Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Petticoats for Judah

It has rained the past three days and is too wet to plant the garden. I have been stitching up Judah's undergarments and have been feeling overwhelmed at the thought of all I have to get done by next Friday.

Well, at least what I want to have done. Our event is just a one day school event so all that really needs to be done is one outfit apiece for the boys. But very soon after that we have a full weekend event and I'd rather just get everything done at once.

It is taking me a little time to get these done. I decided to upgrade from petti chemises to true shirts and petticoats for the little boys this year. It seems that petti chemises are rather over represented, based on information from the Sewing Academy, so I thought I'd give these undergarments a try. Last year I had two sets of undies apiece for the boys and I realized that I really did need three. They got sooo dirty!

I have three children now, too, so that is quite a bit of undergament making. At least all that little David really needs is drawers. Those are easy.

Anyway, the most time consuming part is done. I'm not putting tucks in Malachi's petticoats since when he is older and I shorten him I will put tucks in his petticoats at that time. The tucks do take a while. But, they are worth it since Judah's dress skirt does stand out so nicely now!

He has three of these little bodiced petticoats, with thin straps to go over his shoulders. I was going to make just two of them with two button petticoats but at the very last minute decided to make the three bodiced petticoats.

And this waist petticoat which will soon have buttonholes to button to buttons (yet to be sewn) on the bodiced petticoats. Each day he will have a fresh bodiced petticoat to wear. The extra petticoat will add extra fullness to his skirts and if by chance it gets dirty or wet or unusable, he at least will have the one fresh bodiced petticoat to wear beneath his dress.

He loves the petticoats. I have never seen a small child go so wild when put into skirts. He takes on a whole new personality. He thinks he is quite something, I believe! He was fascinated while he watched me sew them. He knew they were his. How he knew, I do not know.

Now to go get Malachi's petticoats stitched and drawers cut out. And then shirts! And after that, I will finally get to start on little David's clothing. I am SO looking forward to that! I feel I have quite neglected my oldest little guy as far as sewing goes this year.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Judah's Pumpkin Colored Dress

I measured my stocky child (the other ones being Thin and Medium Children, as characteristically described) yesterday before his naptime, drew out a pattern and made up a gown while he was sleeping. It was a fast, quick job. I sewed on the trim today while we journeyed to town, to get seeds. And lumber for our square foot garden. And much yardage of white cotton for baby underwear.

I wanted to see how it fit my boy once I got it mostly put together (it is done except for finishing off the waist seam and the addition of hook and eyes, so for the pictures it is just pinned together at the back). Judah seemed to love this dress, despite his ashamed appearance at wearing his wool frock a few weeks ago when I tried it on him. I think he knows that this is *his* dress. It doesn't match anything his brothers have and it is uniquely his. He likes his own particular things. Of course. I am the same way, myself.

It is a bit big, I think. I added 3" of ease to the chest and waist. The dress really only fits like I wanted it to at the neckline and the waist hangs almost at where it should hang. It's a bit low, I think. . .I need to take up 1/4" on each side since the waist hangs lower at the sides than it does in the front and the armscye really is severely dropped. But for a first attempt with the new pattern it is not too bad, I guess.

Here are a few pictures of Judah wearing it. It was incredibly difficult to get him to pose. He is at the "I'm running, please chase me" stage and fled from the camera with incredible determination. He is sans underwear (haven't made it yet) and is wearing a modern diaper and shorts beneath, so with the proper petticoats and such I think the skirts will look much better and the dress will fit a bit better and not be so loose.
Ignore the van. So farb.

A concentrated move. He sticks out his tongue just like his daddy does when he is in high pursuit of something.
On the side door step.
I think he is pictured out. We'll stop now, baby boy.

One dress down, two to go!



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gowns for Malachi

I was a bit saddened over the weekend to have David away at Galena without me. I had a lovely time despite his absence but on that first Friday evening with him gone I was quite lonely indeed. The best cure for lonliness, indulgence in self-pity and lowering spirits, at least for me, is keeping busy. With the littles asleep in bed I cut out Malachi's reenacting gowns and my goal was to have them done by the time David got home Sunday night.

Well, I got them done today.
I just don't have the time to sew like I used to have. I'm lucky to get in an hour each day. I really need to understand that and am having a hard time doing so! I need to give myself much more time to get projects done since a child in the middle of the age 2, a 19 month old and a 3 month old do demand so much time and attention, especially lately since the older two figured out how to open the refrigerator and like to climb among the shelves and try to eat the barbeque sauce and ketchup in silence and secret. . .but I digress.

Last year I made each of the babies 2 gowns apiece. I realized that they really needed at least 3 gowns apiece since they were prone to getting filthy. For Malachi I made him these short sleeve gowns in a blue cotton print, a sheer cotton check and a semi sheer white and beige cotton stripe. I want to make him a long sleeve gown in wool for the cooler months but I think I'll wait until August or so before I start. I made these gowns a size 9-12 months and they are none too big for him and I'm hoping they will last him through the season.

