Tangled Threads

I cannot recall exactly how it happened.  Somehow, from the recesses of my mind, one day last week there appeared the memory that there were, indeed, things called “pillow case dresses”.  My mother claims that I first heard about them from her when Cecily was an infant.  I barely remember Cecily’s infanthood due to lack of sleep, but I do have the vague feeling that that was true.  That point is actually moot and therefore is fairly unimportant to the present.  What is important to the present is that somewhere down deep in the library shelves of memories that I have maintained, the other day I thought, “ah … a dress made from a pillow case … is there such a thing?” and thanks to the wonder that is Google, I discovered that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, or something to that effect.  Now for someone like Martha Stewart this revelation would not be profound.  However, I do not sew.  At all.  I do lots of crafting, but sewing has always intimidated me.  For my August birthday this year, I actually bought a sewing machine and I gave it the go ahead.  No luck.  It laughed at me.  Actually, the lady who was teaching me about my sewing machine also laughed at me and recommended I take a 101 sewing course.  (I would like to do that but haven’t found the time as of yet.)  So, you see, we now have two vital pieces of information:  1) I am entranced by the idea of a pillow case dress for Cecily for Easter–one of those luscious ivory pillow cases with antique eyelit lace trimming, and 2) I cannot sew a stitch.  Thankfully, I remembered that I had a children’s “learn to sew by hand” type book that I had bought the year before (obviously God has been planning this for me for a while) and dusted it off.  So, I then ventured to the drawer where I keep my sewing basket my mother bought me when Timothy and I married–the very same sewing basket that still has all the original thread and needles neatly placed and intact from when they were first put in there by my mother.  Thankfully, I corner the market on random felt scraps, so I pull out one and that afternoon learn to sew a blanket stitch and a button.  Okay, hand-sewing 101, A +.  So, I head off to Tuesday Morning to locate THE pillow case.  Ivory, antique lace, King size.  Perfect.  But, then I remembered the handmade Easter dresses I saw girls wearing at the church where I grew up–white/ivory, delicate ribbons, and big floppy lace collars.  Ooh.  Lace collars.  What to do?  One of the reasons I wanted to make a pillow case dress was that not only was so much of the work already done FOR you but it was also very economical.  Being January, “review the Budget for the Year” month, “economical” is a word that has been bantered about quite a lot in our household recently.  My brain started whirling.  Economical lacy floppy collar … and then I recalled an extra lace placemat that we had for our dining room table in our B.C. days (that’s “Before Cecily” for you non-Marshes).  We no longer keep our placemats on our dining room table because our table is now both Cecily’s personal stage and the display for our nature scene for each season.  Digging through our linen closet I was about to give up hope of finding that extra placemat when, voila!, there it was with price tag intact.  $6.99.  That sounded perfectly economical to me.  I felt a bit like Julie Andrews in that scene in Sound of Music where she converts the old drapes into playclothes for the von Trapp children.  I decided to make the collar bit first.  My theory with any sort of crafting is to start on the part you are most interested in despite the difficulty level.  That is just the way humans thrive best–following one’s own natural interests.  I’ve only been working on it for a few days but I am really proud of it so far.  I have currently cut out the collar shape in the placemat and the ivory fabric backing (I sacrificed another old pillow case for this bit), handsewn the fabrics together, hemmed the neckline and embroidered it, and have begun threading pastel blue ribbon into the filigree work for decoration.  I have even made plans to make some pink ribbon rosettes with draping pastel green ribbons.  We’ll see.  I dream big.  Hopefully, the dress bit will be easy to make.  Otherwise, my child will be sporting her lovely collar on Easter with matching undies.  In the process of all this I have made some profound introspective discoveries:  1) handsewing is incredibly meditative, 2) handsewing a long-term project in which one’s child checks every 5 minutes to see how far along one is makes an excellent opportunity for telling the fable of the tortoise and the hare, and 3) there is no shame in undoing all the stitches one just spent the last hour making.  Actually, that last bit is probably extremely healthy for the soul.  There is a lot of good theology there.  So, that is where I am.  Me, myself, and my needle.

Missing sock count: Surprisingly none today.


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