Thursday, July 24, 2008

striped ice cream dress

When I was a little girl. I read this book called Striped Ice Cream. It was about a little girl who lived in (I think) New York with her mom and sisters and brother. For her birthday all she wanted was a new dress. But her family was poor and there was no way as the middle child would she ever get a brand new dress. So instead, she asked her mom if she could have her all time favorite striped ice cream for her birthday instead of a cake. Wow were they poor because even that request drew apprehension from her hard working mom (dad bailed out on them years ago if memory of this book serves correctly). So the little girl had to settle for being excused from chores for the day.

You know, writing up this little book report makes me think that the story sounds kind of depressing. But it actually wasn't. I mean, they were poor and they struggled and they were always wanting. But I have fond memories of that book. The little girl (I wish I could remember her name) and her siblings made the best of their situation. They had lots of innocent summertime fun. They looked for ways to earn a little extra money so they could buy popsicles from the ice cream truck, or pay for a Sunday matinee. The illustrations were great too if memory serves correctly. Kind of like a little novel for young-young adults with a few illustrations thrown in a la Roald Dahl's books.

I don't want to give anything away in terms of the book, but the little girl does indeed get a new dress (her mom and older sisters sneak in the sewing while she's asleep or out playing) AND she gets striped ice cream for her birthday. And the bonus? Her dress is striped pink and cream and brown just like STRIPED ICE CREAM. Sorry about the caps. That's in the book too.

I've been working on this dress for a few weeks now. Sneaking in a little sewing in between work and dinner and chores. It's been a bit of an obsession. It's my first time following a pattern and it was hard. Pattern makers seem to leave out lots of details. And their illustrations aren't terribly illustrating. But the challenge I think came more from my ignorance. Sorry pattern makers, I'll cut you some slack.

The first article of clothing I ever sewed for myself (like really sewed with a sewing machine, not fiddling around with hand sewing) was a skirt that I still have. I broke all the sewing rules cause I didn't know them. Amazingly the skirt is still in one sewn piece and still wearable. The second article of clothing I ever sewed was a dress that I wore to jenn's wedding. I look back at it now and am amazed at how bad it looks. Oh the sewing mistakes. But again, no pattern, no rules, guerilla sewing if you will.

Don't get me wrong, there are mistakes aplenty in this dress. But they are more or less hidden and don't detract from the shape or drape of the dress so I'm going to live with them. I only had two yards of fabric so I used up nearly every little scrap. Boy was that a close one. I should explain that the pattern I used (Vogue 8468) was just the starting point as I ended up ripping out the neck to widen it - it was too close, I kept gagging, shortening the hem considerably, and employing unorthodox methods for sewing up the openings. I added the peter pan collar based on a tutorial I found online. All in all, I'm pooped and my dress looks little like the one the pattern intended.

I intend to wear this dress to a wedding in Pennsylvania next weekend. Most likely I will not be eating striped ice cream with it.

1 comment:

jean beaumont said...

Nothing to add, everything is told!