Monday, May 19, 2008

Sewing for others


Sewing for others presents challenges unique from those of sewing for oneself.
Especially when sewing for ones children (or stepchildren), and especially if they are teens or college age.
The ability to articulate style elements, to communicate preferences, are not well developed in many people who don't sew. That inability gets exaggerated when those trying to convey an idea are your offspring.

I have committed to making the dresses for my two stepdaughters, who're scheduled to stand up in my brother-in-law's wedding at the end of August.
They get to choose their own style, and fabric. They need not wear the same style dress (phew!). The Only stipulations the bride (my future SIL) put on them was that a. they be the same color, and b. they do not choose a pastel.
Easy enough.
Of course, the girls have chosen styles that require different drape characteristics, therefore, we can't use the SAME fabric. We need Same color, Different fabric.
I was thrilled to find a source that has many different fabrications in the same colorways. NY Fashion Center fabrics.
(totally off point, but they have foldover elastic in something like 90 colors)

I ended up spending $30 on fabric swatches. They ended up choosing Sapphire Blue, color 229.
( note that the color on the monitor and the color of the actual fabric swatch are quite different.)

I had Katie home last week for 3 days. We measured, and poured over designs and discussed endlessly what Exactly she wants this dress to look like.
I told her I need pictures. We have a collage of pictures (see above), but None of them are Exactly what she wants.
The real problem:
She's seen "exactly" what she wants. In a magazine. When she was in high school. Four years ago.
but she doesn't remember Exactly what it looks like, just that it was "perfect".

I've got one muslin mostly done, and I'm doing another one this afternoon. She gets back here tonight, then has to leave again Wednesday AM. So I've got to get this down, and right, tomorrow.
She's going to Ecuador for a summer foreign study program, and I won't have her for fitting again til the day before the wedding. And then we'll all be in a hotel in northern IL.

Wish me luck.

Lauren is here for the summer. I'll tackle Lauren's dress in July!

25 comments:

Lindsay T said...

I hear ya on this one! Sewing for my 16-yr-old DD is an exasperating experience because she is similar to your Katie in how she articulates what she wants. And fitting garments on her! She is very ticklish so she keeps slapping my hands away as I try adjust the fit on her. Makes for a very frustrating fitting session.

Shannon said...

Well, this seals it - you are officially insane. Sewing a dress based on a memory, for someone else, without periodic fittings and this person is a related to you?!?! Are you nuts? If you pull this off, without anyone being murdered, I will become president of your fan club! I look forward to hearing about this saga... :)

KayB said...

Good Luck Marji - you probably need it! Having had to sew for my DD (as well as for young lady clients), I know exactly what you're going through - and that twice! But then again, all might go smoothly without any hick-ups!

Elaray said...

She's seen "exactly" what she wants. In a magazine. When she was in high school. Four years ago.
but she doesn't remember Exactly what it looks like, just that it was "perfect".


LOL! I love that!

My biggest problem was getting my daughter to stop long enough for a fitting. You certainly put things in perspective for me! LOL All I can say is "GOOD LUCK!"

Lisette M said...

I am in the middle of making a dress for the bride (my future SIL). Thank goodness it is not a full length gown but this is the first time I've sewn for someone else. She'll be here for the last fitting (first on the actual fabric). I did most of the fitting long distance(through photographs).Lots of luck!

jae said...

Are you bored? Regular sewing just isn't exciting enough anymore? Not enough difficulty in the patterns? I ask because I am with Shannon. You have officially gone crazy. :) Good luck!

Mardel said...

I'll echo the crazy part. I hope that nothing changes, fit-wise with the Equador trip.

On the other hand my mom is going to spend Thursday and part of Friday altering two bridesmaids dresses for a young woman who is a friend of my brothers because they arrive late Wednesday night for a two-ceremony wedding extravaganza, and mom was just informed the dresses don't fit. She can't find anyone else to do it on this short notice. And if my DH wasn't completely confused about what day it is and who he has talked to, (like today)(there, I've said it) I would hop on a plane to Dallas to help her.

I can certainly see why you are looking forward to sewing for yourself.

And sign me up for the fan club too!

goodworks1 said...

Sewing for others presents challenges unique from those of sewing for oneself.
Especially when sewing for ones children (or stepchildren), and especially if they are teens or college age.
The ability to articulate style elements, to communicate preferences, are not well developed in many people who don't sew. That inability gets exaggerated when those trying to convey an idea are your offspring.

I have committed...


You sure that you won't BE committed for this? lol

Seriously though, be CAREFUL with your body/health. Keep breathing...
Elaine

Alexandra said...

Good luck, Marji - sounds like you'll need it. Sewing the perfect dress from memory is difficult enough when the memory is your own.

Vicki said...

Good luck. My eldest was the same with her last formal dress. I said to draw it (she can't draw - should have seen what she came up with!) In the end she decided to just wear something she already had - thank goodness!!

Birgitte said...

Well I have to admit I'm not surprised. From what I've seen, you are always up for a challenge. In fact I think you thrive on them :-) NY Fashion center has great fabrics- just received my second order today. And you're so right about the colors being off on the screen. Whatever design you end up with I am certain they will both love their dresses. Since you asked, I'll wish you good luck, but I don't think there's much luck involved here- just a whole lot of ability and push-through on your end :-) But because of your recent injury, just be careful and pace yourself. Allow for long breaks in that cozy corner of yours. Looking forward to following the process.

Nancy K said...

You really are a glutton for punishment! At least the girls get to pick out the dress. I am stuck making my dd a dress she will probably never wear again! Well, isn't that what bridesmaid dresses are all about? Actually, Alex has worn the dress she bought for my ds's wedding last summer at least 1/2 dozen times. But, she got to choose that one.

AllisonC said...

You are very generous with your sewing! Good luck, can't wait to see what you come up with!

Caity said...

You're a braver man than I, gungha din!

knittinbrit_in_wi said...

You are a brave woman. what a wonderful Stepmom you are. Those girls are so lucky to have you.

Carrie K said...

Poor Katie! I hate when you see the absolute perfect dress/shoes/handbag etc and can't quite find it again.

Good luck!

Paula said...

I'm doing the same for my daughter; pick your own bridesmaid's dress. She's a size 00 so choices in the stores are limited. Thank God, though, she's an actual adult and even found an exact pattern! I'll be starting a muslin right after I finish a bag for my youngest. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Brave, brave Mom/future SIL; best wishes. On occasion, I sew for my five-year old son who loves everything; he loves it even more when he gets to help with the sewing machine and hems! I feel lucky! Linda

phyllis said...

The adventure begins!

When Ladies Dressed said...

Hats off to you Marji. This is no easy task, I'm sure. I had to chuckle when your stepdaughter stated that it was perfect, even though she can't remember the details! We're here for moral support! LOL

paco peralta said...

Good luck Marji .- I am sure you can with everything. Ahhh .... with your permission, I will add his new blog coats on my list ... OK. It will be good to be able to see this whole process around the World. greetings. Paco

Cennetta said...

Good luck Marji. It is definitely a challenge to sew for young people. My DD and I disagree on almost everything fashion. I am sure you will create two beautiful dresses in the end.

a little sewing on the side said...

Marji, if anyone can do it, you can.
And I bet you will make both of those young women beautiful dresses.
I do not envy you!!!

Brigitte said...

Well Marji, I think if anyone can alter (hopefully not though...) a dress in a hotel room the day before a wedding - it's you!

:)

Sewsy said...

Marji, I was unable to post on the coat sew along site, I hope everything is ok in GA. If you're traveling by car, please drive carefully. Take care.