The culture of sewing

I finished the long purple tie. Then I made the lower front bands, picking up stitches to make a band for the very first time. I had to redo the first attempt but they both look pretty good now. Now the back, both fronts, the sleeves and the ties are knitted, plus the lower front bands. Could be I will actually wear this cardigan this autumn. I haven't posted a picture because it just looks like a mass of purple wool.

Last night I went back to sewing Vogue 8379, or more accurately cutting out the paper pattern pieces for Vogue 8379. Ha ha ha. Sewing pattern alterations. I think this is going to be up there with finishing my masters thesis and giving birth. I found this tutorial on lengthening bodice fronts after I did the logical step and ended up with wrong sized pieces. Very conveniently the tutorial is based on the same pattern that I am using. I still have markings to transfer and more alterations to make, but at least two are done. I'm still undecided on whether to cut a size 18 or 20 in the shoulder. A 20 is more straightforward and still a size down from the frumpy huge dress I made last year, but the 18 poses some logistical issues of something called grading which is currently a skill set (or 9) above mine. Other sources again suggest I should consider a 16 but that is just too hard this time. But then now I see that the alteration in the picture increases the waist anyway... my head is doing this all the time.

This building was once a community hall.

In 1953 a huge dance was held there to celebrate the coronation of Elizabeth II. My Dad's cousin Mary K remembers tucking her young son up in bed at his grandparents across the road and going to this dance with her husband. Now there are no signs of it being used, though someone mows the lawns around it. It was disbanded as a community resource and put up for sale about five years ago. In the same area as this hall, and stretching along to where we live, there is an infrastructure fund which was set up as part of the government economic adjustment package for the West Coast after the ban on native forestry felling and milling. We all have the opportunity to vote and comment on a request by the local Playcentre for $50 000 to rebuild their centre which was destroyed by flooding recently. I think they were looking at rebuilding before that ruined the current building completely. I am still undecided on how to vote.

I made this for some festivities this week:

And this skirt. FH and Fionn made the toy house.

Tonight out in sewing blog world I stumbled upon a fantastic looking book. The book to draw together my once upon a time life when I read academic books nearly all day with my life now where I sometimes sew of an evening:

Here is the book description, courtesy of Book Depository:

Throughout its long history, home dressmaking has been a formative experience in the lives of millions of women. In an age of relative affluence and mass production, it is easy to forget that just over a generation ago, young girls from middle- and working-class backgrounds were routinely taught to sew as a practical necessity. However, not only have the skills involved in home dressmaking been overlooked and marginalized due to their association with women and the home, but the impact home dressmaking had on women's lives and broader socioeconomic structures also has been largely ignored. This book is the first serious account of the significance of home dressmaking as a form of European and American material culture. Exploring themes from the last two hundred years to the present, including gender, technology, consumption and visual representation, contributors show how home dressmakers negotiated and experienced developments to meet a wide variety of needs and aspirations. Not merely passive consumers, home dressmakers have been active producers within family economies. They have been individuals with complex agendas expressed through their roles as wives, mothers and workers in their own right and shaped by ideologies of femininity and class. This book represents a vital contribution to women's studies, the history of fashion and dress, design history, material culture, sociology and anthropology.

My Mum was going to give me money for shoes for my birthday, but really, I have gumboots, I have the soles of my feet, I even already own some work-friendly other boots without thick cleat soles. What do I need shoes for when there is the possibility of reading this book?

Six days without a drink.


Megan said…
I vote for the book!!
applepip said…
Happy Birthday B!! Gorgeous picture positively clutching that lovely made-with-love house. You are making me want to sew too. . .

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