could not find anything that fit OR flattered in ready made locally, as far as dressy stuff, so I plunged in and dealt with fitting issues and such.  I just kept adjusting till we got it right and she was so thrilled to have something gorgeous that fit her and made her look wonderful, and nobody else had one like it.  The girls asked her all night where she got it because she looked so great.  I told her she could tell them it was a "one of a kind" dress not sold locally, but she was proud of my work and told them the total truth.  They were actually jealous and wished their moms could sew.  She caused a rash of moms going out and buying patterns and fabric and hiring someone to sew homecoming dress the following year (snicker.) I'll see if I can't find a picture of that dress, too.  I know it's around here somewhere.

            I'm so glad to be reminded of these pleasant times sewing for me daughters.  Now my younger daughter is living at home temporarily again, and pouring over my Threads magazine, requesting retro-couture clothing and the lovely lace-embellished camisole from a few months ago!  I guess I should be glad.....but don't know when I'll get to that.




          25. scrubble4 | | #72

            Rodezzy ad Lilith 1951:

            First yes I would love to see that dress Rodezzy.  I think you are both an inspiration to all of us, especially Moms of young ladies attending a prom in a few months. Sewing for others is so different from sewing for yourself.

            Also, I think the fun and challenges of parenting young women comes through in both of your threads.  Your caring, concern, and triumphs are evident. I celebrate that.

            Lilith both your daughters are beautiful, which I know presents its own challenges.  To you both thanks for sharing this with all of us. 


          26. rodezzy | | #74

            I had one son, and I made one outfit for him when he was about six or seven for a neighborhood fashion show.  It was a powder blue corduroy jumper with a cream and blue gauze, neru collared, long sleeve shirt.  He was adorable.  He modeled like a champ because he loved for me to make stuff for him then.  I crocheted him a neru collared, double breasted, modular colored jacket that same year.  Over the years, I've crocheted and knitted him scarves, made quilts, repairs and such, but no clothes.  He has very good taste though.  Typical classic colors in browns, blues and blacks.  Every once in a while he'll wear a bright color when it is a team color for a team he likes.

            Oh the memories of our children....what wonderful feelings and memories I have.  I feel what you feel through your words, I sense the joy you feel in making your daughters smile.  I sense their pride in you.  Wonderful feelings.

          27. scrubble4 | | #69

            Lilith1951: "My other favorite was my youngest daughter's first homecoming dress about 13 years ago"

            Thank you so much for going to the trouble of finding and posting that picture.  Your daughter is beautiful and the dress is simply amazing.  No wonder her Dad wanted her to wear a t-shirt.  Not because it was risque but just to tone down the beauty and grown-up look.  You did an splendid job on it and you should be proud of it. 


          28. Lilith1951 | | #70

            Yeah and a couple of years later (age 16) she wanted to wear a low-cut bodice with a slit way up the side---in black, no less!  She had it picked out in a catalogue and I said, basically "hell no!" and she argued and I said, "Tell you what....I won't say a word to influence him and you take that catalogue and show it to your dad and I'll go with whatever he says."  It was one time I knew I was safe to say that (giggle.)  She was a very unhappy girl, but that's the way it goes sometimes.  She always wanted to push the envelope.  She dresses that way now for going out, but it is appropriate NOW.

            Attached is a more recent picture of my two sophisticated daughters out on the town together.  Blonde and brunette, personalities just as different, but both of them stubborn (like their dad, of course!)

            Thanks so much for your compliments.


          29. rodezzy | | #73

            Beautiful ladies, and the smile makes me know that you did a great job with them.  They look content in the world.

          30. autumn | | #51

            The things I am most proud of (not counting my first dress when I was10 yrs. old in 4-H, and won grand champion) are the 3 wedding dresses I've made. First one was for myself when I got married at 21. I designed it, and made it out of a nylon organza (I don't know if that is the right word, a little bit sheer but with a lot of body), lined with a stiffer nylon, boat neck with a 3" strip of lace across the top, dropped waist (21" at that time -- not any more), short sleeves shirred from hem to shoulder seam. It was really nice.

            The next one was for my oldest daughter. She wanted a Laura Ashley-type dress. I put together several patterns, looked at Laura Ashley wedding dresses in a shop in Denver, and then THREADS came out just in the nick of time with an article about boning wedding dresses. I used a very fine white muslin with a heavier muslin for the lining and interlining. I had never done boning or an interlining before, but since she wanted a wide ruffle around the neck that could be either on or off the shoulder, I had to make the dress so she did not have to wear a bra. It turned out beautifully.

            The third one was for my younger daughter's wedding out of white ultra-leather, ($40/yd.) plains Indian style with fringe hanging from the sleeves and at the bottom, a fringed yolk, and fringed leggings. Sounds really hard but the ultra leather was SO easy to work with. Too bad all these dresses are just hanging in the closet now. I used either a Simplicity or McCalls costume pattern.

