Sunday, February 15, 2009


Remember when I went to the Goodwill and bought the vintage sheet?

It's now a dress.

This was such a fun project for me. I haven't been much of a seamstress. I am too impatient and not perfectionist enough to be really good at it. Straight seams are great for me. So, for example, I can make curtains pretty darned well. Anything else is an iffy proposition.

But I wanted to do this dress for Z. I had to find a pattern with gathers and elastic that would be very forgiving of my mistakes. I think it worked out all right. I even made myself a skirt. A-line. Mostly straight seams. I did get brave and put in a zipper. (Some of you out there are laughing at me right now. That's ok!)

In my world this is What Mothers Do For Their Daughters. My mom made dresses for me my whole life.

1990. Two days after my sixteenth birthday. First in a line of prom gowns. You can't exactly tell how amazing it is but it is gorgeous, with watermark satin and dotted tulle, ruffly sleeves (the kind you see in Napoleon Dynamite, only truly pretty, even 19 years later) and boning in the bodice. It was a perfect fit for skinny 16-year-old me, too. Thanks to Facebook friends I have a picture. The dress is still in my closet, waiting for the perfect confluence of events where I am a size 8 and need a formal gown.

Anyway, this is what my mom did. She made sure I always had amazing gowns - even on the limited budget of an assistant professor with six kids, and even in a remote location where there was almost nowhere to shop. I am going to have to work hard and build up some serious skills if I want to get ready to do that.

If I were the dad I would sit at the piano and play Gershwin while my daughter sang. Actually I do sit at the piano and play "Bingo Was His Name-oh" while she sings. And when I stop, she says, "Mo' peese!" So maybe I am doing just What Parents Do for Their Daughters. And maybe if I practice I can get good enough to play Gershwin passably by the time she is ready to sing it.

I have awesome parents. Clearly I have a lot of work to do to live up to what they have given me, and not just in dresses and songs.

My mom, by the way, just made bathrobes for my boys. Here's K posing in his. Very debonair, yes? He just needs a pipe (bubble pipe? Can you still get those?) and a newspaper.

I can't figure out whether that's a cracker or a barrette on the floor. We may never know.

Have a great week, everybody. Make something homemade. Maybe toast. I think that's what I'll be doing.


Jackie said...

Go Anna!!! Your dress turned out perfect. I was lucky to get a crab costume for Tanner done. But reading about your memories of your mom sewing reminded me of my mother and the great dresses I too had for my school dances. Dad may not have played the piano but that man would sing his heart out on roadtrips and I still sing the silly songs with my kids. Thanks for the smile this morning I needed it!!!

Silvia said...

This chistmas I made annelise doll clothes. Why? because my mom made us tons and tons of doll clothes. She also made most of our dresses but I'm not quite there yet. You did a great job. Now you two can match!

Katie Matteson said...

That dress is VERY cute. Good job on it!

It looks like a lego to me

Rachel said...

So cute!! I wish I could make my girls dresses. I have to just stick with curtains, cause like you said, straight lines

Dana said...

That turned out SO cute! You are much braver than I. I just buy cute things but YOU can make them.


annie said...

WOW! That's awesome for a first dress!! I'm so impressed. Can we have the hand me down??!! :o) HAHHA!! I love it.

Marta said...

That dress rocks!