I used the same pattern I have used for all the boys so far. The gown style gets a bit monotonous after a few years but this style is so quick and easy to put together I find myself going back to it time and again. It is also incredibly adaptable to growing figures, being a very non-confining style, especially if the waistband is made a few inches larger than the actual waist measure. I also used the same pattern for their petti chemises, except with drawstrings at the neckline and waist rather than binding or piping. I hope to get these posted up on my pattern blog soon, in case any of you all would like make little gowns like these yourselves!

The Blue Gown ~
Made of a blue and white cotton print, with a piped neckline, piped 1" waistband and "waved braid" trim. The trim is an off white vintage ric rac I got a-thrifting. It is sewed to the gown so that only half of it peeks to the outside. The skirt has three 1" tucks and a 1.5" wide hem. I think this one is my favorite. I intend it to be Malachi's "Saturday Dress". The Sheer Checked Gown ~
Same style as above, only with the neckline bound in bias binding rather than piped. The material, being so thin and light, did not apply itself very well to piping. I managed to get it on the waistband, which, being straight, was fairly simple but it did not go around the neckline curve well at all.

No trim, just the basic dress. This is Malachi's "Very Hot Weather Dress" and otherwise his "Best Dress" since the material is so light.

The Semi-Sheer Striped Gown ~

Same style as the blue gown, but the skirt is plain like the checked gown. No trim, but the sleeves are drawn up at the top of the shoulder for a petal effect. Will probably be Malachi's "Packing In and Packing Up" dress that he will wear on Friday afternoons/evenings and change into after church services and lunch on Sundays.
With these out of the way the fun accessory making begins. A wee sunbonnet and some pinafores are first on the list and for cooler evenings and mornings a light wool sack coat and hood.
And if I have time tonight I'll get Judah's gowns cut out. I decided to keep him in skirts for one more year since he will not be two until September. It will be fun sewing totally different styles for each boy. Malachi in long skirts, Judah in short skirts and David in short pants! Hopefully this year folks will know at least one child is not a girl!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Petticoat Skirt For a Birthday Girl

David is leaving for Galena tomorrow. In all our life together he has left me to go alone to a reenactment just once, when I was very pregnant with our little David. Quilts are draped about the living room, uniform coats and belts and boots are heaped up into big bundles, ready to be packed. I have been cookie baking and fudge making for him. If I cannot be there in person, at least he will have this and will not Starve.

The reason I am not going? My baby sister is having her birthday party this weekend and I wouldn't miss it for anything! I can't believe how much of a young lady she is now. I looked at my little Malachi today and told him I clearly remembered when his Auntie was his very age. Will the future years go by just as quickly as these last ones have passed? Will Malachi be eleven years old before I blink my eyes, as it seems my little sister has?
This week has been spent sewing for the sweet birthday girl. My mother gave me the suggestion of curtains for her bedroom so after planning the style with the help of my mother I made these little valances. They are very simple and the trim is a single row of zig zagged on blue-green satin ribbon. I hung a finished curtain on one of our porch windows to see how they look. I hope she likes them!
Today I made her a green skirt that is based on this tutorial. I liked the overall look of the skirt but did not follow the original instructions on how to make it. I did not make the top tier a trapezoid shape. The top tier is made of two rectangles 18" x 26" (to give a hem circumference of 50") and the two bottom tiers are each appx. 100" and 200" around the bottom of each. I tacked on a little pink ribbon bow at the bottom of the skirt and used the same pink ribbon to make a tag for the back, so she knows which way is forward! I like the pink and green together. It makes me think of watermelon. :)

I had just enough of the skirt fabric left to make a decent size bag. I still need to make and attach the strap, but that is an easy project for tomorrow. The outside has 3 pockets made of the same green fabric on the outside and lined with pink on the inside. The inside has two pockets made of leftover curtain fabric and trimmed with green ric rac and turquoise bias tape.

Now once a yummy mocha chocolate cake is baked and frosted, we will be all set for a birthday party!

Hopefully I won't miss David too much, but I have my doubts. :) I'll be glad when he is home again. We have not had very many overnight separations since we were married and it will be strange to have such an empty bed at night. I'm glad I have my wee babe to help fill the space.
Lovely weekend to all!


Monday, April 13, 2009

An Easter Dress in a Rush

Easter frocks are such sentimental things, at least to me. When I was little I would get a new dress each Easter. When I was very small I loved lacey, frilly, poufy dresses. Beads, ruffles, and delicate colors such as pink and white were very dear to my heart. It was my dream and earthly perseverance to one day be Cinderella and the utmost goal of all was to have a dress as lovely as the one she wore to the ball. As I grew older I decided I'd rather be Laura Ingalls, Anne of Green Gables and, at last, myself - in that order. My wardrobe went through changes reflecting these changes of thought.

