Thursday, March 27, 2014

The five-eighths inch seam

Even though I have a lovely Bernina "sewing computer," and I can't imagine not having a sewing machine (whatever) in my possession, I haven't really sewed in quite a while. I've pieced quilts and done some repair work, but when a plea comes in from granddaughter Emily to make her American Girl doll some more clothes… well, Grandmother can't resist.

I grew up sewing. It started by hand, crudely cut squares being fashioned into something for the doll. Eventually, my sister and I graduated to using patterns, but still fashioned with needle and thread. Not until high school did I get the experience of a sewing machine (really a machine) and one of my first big Christmas presents would have been a Kenmore. I kept it for nearly twenty years before graduating to Bernina.

Once in possession of the Kenmore and a few lessons from the Home Ec classes, I sewed for myself. I had a very large wardrobe at a fraction of the price of "store bought." I continued this through early married, but eventually the price of casual clothes came down and with careful shopping I could be in bought clothing cheaper than the pattern, the price of the fabric, and the time and labor to produce the garment.

So I haven't sewed. But given the plea from the grandest granddaughter, I found myself at the pattern book and the fabric counter. I took 90 minutes to make the doll's dress! What? The seams were quarter inch (like piecing a quilt so I had a special machine foot) and the thing was so small, my arthritic fingers and I had to learn a new dance. Then I dove into my scrap box and made a few other items.

I received a lovely video thank you from Emily. Then I got the hint that she'd like a matching dress for herself for her birthday. Well, needless to say, that can't be resisted!

It wasn't difficult to find a similar pattern, but I was very fortunate to get the fabric, as it was almost gone. I can't do anything simply. It was a border print and the border becomes the bodice and the sleeves have to match at the side seams, just like the doll's.

The pattern instructions are different also than I remember and half the pattern is in Spanish. I almost redesigned the sleeves last night when I had difficulty getting them to work out. But I get to have my old friend the 5/8-inch seam back. I was really surprised. I thought maybe it had degraded to 3/8.

I'll post a photo of the finished product. At the moment, it's still on the assembly line.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the art of garment construction. Maybe this is just the start.

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