Friday, June 19, 2009

Once Upon A Time.....

Little girls used to wear dresses to school.
(Click picture to enlarge)

"I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." ~ Winston Churchill

Once upon a time, little girls wore dresses.. at play, to church and even to school. I learned to sew when I was a sophomore in high school. Even though we had to take home economics in junior high and I had sewed the obligatory blouse in seventh grade and the skirt in eight grade.. I didn't really learn to sew until high school. That summer I was at my grandmother's house in Roanoke, VA and I was bored. So she took me to the fabric store and helped me pick out a simple a-line dress pattern and some simple cotton material. Then she cut me loose. I cut it out and sewed it up on her machine and amazingly it fit and looked really nice. So we got some more material, just a little more expensive.. and I made another one.. changing up the front tab and the sleeves. All in all I think I made at least seven or eight dresses from the same pattern.

When Nyssa was born, I made a few little dresses and short sets and then sweat suits. We moved to Mississippi and still made a lot of her clothes but wanted to branch out. There I took a course in smocking.. both geometric design and picture smocking. With smocking you can take a simply yoke patterned dress pattern and make hundreds of different styles by changing the material, the smocking pattern, the sleeves and the collars. Little girls outgrow their love for smocked dresses... all too soon for my thinking.

In the jungle the mighty jungle...the lion sleeps tonight. Posted by Picasa

This was one of my favorites... I love all the mixtures of colors with the animals and it seemed perfect for smocking the lion and lioness... as they are the king and queen of the jungle. I try to always use a good cotton, preferably one made by the Hoffman company, as they are consistently colorfast and don't fade when washed as cheep cottons from others do. This dress must have been washed at least forty or fifty times and no fading. Smocking is wonderfully relaxing.. you have to shut out the worries of the day and focus on your stitches. It always amazed me to see the scene start taking shape on the cloth under my needle. The greatest reward was seeing Nyssa put the dress on for the first time and look at herself in the mirror... hearing the words, "Oh, MOM! It is so-o-o-o beautiful! I love it so much! Thank you so-o-o-o much! Can I wear it to school tomorrow?" What mom wouldn't smock her fingers to the bone to hear those words?

This is posted for a very "colorful carnival" this weekend.

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