I haven't had a new dress, just exactly on purpose for Easter, for a few years. I decided late Friday to try to make one. I wanted to get my late 1830's dress done but that wasn't going to happen since it requires so much handwork and there was no way I could get all that accomplished in one day. Instead, I pulled out the Elegant Ladies Closet pattern, again, and went with the short sleeve drawstring dress. Please forgive my extremely. . .um. . .odd expression.
Despite it being so easy to put together I still didn't get it done until nearly 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night. The finishing stitches were put in by God's help and grace, lots of coffee with cinnamon creamer and The Ten Commandments blasting on the screen of the t.v. I used a silky purple-pink fabric. I don't know the fiber content and it was a red tag deal at Jo Anns. It has a slightly crinkly texture and the stripes on it are one sheer stripe next to one satin stripe, throughout. It was originally intended to become a tiered skirt but I thought it would be ideal for a dress like this. Although the fabric itself certainly isn't authentic, it has many of the qualities fabric used back then would have had. Airy, sheer, light. I ended up lining the entire thing because it was so stretchy it would not hold its shape after I cut it out. The bodice is flat lined with white muslin and the skirt and skirt lining (white muslin) I made up seperately and then attached them together at the waist seam. This makes the skirt nice and flowy and doesn't weigh the outer fabric down. All in all, I was happy with how it came out. (Although those short sleeves certainly don't do much to make my arms appear slimmer!) :) It was so much fun to dress up for Easter again. I didn't feel like Cinderella, but I did feel quite regency heroine-ish and very much in the mood for Little Dorrit, pt. 3, which I watched with David last night! I *need* to get this movie for myself since there are four dresses in it so far that I want to copy! Amy's dresses look more mid-late 1820's (my favorite fashion period!!!) to me and Pet's dresses look even earlier, but there are other ladies wearing what look like early 1830's styles. Although this makes the fashion kind of confusing in the film, it is very inspirational for future projects. I do hope you all had a very blessed Easter! Every year it amazes me more and more how Jesus suffered for us and died for us. This year I was especially struck by the thought of all that God the Father had to go through as Jesus hung on the cross. I think of my own sons and try to imagine them going through great pain. If I had the ability, the power, to take away their pain how hard it would be for me to turn my face away from them! How hard it must have been for God to similiarly turn away from His Son! How can we possibly deserve this Great Gift? It is something I think I will never understand until I reach heaven, but oh, how thankful I am for the salvation that is mine! How thankful I am for love that I do not deserve and for the security of knowing there is a place in heaven for me!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Big Push

First, thank you all so much for your awesome support in my last post! I am really encouraged to read about how eating better has worked so well for you, and I'm so excited as I'm already starting to see positive effects on myself and my family from this new way of eating.

It is now a few days before Easter Sunday. I had thought of writing a post about my beliefs about Easter but after thinking about I decided not to. The reason? I couldn't get to the bottom of my thoughts and I was afraid of a monstrously long post and I simply lack the time to sit down and organize my thoughts into an outline so I could get the post written.

Instead, I'm focusing this week on getting some projects done. First of all is a Civil War style ball gown for a dear lady I did some sewing for late last year. I finally have the skirt finished (except for attaching it to the bodice, but the bodice isn't made yet!) and am so glad to have all those ruffles behind me! They took so long to finish. The material is gorgeous yet heavy, so it was a bit tedious putting in all those gathering stitches! The bodice should come together quickly so it should not take long to finish up this very long works-in-progress.

Secondly is a cotton canvas overcoat for a gentleman reenacting friend. I am having so much fun with this one. It is a relief to slip back into the non-ruffly world of sewing for men. Simple seams, straight forward construction. Ah. Bliss. And rather immediate gratification as I see it come together. Pics to follow when it is complete. The deadline I gave myself is Saturday, so by then it shall be finished if not before.

I will be having more than my share of sewing for men in the coming weeks. Davids broadcloth arrived from England a few weeks ago and last week the custom pattern for his frock came in the mail. We picked up the sateen and muslin for the lining and put in an order for silk buttonhole twist. I have 2 complete uniforms to make him, which he has requested be finished before the end of June. Actually, one must be finished before the middle of this month, when he plans on wearing it to the first event of the year. I am not sure if I will have it done by then, though.

He got his Hardee hat for his dress uniform (a very long coveted item) this past week. He immediately had me sew on the feathers and insignia. A half hour of work and he was very satisfied. The hat is from the wonderful Tim Bender. For our first Christmas together I got David a civilian hat from Mr. Bender and we were very pleased with his work. The Hardee hat is just as wonderful!

Then much sewing for three little men must be accomplished. David and Judah are going into trousers this season and wee Malachi (who is not so wee anymore) will be the only one in gowns. I can't wait to start their things.

First though, must finish the overcoat and set up an appointment for a bodice fitting. . .