Here are two of the reasons I have been a bit 'blog quiet' of late! The first is my sister, looking very glamorous here, as we prepare to see 'Miss Saigon' on Tuesday night. The second is the dress the Baby Angel is wearing. Yes, I have been sewing!!
I spent four days on that b***** dress! It turned out to be a LOT fiddlier than I realised when she chose the pattern AND we ended up taking it apart and virtually starting again at one point.
The 'babydoll' dress is all the rage here and I 'd promised to make her one as some of the rubbish they sell in the shops look as if they were made of dishcloths but are priced like silk. She liked the idea of having a dress which was an 'original' and we picked this lovely lawn fabric in a colour which really suits her. I deliberately steered her towards a pattern with thicker shoulder straps (see the image on the left), befitting her tender years and we also decided to line the skirt as the fabric was quite fine and a bit see through.
On the first day I realised there were a number of fiddly bits to contend with
* pleating everywhere, shoulder straps, front
and back of skirt
* gathers under the bust
* shoulder straps which were not cut
attached to the bodice but which had to be
fed over the bodice inside out, sewn at the
front, turned the right way, turn the back
bodice inside out, attach to strap, turn the
bodice the right way again *pant pant*
* lining (my own fault)
Nevertheless, Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and all the special features later and the dress was assembled.
The next day, BA tried it on and a very 'lukewarm' expression greeted her reflection in the mirror. Was it too plain? Too big? Too long? She wasn't sure. "I just don't think it's me mum," she apologised. I was aghast! "But YOU picked the pattern and the fabric...this has been a bugger to make...what do you MEAN you don't like it??????"
She was suitably apologetic and upset for me. She swore she'd wear it anyway and tried the old 'No, it's OK Mum, I DO like it...I really do....."
Enter Himself. Ah hah, an objective eye!! We asked him what he thought and got a blank face.
Me: You don't like it. Why don't you like it????
Him: Well, I'm not sure....I think the straps are too thick.
Me: What do you MEAN too thick???...she's only 12...they're perfectly age appropriate!!!!!
Him: Well don't ask me then if you don't want my opinion.
Me : (deep breathing) No, no, we do want your opinion...but the straps are exactly as they were in the pattern (gets pattern packet and thrusts it under his nose)
Him: They maybe, but they're too thick. It's top heavy. There's too much dress and not enough girl.
Me: (wailing) but she's only 12 I don't WANT there to be too much girl.
Him: Yes, but she doesn't LOOK 12. She looks like a pretty girl in a frumpy dress.
This was not going well. I had hoped he would tell her how nice she looked in the hope that this would convince her and ensure that she actually WORE the thing. After I'd examined the girl in dress a little bit more, I had to admit that there was something 'clunky' about the straps. Added to this, although the BA needed the width across her back, the front of the bodice was too loose and didn't sit well.
I had to face it. I would need to redo the top of the dress. In the process we drew a new line for the shoulder straps under Himself's designer eye. It took a whole day to unpick the bodice from the skirt, unpick the shoulder straps, reset pleats on a narrower bustline, recut the straps, reattach the straps.......you get the picture. We were determined that she would wear the dress to Miss Saigon but I still had the hem to do as we headed to the Bestie's place for a light pre-theatre supper.
As you can see however, it all turned out in the end and I think she looks gorgeous in it. She has new bright blue sandals to match (thank you Auntie!!) and a blue handbag as well. Note in the picture that she is taller than my sister and sister is wearing platform shoes!!! We have to acknowledge that she is half a head taller than both of us now.
Here's another one of the BA and Grandma, I think its particularly lovely. You can see how thick the straps are here...and that was AFTER I'd cut them down. Himself is not a designer for nothing! He was right as usual.
Miss Saigon was not so much an emotional roller coaster as an emotional Drop of Death. Set during the Vietnam War, it started off with the 17 year old heroine being picked up off the street to work as a prostitute and never got any more cheerful than that! It was stunningly staged and the performances were excellent but it left us all exhausted and a bit shell shocked really.
The Bestie used up at least two tissues and most of the ladies in the party had to resort to face mopping at some point during the proceedings. The songs are not particularly memorable except for The American Dream, sung by the pimp who is known cleverly as The Engineer. The famous scene with the helicopter which prevented the show from touring to smaller theatres in the past, was effective and devastating as the GIs leave and the desperate Vietnamese nationals try to climb the fence of the Embassy waving their immigration papers helplessly at the sky. Gut wrenching.
As a footnote to my sewing escapades, I developed a muscle spasm in my lower back, probably from sitting hunched over the machine for so long! I have had to have some physio on it as I could barely move Wednesday morning but it's definitely on the improve as our ice skating and 10 pin bowling excursion today proved! (pix in a later post)
So now to catch up on a bit of blog reading in between swimming, beaching and dinners with my sister and brother-in-law. Good times!!!!!!