Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Summer Gown for Katherine

My sweet friend Katherine and I have spent the past few months discussing different styles and fabrics for a new gown for her. At first, I was to make her a dancing dress but after thinking it over some, she thought a day dress style would be more useful for her. She wanted something very light since the heat of an Illinois summer can be oppressive, and something suitable for both wear during active impressions during the day and for dancing in the evening. We decided upon the "summer sheer" style of dress as the one most suited to her needs, and I was thrilled to begin making the gown up. In the middle of January, as it was when I began the dress, with snow and frost and ice in every direction when I looked outside, the soft, light fabric and airy style brought to mind times of warmth and liveliness and joy and great was my anticipation for the spring to come.

The fabric is an all-cotton voile, a very pale blue printed with viney motifs and darling dark blue and yellow flowers. The entire dress is unlined, except for the bodice, which has a half-high lining of white cotton. The fashion fabric is gathered gently in the center front and at the center back, and the skirt is fully gathered. The white cotton collar is simply basted in and can easily be removed for seperate laundering.
One feature that we included is the removable undersleeve. Katherine thought short sleeves would be very nice for dancing in so the long lower sleeve (a loose coat sleeve style) fastens seperately to the armscye, allowing the short ruffled sleeve to be worn alone if desired.
The dress is not quite done, as it yet needs to be hemmed (with a facing) and I need to make two petticoats to be worn beneath it, but it does not need much work at all and very soon it will be ready to be put away til the warmer weather arrives. And then, I will be so very pleased to see my dear friend wearing this gown! I think she will look beautiful in it.

Thank you all for your sweet concerns about my late absence. Our computer was in the shop due to its need of a new video card. Due to our computers age, such a video card had to be come by from "recycled parts" from other old computers. But, at last, it is installed and nicely working again.

I have much enjoyed my little break from the internet and from blogging. How sweet it is to focus solely on my children and husband and little household when I am not, at various times of the day, tempted to check the email or different sewing message boards or various blogs. The absence of such irresistible delights were a relief indeed, and I found my mind growing clearer from my abstinance and able to think more about different household topics and I have, in short, been much more industrious and cheerful since I have not anything else from the outside world to occupy my time. In fact, I have tried (though unsucessfully, but not without sympathy from him) to convince David to not have the internet in our home at all. For it is a really dreadful time-eater and its conveniences do not, in my opinion, outweigh its tendencies to sloth and idleness.

Thus, I do not plan to give up blogging completely but I do intend to make it a less frequent habit. I will try to post something once a week or so perhaps, but I have found through this change much that is an improvement to my mind and character.

Have a dear and beautiful day!




  1. Hi Sarah! Very glad to see you're back - some of us were a little concerned as we're not used to such a long silence from you. :) How wonderful to spend so much uninterrupted time with your family and home! It's like a vacation, isn't it? :)

    I will confess, though, that I hope you never plan to lose internet entirely. We'd really miss you.


  2. I, too, have missed hearing from you! I understand about the internet being a time waster, we have had that discussion here several times.
    Beautiful gown, as always. :-)

  3. The sheer dress is beautiful, Sarah!

  4. I'm not really into historical sewing, but so much can be learned from the way garments used to be constructed. For instance, the detachable sleeves and collar....absolutely brilliant. I think it would be fun to try to incorporate some of these old features into modern garments.

  5. Glad you're back! I have to admit I was getting a bit worried about you myself, but I fully understand your reasoning. I've gone to less frequency as well and it has given me a lot more time to get chores and schooling done!

    The dress is absolutely lovely!

  6. Beautiful dress, by the way! I accidentally neglected to mention it -- l love voile. And lawn. Those are my faves! This fabric is similar in color to a blue lawn I am going to make into a spring dress and boy, this dress you've made gives me big push to get started!

  7. Glad to see you're back online, and all right. Good idea to spend more time with the family, it's the right priority! I'll miss the frequent updates though... :)

  8. Amazing how addicting this world of blog-land can be. I am in process of figuring out some sort of "lockdown" for the three of us over here who enjoy it greatly.
    Glad you're doing well.

  9. Hello! Once again, stunning dress. I wish I could be inside your mind just once while you're creating such art.

    I understand your feelings about the internet -- they exactly mirror what I felt when we canceled our cable well over a year ago now. Perhaps you'll be able to strike up a healthy limit for yourself without getting rid of it entirely.

  10. Sarah~

    Glad to see you back. I am glad you were blessed by the forced break and I understand the need to continue a lesser use of internet. I think I need to as well...yet I allow my temptation to waste my time on here all too frequently.

    Beautiful dress dear!

    Even if you lessen your time here, I'd love to write you if it is something you'd desire. Let me know :-)

    Lots of love,

  11. Dear Sarah,
    Phew! The mice were both bad and good.

    Appears as though lots of us are concerned about internet and publishing as a time-eater.I find that interesting -- and good.

    I tend to post once or twice a month, and at those times usually find such joy in communicating and being part of a community. There are not so many people here who share the love for sewing and for reflection and encouragement and writing.

    Reading your posts, Sarah, and those of several other women (hello, Regan's Farm), brings me joy and sympathetic thoughts and teaches me, and has been a blessing.

    So I try to enjoy blog reading and writing moderately. Three or four days a week I do not get near the computer at all, and limit blackberry reading to an interval after the tots go to sleep.

    Then too I have jettisoned over the years habits which seem mostly about passive consumption, not sharing,and that are too often full of disturbing content: magazines, for instance, and televison (I have never bought one a dh's is usually unplugged.) Without these things, the modicum of private time left is better -- if not best -- spent. Ah, scripture reading, not something I am good at! I have found no community here that fits a mother's schedule without disturbing dh! And reading alone, I too easily become frustrated.

    Oh dear, I have written a book.

    Whatever you decide, sweet Sarah, I know you will consider carefully, and if you go, we shall have the fond memory of a talented, thoughtful, kind young woman and loving mother and wife.

    Very best indeed,
    Natalie in Kentucky

  12. Ooooh Sarah, it is *beautiful*!!! This is my favorite dress *ever*. How beautiful something like this would look with your new bonnet! :)

    I know what you mean about the internet. With Lent starting soon I am thinking what I will be giving up, and the computer is certainly on my list of ideas!

  13. It is nice to have you back! I understand it can take so much of your time to blog. beautiful dress as always!
    Faith G.

  14. Glad you back. I completely hear you on internet as a time waster. I love the dress, it's gorgeous and very summery. God Bless!

  15. Glad to see you back. The dress is lovely. Ah, the computer, it can be too much of the good stuff.

  16. The dress is so gorgeous! I love the fabric and the style. I've always wanted a dress like that. Beautiful!

    ~ Carrie ~


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!