A ‘Labor of Love’ Skirt
Fabric: 1 1/4 yards of double knit crepe
Pattern: Complete hijack of the BurdaStyle Skirt Pattern #115A
Year: c. 2010
Notions: 1 regular zipper, my mother’s trim
Time to Complete: 3 months
First Worn: February 2010
Wear Again: You bet!
Total Price: $4 for the (remnant) fabric, everything else from stash
The first thing you may be wondering is why I titled my UFO themed skirt A Labor of Love… In order to explain I’ll have to start at the beginning of my sewing adventures a year and a half ago.
Last May my mother was on a spring-cleaning kick and was determined on cleaning out our attic of all of my (and my sisters’) childhood items. Dutifully I came back home, knowing full well that I could only take 1 box, maximum, since I have little storage in my apartment building. I found loads of notes from 5th grade to all my friends, assignment notebooks, favorite old T’s, concert tickets, etc. It was not a happy task since it was hot, I’m 100% allergic to dust, and silverfish were aplenty. *shudder*
Seizing the opportunity, my mom had me bring down an old sewing chest and that my grandfather had built for my grandmother as well as an odd box or two so that we could look through the contents together. I had just learnt how to sew 6 month’s prior so I was happy at the thought of any sewing related item, but having it be vintage and my mother’s was even better!
My grandmother was an avid sewer and crocheter and my great-grandmother was an avid knitter, tatter, crocheter. My mother had the opportunity to be taught many of these crafts by both her grandmother and mother when she was younger and I look back quite envious that I didn’t do the same. Looking through these old boxes, we found scraps of yarn, pieces of crochet, and tatted medallions from when she first learning these crafts in her youth. She had held onto these items for over 30 years and for me I felt like I had just found little bits of gold! I wasn’t holding a simple tatted item, instead I felt like I was holing a bit of my mother’s youth, my great-grandmother’s knowledge, and it was all being bequeathed to me.
Many of the crocheted and tatted pieces are one of a kind, examples where my mother was experimenting or learning a new technique, complete with mistakes. While I was going through these items, I don’t believe my mother thought that they could be put to any use besides occasionally admiring them, only to put them back in a box for safe keeping.
Fast forward to a few months ago…. I began working on BurdaStyle’s Wool Skirt #115A and it looked really bad on me (due to my poor fabric choice for drape). I decided to let it simmer for a few months while I worked on other projects and pondered how to fix it. Ultimately, I decided to remove the gathers and turn them into 2 tucks on either side of the skirt front. But it still needed something…
Envisioning appliqueing my mother’s crochet/tatted medallions onto a circle skirt, I randomly decided to look into the baggie of notions that came from that wonderful day when I went through the old boxes in my mom’s attic to see if there was anything that could be spared. It was at this moment that I found the most perfect, long tatted trim and knew just what to do with it and to complete my UFO.
My ‘labor of love’ was to hand stitch down the delicate, tatted trim (for an entire evening) that was loving made by my mother at least 40 years ago, which was no doubt, even more lovingly taught to her by my great-grandmother. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to bring life to this little trim which would have languished in a box for many years to come.
I thought what better way to do my hair than to incorporate another piece of my mom’s lovely tatting, to play off the skirt. I did a chestnut bun and delicately pinned down the conjoined tatting medallions using 3 bobby-pins as not to damage it so it remains usable for another project. (This is now one of my favorite, super easy hair-dos.)
Many times I feel like we (myself included) save our best notions, fabrics, trim for that ‘perfect project’ only for it to never come. Once in a blue moon does it get used… I still know I’m a culprit of fabric
hoarding stashing but how wonderful would it be to have a garment made with your lovelies than having it in a forever-unused state in a closet. I think it’s far more special to have a finished garment where each time you wear it becomes the constant reminder of how special the trim/fabric is to you.
If you’re interested in reading more (or seeing more pictures) about that wonderful day at my mother’s click on this link to be taken to my blog post.