          31. MaryinColorado | | #61

            Will you post some pics of the dresses if you get a chance?  I would love to see them, especially the ultra leather one?  Did it have any beading?  What color?  I'm so intrigued by this.  I have seen a few Native American wedding dresses that were beautiful. 

            My first husband wanted to buy me one that was in a boutique in D.C., it was very soft fine ivory leather with fringe and beading.  Silly me, I was too thrifty to spend the money, I didn't realise what a fine work of art it was. 

          32. autumn | | #62

            I'll have to get my Oregon daughter to do that for me. I don't know anything about putting photos on e-mail.  The ultra-leather dress had beading on the shoulders. My Colorado daughter did the beading, and the beading on her husband's ultra-suede shirt. She also wore a beaded medallion that she had made years earlier for me, (which happened to be in the same colors, mainly yellow and blue). The dress had a V-shaped yoke with fringe hanging from it (I had to use a lot of ingenuity to get the fringe to hang right), and the medallion fit perfectly in the yoke. I was worried about how to make the fringe even and straight, but I hit on the idea of using a cookie cooling rack with the exact spacing between the wires. I placed it on the fabric to be fringed, then ran my rotary blade cutter between the wires. It worked beautifully, and many people remarked about how nice the fringe was. The rotary blade worked great on the ultra leather. I didn't use scissors at all.

            I often think of all the work I put into those dresses, to have them worn only once and then hang in the closet forevermore.

          33. MaryinColorado | | #63

            You put so much love and talent into it.  I would have it framed as it is art, wouldn't it be beautiful on the wall?  Mary

          34. Josefly | | #64

            Hi, autumn. Your description of your wedding dresses was wonderful. Two very different daughters, eh? I wish I could see photos of their dresses.

  11. scrubble4 | | #20

    What a great Thread, to celebrate something we really loved once we had made it, or the making of it.  Whereas I love sewing, and start each project thinking this is going to be so fantastic, partway through I start to doubt myself: pattern style, fabric choice, lining/underling choice, hem length, fit of outfit, sewing ability etc.  It always amazes me when folks compliment me on an outfit once it is finished and I am wearing it.  I want to rush to tell them what is wrong with it.  I am learning to control that impulse and just say thank you. 

    One sewing project that was typical for me in the high to low emotional path is from a few years ago.  I made a yellow, princess dress that is hemmed about 5 inches above my ankle.  The cotton fabric is a lovely sunshine yellow which works very well for me with my blond hair and pale everything else.  I had a lot of trouble fitting the dress to my sway back but eventually decided enough, this is it.  I stretched my sewing skills by underlining the fabric with a stretch knit iron on during which I learned so much about how to do that correctly, and I used a self fabric bias binding on the neck for the first time.   

    I wear it with tan coloured sling back shoes and often a yellow chiffon scarf around my neck.  I still have it and wear it and never fail to have at least one compliment when wearing it.  I think I love this dress, not for what it is as I know all its faults, but for the hope it gives me that even though less than perfect in my sewing appraisal of it,  an outfit can bring me joy. 


    1. Gloriasews | | #22

      I, too, feel the same way you do when I'm making a garment - the doubt, etc.  Isn't it called "fear of failure"?   We do seem to be SO judgmental about the stuff we make & the small mistakes seem so huge!  You're right - nobody else notices & they certainly don't care about the agonies we went through making the item.

      The yellow dress sounds lovely & you've gotten lots of mileage out of it, eh?  You could always copy it, if you don't have the pattern anymore.


      Edited 1/16/2008 7:11 pm by Gloriasews

  12. damascusannie | | #23

    Gorgeous coat, love the asymmetrical collar. My all-time favorite dress was one I made for 4-H. It was the first project that I made totally by myself, usually when mom wasn't even in the house. It was high-waisted, with a full skirt and big peasant sleeves (mid-70s, you know!) and it was supposed to include a panel in the center front to mimic an apron. I couldn't find this sort of fabric in our small town so I had to make the panel with a contrasting fabric, essentially piecing it together, and then making the bodice from the same contrast to look like the bid on the apron.

    I placed third or fourth overall in our county. The top outfit that year took Grand Champion at the Minnesota State Fair, so you can see that competition was fierce. I was so proud and wore that dress for years. I think the last time I wore it was when I was pregnant with our first daughter in the early 80s. I still have some of the leftover fabrics in my stash and use them occasionally in quilts to this day.


    1. rodezzy | | #27

      wOW, you won a competition with the dress, awesome sewing.  It sounds very pretty. 

  13. GailAnn | | #40

    Woo Hoo!  What a beautiful coat!  Good Times.  Gail

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