Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ghost Dress

The 1940s Cocktail Dress is nearly finished--I'm just letting the hem hang overnight before I stitch it. Then, tomorrow night, it's going dancing for the first time!

While I was readying the zipper for stitching, I hung the dress from an unused curtain rod:

What I hadn't realized was that the window is right by a vent--so when the heat kicked on--Ghost Dress!
Once I exorcised the spirit of the dress (aka moved it away from the heating vent), I sewed in the zipper. I do this by hand--let's play a fun game and guess why this is. Is it because a) I'm terrible at zippers and have a bit more control by hand than sewing machine; b) my cranky old sewing machine threatens a coup if I suggest a zipper and, in fact, is not even in possession of a zipper foot or c) both of the above?

If you guessed c) both of the above, you are correct! But there's one more reason. Though I love the ease of a sewing machine, I also love the feeling of sewing by hand. I don't sew everything by hand even when it would be historically authentic to (well, sometimes I do, but we can discuss my neuroses another time), and it's more correct for a 40s dress to use a machine. Still, I like doing some finish work--a hem here, some topstitching, a zipper--by hand. I like maneuvering the needle through layers of fabric, getting to know my fabric by touch and seeing the glint of the silver needle's eye as it slips through. I like the taut control when the thread pulls through all the way, and the crisp sound it makes as it moves through the fabric. I like seeing just how small I can make my stitches (pretty darn small, if I say so myself).

And even though sewing by hand leaves raw spots and dents on my fingers, not to mention the occasional needle-prick, it's worth it. Perhaps even beneficial--when I sit at work next week, maybe a little bored, maybe a little frustrated, I can look at the callouses I've worn into my fingers and know that I made something pretty.

Can't wait to share pictures of the dress in action!


Connie said...

The dress looks gorgeous!

Carrie C said...

Wow, that looks great! I agree, sewing by hand can be pretty satisfying, although your sewing chops leave me in the dust. Someday I'd love to learn to sew like you do - maybe when I retire :)

Isis said...

And I can't wait to see it in action!

Rowenna said...

Thanks, ladies!