Monday, May 19, 2008

Confessions of Someone who Thought She Could Sew

This is me 14 years, 5 months and 2 days ago. It's my favorite picture from our wedding. I remember thinking when it was taken, "I'm going to think about how much I love Trent and how excited I am to be marrying him." In all the other pictures I think I'm thinking "I really hate my wedding dress."

Yes, I made my wedding dress. I had grand dreams of making my dress and impressing all that saw it. UGH! I was so dumb. I thought I knew so much about sewing and I now know how little I knew. Make a muslin? What's that? Why would I do that? Patterns are drafted for a B cup. Really? Full bust adjustment. Huh? Interlining? I wanted to do it all by myself, so I could say, "I made it all by myself" and now years later I look at the pictures and I think "It looks like you made it all by yourself."

Things did not go smoothly from the beginning. When I first went out to try on dresses to get an idea of what looked good on me, every shop I went into demanded to know my dress budget. I had very little money to spend on a dress, but didn't want to tell them that. Besides I was only trying on these dresses to get ideas of what looked good. I wasn't going to buy one of them. The ladies in the shops would only bring out the less expensive dresses and steer me away from the kinds I had seen in the bridal magazines. Finally I went to the last place I thought would indulge me. It was a small, very expensive bridal boutique close to where I worked. I should have went there first as they treated me wonderfully and let me try on whatever I wanted.

My wedding dress is based on one I had seen a picture of in a bridal magazine. I still have the picture somewhere. The original dress had long sleeves, but they looked wrong on me-even though our wedding was in the winter. I bought a pattern that was similar in design and proceeded to change it to look like the dress I wanted. The pattern I found had a deep V back. I didn't want a bare back, so I just filled that in part of the pattern in with tissue paper. I didn't even think that I might need to make a practice bodice to see if that would work. Of course it didn't have the ease I needed and the result is pictured below:
The neckline doesn't lay flat like it's supposed too. Well it did if we didn't zip up the dress past the point where the zipper originally was supposed to go. I was constantly pulling at that neckline the whole wedding. Sigh . . . I hate those sleeves. I wish I had made them them long like they were originally. Either that or made them much shorter. Actually I wish I had made an empire waist bodice-more like a Jane Austin type dress. Of course I never even thought of that, but now I wish I had. Also, wish I hadn't used that shiny $2.00/yard satin. I wanted a beaded bodice, but couldn't afford the $70.00/yard beaded lace at G street so I bought the $1.88/yard lace from JoAnn's and sewed on the beads myself. The problem was I couldn't get a nice look because the lace kept shifting and bunching so I applied wonder under to the lace and then ironed it onto the satin and then sewed on the beads. It worked.

When I lined the dress, you could still see through the material and it didn't have much body, so I used two or three layers of $1.99/yard polyester lining. The only problem with that was I couldn't get the bodice lining to lie flat, so I never sewed the bottom down on the inside. I would have to lift up my skirt and pull the bodice lining down to get it to lie smooth.

We won't even talk about that big bow on my bum. Just pretend you never saw it.

All in all the dress materials cost me a little over $100.00. I made two of the three bridesmaid dresses. They're not much better. They were long straight dresses with really big poofy sleeves made out of a Navy Blue iridescent taffeta. The material for all three only cost $90.00. I also made the flower girl and ring bearers outfits. I would scan those pictures in, but the outfits were so dark you can't really see them. I like how the flower girl's dress turned out the most, even though I made it out of $1.99/yard broadcloth. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, I didn't have any money and I was paying for most of the wedding myself. I felt bad about asking anyone in the wedding to pay for anything. I always felt I should do that.

Thanks for letting me share this sorry moment in my sewing career. I have learned a lot since then and although I still have a lot to learn, I feel like I could do a much better job if I could do it all over this time. Maybe one of my daughters will trust me to make their dress when they get married. I better hide my dress and these pictures or they'll never give me a chance!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Claire is three!!!

Yesterday was Claire's birthday. She wanted pink cupcakes with pink frosting. I forgot to make the cupcakes pink, but remembered to make the frosting pink! It was my first attempt at a buttercream frosting where you cook the egg whites and sugar together before adding butter. I really liked the frosting. The kids did not. I liked it because it wasn't so sweet. They didn't like it because it wasn't sweet enough. Now to find a frosting that is somewhere in the middle!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Apple Pie revisited

You know how they say things often look better in the morning? Well the pies did. The above picture doesn't do the pie justice. In fact it doesn't look much better than the picture I took the night before, but believe me, the morning after I baked the pies, everything settled down and the pies looked very yummy. I delivered them to the school and the next day, one of the volunteer moms said, "You made those pies?" (with wide, unbelieving eyes) and I said "Yes. Did they taste okay?" and she shook her head up and down vigorously and said, "Yes!" I feel better now.
Just a little something I'm working on. It's much prettier than the apple pie. A lot more work. I will write an epic about this let me tell you. Is it fairworthy? Definitely. Will it win the BIG ribbon? I'm hoping, but only the judges can say for sure. Three months till entries are due and counting.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Baby bumbo

Kate is big enough to sit in her Bumbo seat now! A dear friend of mine bought this for me and I was excited to try it out! Kate can only last a couple of minutes since she's still fairly young, but I think in the next couple of weeks, she'll really start to like it. It's very nice and portable. I used it the other day so she could be with me while I switched the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I wish they had these when my others were her age. They were so much happier once they could sit up on their own. This would have helped! We used the Boppy, but it didn't work as well.
It is teacher appreciation week this week and the PTA provides lunch for the teachers/staff every day except Friday when it's just desserts. Tomorrow is all American day and I made a Jello salad and two apple pies, one of which is pictured above. I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I have tried a few of Ree's recipes and they've all turned out really well. This one I'm not so sure. I used the pie crust from her site as well and I'm having doubts about it too. I want to cut a slice out of this pie just to try it. If I drop the pies off when no one is in the teacher's lounge, they'll just think another teacher couldn't wait and had a piece of pie, right?

Each year I donate food for everyday and this year is no exception, even with the baby. The problem is I'm worried that the things I make are not going over well at all. I make the food, it looks okay, but there is always lots left over. I know the pie above doesn't look great-it dripped every where! I'm not the best baker, I'll admit, but I thought this would be easy and yummy. If I could just try a sliver-just a sliver would probably be okay, don't you think? :) I was hoping this would be good practice should I want to try my hand at a pie for the fair. I need a LOT more practice.