Contestant #2 – Patterns of Time # PI464: Regency bib-front gown 1800-1812.
I haven’t made a garment completely by hand since my first attempt at sewing when I was 9. I saw a photograph of a summer top in one of my mother’s fashion magazines. I like it and it looked pretty straightforward (daughter of an engineer, you know) so I “borrowed” some red and white broad-striped fabric from mom’s small pile of leftovers, cut out the pieces, sewed them together by hand. and it actually fit. Well, more or less. But I could get it on and get it off and wear it in public.
The first time mom saw it she asked the obvious – “Where did you get that?”
I showed her the magazine and explained how I got from picture to finished garment.
“Let me see it.”
I took it off and handed it to her. She had a funny look on her face – I thought I was in big trouble. She turned it inside out, examined the seams and construction, looked at the magazine picture, looked at me and said, “I guess it’s time you learned how to use the sewing machine.”
And the next day I found myself perched in front of the temperamental beast that was her solid metal White sewing machine. It jiggled when it ran and sounded as if a train was bearing down on you. But I loved the patterns – just like jigsaw puzzles! – and the freedom of making whatever you wanted to wear. And I’ve made clothing, for myself and others, ever since. But all by machine.
So this desire to hand-sew an entire garment has a slight tang of good memories for me. And I’d like to retain the happiness associated with that first experience. Which is why I chose the second pattern: less fiddly, better lines, easier to fit (fingers crossed), and reasonable to execute. In addition, after all that ranting and raving about “the little white dress” banality of the herd, I’ve decided that’s exactly what I’m going to make. The classic fabric, the classic pattern, a classic dress.
So much for rebellion.
It was the fabric that jogged my thinking. I took one look and thought “that’s it!” A white woven stripe that is just sheer enough without being transparent (more about that in a later post). Here it is: