header('Cache-Control: max-age=259200'); The Dress – Kristen Koster
May 292008

Colonial dress for 5th grade speechThis is the infamous “dress” that has been keeping me busy and not writing lately. I started laying out the fabric and pinning the pattern to it on last Saturday morning and finished hemming the skirt on Monday afternoon. You can’t see the slip I also made to help poof the skirt out for her — Just a wide band of elastic with a length of material 4 times her waist gathered onto it that barely comes to her knees.

The shawl and mobcap were made earlier last week and the shawl was seen modeled around town quite a bit. It apparently goes well with her orange paisley summer dress too. Imagine that. Only about 2 centuries to straddle there.

The 5th Grade at DD’s school studies Colonial America and they’re required to do a speech based on a real person from the time period. They have an array of personalities for the kids to choose from and she really wanted the tavernkeeper, but got the milliner instead. The woman was a widow, so we needed dark colors and nothing at the thrift shop looked appropriate for what we wanted to do. I found a pattern in the Simplicity costume catalog and figured, I can do that. I was a little nervous about the sleeves since I’ve never done that type before where it’s set into the shoulder (Sun dresses for little girls don’t have sleeves like that!)

She loves it and it was quite a hit at school yesterday when she gave her speech. It’s a good thing the only award I was looking for was to make her happy. I need to find my seam ripper or go buy a new one to make one of the fixes. I’m not doing it again with a straight pin. Nosireebob.

Lessons learned:

  1. If things are going together too easily, stop, check what you’re doing, there is a big problem.
  2. Sleeves aren’t bad, but you should put them on the correct sides.
  3. Check your hems before you sew it, this one could have been slightly higher still.
  4. I still hate putting in zippers and 22″ zippers are even worse.

Anyway, I’m not sure why she’s got it twisted around her middle a bit in this photo, but that is how she went to school yesterday.

  3 Responses to “The Dress”

Comments (3)
  1. lol–imagine if you’d made one of those farthingale style things that stuck out on both sides, or had to do a bustle. 🙂

  2. The pattern had an option for a drape(the blue one on the lower left) on this dress, but we (read I) decided a milliner wouldn’t wear something that fancy, even if she was trying to show off her skills so we settled on doing the blue and yellow one above it in a nice subdued color/print.

    I think the scariest thing is to realize how much work and effort went into basic home skills like sewing and cooking and how much we rely on technology today. I also have a Singer treadle machine that’s been converted to a motor that’s dated around 1908 (It’s amazing for denim!) but to think of doing all that by hand absolutely floors me. Between that and making empanadas from scratch, I have a much greater respect for those that had to do it that way and those who choose to.

  3. I seriously hated the colonial thing in elementary school. My kid loved it. I got lucky and found a buncha stuff at Goodwill and didn’t have to do anything except tighten a waistband. YOU are over the top cool to make that regardless of the sleeve issue.

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