Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra set of arms & hands? So many times I find myself wishing for that. I could accomplish twice as much as I do now. That would be wonderful!
It’s been a long time since I’ve written~ too long! I feel bad about it. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I’ve just been so busy with my work. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who are good multi-taskers. There are so many things I’d love to make, but they all require a lot of time. In the interest of trying to get more items made, I decided to concentrate my efforts for a while~Â and that’s why I haven’t been here. There is stillÂ so much that I want to make,Â so I can’t commit to a regular writing schedule , as I hope to be able to do someday,Â but I intend to pop in more frequently and let you see some of the things I’ve been working on.
I recently finished a custom order Christmas dress for a customer that was probably the most difficult order I’ve ever worked on. It was a real challenge,Â but I was determined to do it. I worked on this dress for a month, twice even staying up all night working because I had to see what it looked like~ and if I’d captured the scene pictured in my head.Â In spite of the difficulty I have to say that I really enjoyed the challenge this dress presented. Creating it helped me learn a lot about perspective & how to fit a lot into a small space~
The order was for a Christmas dress in green fabric, smocked & with an embroidered scene that included a Christmas tree with colored lights, a little girl, a basset hound & a chocolate lab. Once the sides are smocked there is only about a 3 1/2″ x 3″ space left in the center to compose a scene. That’s really not much room at all. Most of my scenes usually have 1 or 2 major figures in them. That is usually what fits the most comfortably. This request was for twice as many figures as I usually have, so the major problem it presented was how to fit everything in and still have it look nice- and the figures be identifiable. When I thought about the scene, what appeared was an outdoor picture. When it came to actually embroidering the scene I pictured, I realized quickly that I was also going to have difficulty with the snow- and how to show that some of the figures were in front while others were further back. These were the two major problems that kept me up all night~ and taught me a lot. I have never been so totally engrossed in a dress as I was with this one,Â and I’m happy to say that I was pleased with the results~ (the scene pictured in the upper left corner.)Â If you look closely you will see that the string of tree lights begins in the little girl’s hands & extends down to the basset hound at her side. The basset hound holds a section in his mouth while the chocolate lab, having wound the lights around the branches a few times,Â is standing behind the tree with his end of the lights held in his mouth~ and so the title, “Three to Light the Tree.”
Just before beginning work on the order for the Christmas dress I made a dress for my shop that is my personal favorite. When shopping for fabrics,Â I like to buy cuts of whatever I see that I think would make a nice dress- without having any particular dress in mind. I bring them home, wash them & put them away until I’m ready to begin a new dress. That way I build an adequate supply of fabrics so that when I’m ready to start a dress, I can look at them & choose whatever I’m in the mood to work on. The fabric for this dress is fabric that I’ve had longer than any of my other fabrics. Every time I went to choose fabric for a new dress I’d pass this one over~ it just never seemed to “grab” me~ until recently. I think I even surprised myself when I opened the cupboard where I keep my fabrics,Â spotted this and said, “Yes!” I never would have guessed that it would turn out to be my very favorite dress,Â but that’s exactly what happened. Once I saw the fabric I knew exactly how I wanted the dress to look. It’s always a bit scary to me to combine fabrics as I’ve done here, with the collar & sleeves in white and the body of the dress in a small print, giving the dress a “jumper & blouse” look. It’s difficult to visualize which fabrics will look good in that style & which won’t. It’s definitely not fit for every print. This is only the second time that I’ve tried embroidering on the “puff” part of each sleeve, but I really like the way it ties the print of the fabricÂ together with the white sleeves, although it’s not an easy thing to do. In fact it’s very difficult to embroider from inside the small area that is available in the sleeve of a baby dress,Â but I think it’s worth the effort and contributes to creating a dress that’s both unique and very special.
These are just a few of the things that have kept me busy in recent months. I’ve also been knitting, as I’m trying to build a supply of knit items for my shops as well, but more on that in my next post. I’m working on a new dress right now and I’m close to being finished embroidering the scene. I’m looking forward to getting to the part where the dress gets sewn together. I’m sorry to say that my sewing machine which has served me so well over the past 25 yrs. has finally said,Â “enough!”Â It’s replacement is sitting, still in it’s box, waiting for me to reach the stage where it will be needed. I’m anxious to see how it will work. Hopefully I’ll love it as much as I’ve loved my old machine and,Â (whisper-)Â maybe even a bit more!Â I’ll let you know how I like it, next time I write~ must return to work now!
I hope you enjoy the beautiful fall weather that’s either just arrived- or will be arriving soon!Â Fall is my favorite season, so I’m looking forward to cool, beautiful days!