So, I invited my Mother to come to stay. Turns out we hadn't actually seen each other for at least 1.5 years! Yes, indeedy life had been busy. Now, normally our 'thing' is she comes down, I take her shopping and choose some clothes for her that she'd never choose for herself, she looks sceptically at me after seeing what I've chosen (by now she trusts me and will try them on), she loves them, I buy them for her. The rest of the time, we sew, by sew I mean she helps me mend/fix, all those things that either didn't get finished or (this is the most common thing) have been in my mending pile for ever. Mum is the BEST when it comes to mending - something with a huge rip the size of Queensland will look as though it was never anything but perfect after she's done with it - I did not get her needlework skills.
Imagine my shock when she turns up with THREE dresses for me to fix! I told her I was not happy with this turn of events ;/ The dresses she's been wearing for the last ... ooh, more than five years are all completely worn out and she had no dresses, she sees these dresses on sale and loves the print - the problem? Major boobage! Oh, and they were too long as well - not such a biggie that one but how to give her some coverage with the miniscule amount of hem I was taking off and not have it look like she had one of those cami's under it? (Not a look either of us favour). I managed to fix the problem - it was a close call on one of them - I ended up having not even 6" of the old hem left, which was less than an inch deep, I told her I never wanted to see that scrap again! She was overjoyed - loved the 'new' dresses and the fact that the 'fix' was basically invisible. (Basically I just used pieces of the old hem on either side of the front neckline overlapping in a 'V' shape which turned it into sort of a sweetheart neckline - camera battery died and I forgot to charge it and take pics.)
While I was fixing these dresses she mentioned that her pj's were worn out and wondered if I could, at my leisure draft a pattern and sew it up in any type of material that I didn't want (because, you know, they're only pj's).
"Ok Mum, how about this dusty pink knit?"
"Oh, you're going to do it while I'm here?"
"Shouldn't take long. You can sleep in them tonight."
A few hours later - she's got a new pair of pj's to wear to bed.
So then I spied some fabric I'd had in my stash for years, a very thin synthetic knit with delicate branches on it. It's nice but too delicate for me.
"What do you think of that fabric?"
"Want me to make a dress for you from it?"
After pulling it out she determined that it would make a lovely light dress for her. I used one of the dresses I'd just fixed to make the basis for a pattern (with a better neckline). Unfortunately, the fabric was so thin it was a nightmare to sew with a regular machine for the double stitching on the sleeves, armscyes and hem. I think I ended up overlocking them first to give the edges some ooomph before I double needled on them. Actually, I remember now that I used black seams great on the lower part of the armscye before turning it under and double needle stitching. It was going to be a sleeveless dress - Mum feels the heat and can't stand sleeves unless it's Winter - but I thought it would be better with these cap sleeves to widen the shoulders a bit, she agreed, so they were an afterthought. There's basically a back piece, a bodice and a front skirt (and sleeves of course). Under the bodice I put some elastic to pull it in and make a soft gather over her tum. I was undecided on how to finish the neckline - I've only done a knit binding on one garment before and it wasn't stellar. I showed her the said garment. She thought it was fine, even though you could see the progression from the armholes to neck I definately got better at it - she said she'd be fine with the standard of any of those. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure how to finish off the binding and put most of it on before realising I hadn't figured out the crucial part - in the end I did a bit of a guestimate there at the centre front which is a little off centre (kind of hard when it's all nearly sewn on - lesson for next time). She was thrilled with the final result.
In the pics it looks as if the centre front seam is off but it's just that she quickly threw it on for the pic and didn't adjust it. As the initial draft (and cut) was for a sleeveless dress, the shoulder seams aren't quite wide enough, ah well, live and learn.
So, she went home with 3 dresses I'd fixed for her, a new pair of pj's and a dress I'd made for her plus assorted tops and dresses I'd bought for her. She was really happy to finally have some dresses in her wardrobe again.