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An Old Fashioned Sewing Party

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After suffering many years on the back-burner of hobbies, sewing is finally more than an irregular blip on the radar.  This is in part because I have this nifty new sewing room with L-shape tables but also because my friends have started coming around to sew with me.  My guests used to suffer my infamous Old-Fashioned Folding Parties in which I forced then to help fold my clean clothing while chatting.  It’s amazing I still have friends.  Thank goodness for goodness they stuck by me… because I now throw Old-Fashioned Sewing Parties instead.  They are WAY more cool.

Trimming the pattern

This particular sewing party was centered around a skirt which would transform my friend Katy into a nerd.  She and her husband planned to dress as nerds and then partake in the Halloween festivities in Columbus downtown.  She found a pattern, bought the perfect fabric, and headed for my house.  With Van Morrison and Etta James playing loudly in the background, we spent the day pinning, sewing, and giggling.  Of course, being an O.C.D. multi-tasker, I baked a deep dish apple pie, too.  We will not delve into my complete inability to accomplish one singular task at a time in this particular post.  Quite frankly, I can’t plumb those depths while making soup, baking bread, and blogging.  One can only do so much before lunch.

Katy sewing

As I watched Katy feed the fabric through the sewing machine, I couldn’t help but feel inspired to tackle the mountainous mending pile under the table and make those cloth napkin sets I want to give out as Christmas presents.  Having blamed my sewing dry spell on any number of things from weather to inconvenience, it may finally be time to explore my fifties housewife side.  Of course, feeling as though we’d stepped through a time portal into the fifties is not a new experience for either of us.  Katy, a fellow throwback, researches interesting graves she finds at the Linwood Cemetery and makes her own gnocchi.  While I can’t say that I can picture her vacuuming while in pearls, a housedress, and drenched in AquaNet — Katy shares my love for all things retro.  I can’t think of a better guest for an old-fashioned sewing party.  I mean, it’s hardly a stretch since Katy is already a fellow knitting circle member.  It was only a matter of time, right?

Katy in her homemade Halloween costume

And the almost-finished product… very nerdy, indeed.  Now, I am aching to make my own housedresses having already ordered patterns from Klassic Line Vintage Clothing.  Because, thanks to June Cleaver and the clever marketing of vintage ads picturing contented housewives doing household chores in pretty dresses with tiny waists, perfect hair, and tasteful jewelry — I am fixated on trying on that particular reality (a plaid, checked, or floral patterned one).

In truth, doing something messy, unrewarding, and unpleasant like scrubbing toilets and emptying dirty mop water, you might as well do it in a comfortable flattering cotton housedress or housecoat.  Designed with plenty of extra fabric to wipe your hands on… they dry faster than a pair of old jeans, and still manage to look somewhat neat and tidy after a full day of housework.

On second thought… I should throw an Old-Fashioned Cleaning Party and require my guests to dress in vintage housewife garb and bring their cleaning buckets.  Too much?  Too transparent that I am trying to get out of my housework by attaching “old-fashioned” and “party” to my chores in an attempt to lure my friends over to help?

  • Laura - I would love to do a June Clever inspired cleaning party!! I have the perfect material to make the dress too. All I would have to do is get my waist down that tiny.ReplyCancel

  • Simple Livin' gal - I knew you would get it, Laura!!! We SO totally should have a June Cleaver party.ReplyCancel

  • kim - Hey Lacy, I am so with you on the inability to stick to one task. Drives John nuts and I love it. Ha, like the sewing party idea. Would have loved to join you. I just got my sewing machine back last week after my bf borrowed for the last 5 years, lol. I am not much of a sewer. Would love to take a class with my daughter. I will keep my eyes open at adult ed. Both kids are dying for me to fire it up. We may make attempt to make some scented rice bags for x-mas presents. I can always say they are from the kids to excuse my scary sewing skills;). ~KimReplyCancel

  • Rosa - Ahhhh, to make your own dresses… That’s great! I wish I’d love sewing!

    Cheers,

    RosaReplyCancel

  • Andrew Odom - I’ll sew but I am not at all sure I would good as June Cleaver!ReplyCancel

  • Teesa - Western Illinois is RIPE for me learning to quilt. There is a quilting shop just blocks from my house. Alas, studying takes up too much of my time. Hopefully, I can meet a mentor next year during my internship, when I no longer will have homework.ReplyCancel

  • Karen (Forgiven and Loved) - I would SO come to your Old Fashioned Cleaning Party.

    I love to clean…..OTHER PEOPLE’S houses!

    Because then I can go home and imagine it staying clean.
    When I clean MY OWN house, it gets dirty so fast it’s frustrating and I feel it’s futile. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Julie at Elisharose - My waist is not small enough nor is my bustline big enough to pull off those darling 50’s styles. You go for it though! And post pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Kath - Cant wait to see you in the 50’s house dress!! Fun!

    My mom was over the other day so I dug out my (new) very very dusty sewing machine case. Mom was so shocked that I had such a wonderful machine buried deep in a closet never to see the light of day! We made a Strawberry Shortcake pillow case for Tessa(age 17). Only like 7 years after we bought the fabric!
    Now the girl wont admit it but she does still like the cutsie fabric on her pillow! lolReplyCancel

  • Katy Clyde - And oh what fun it was! The fun of going out with my handsome nerd husband (Oh I wish you could have seen him — might have to get him to dress up after the fact just for pictures) for a night on the downtown pales in comparison to sewing the skirt with you and feasting on homemade chicken pot pie.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I have to comment!

    Af fist, I thought, “sewing party, how do you do that?”, but as I read, I reflect that when I taught sewing classes for the PIece Goods store, it rather felt like that to me, even in that sterile, store environment. I met with a few folks, who had patterns, materials, machines, and projects in hand and we fell to it. We had an area of large tables to play with, which was great.

    I bet that if you assemble folks whom you don’t already know to do this, you can call it a “class”, and charge $$.

    BTW — I have to say those vintage fashions (I’ve sewn and worn a few) favor a bustline of some consideration. You need to know how to alter things for yourself if you don’t fit the figure they had in mind — and — when altering, it greatly helps to have a friend to help fit and pin! Good fodder for an “alterations” class, more an advanced level thing… Anyway, I digress…

    AND — one more remark, the “nerd” costume may find itself being worn as “clothes”. There is something awfully warm and comfortable about pleated wool skirts. I have two such pendleton skirts (from the 1950s) that I wear almost all winter long. With wool tights, and warm toppings, I fear no chill in this farmhouse!

    My current, unstarted, vintage pattern to do is an 1860s dress (button front, placket style), long-sleeved, with a collar, in a lovely black/grey/red plaid flannel. I have a plan to make it normally mid-calf length., for a more modern appearance, but easily alterable to full length for special occasions.

    Naturally, I’ll want flannel pantalettes, to go under, to keep my legs warm, and a flannel petticoat. I do have a period chemise to go with the ensemble, so I’m part-way there!

    Nice fun with the sewing party, Lacy!

    BeckyReplyCancel

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