Monday, 31 December 2012

Merry Christmas to me and Happy New Year to You!

Dudes.....Santa knows what I like.  And he knew I would like 4 metres of silk dupioni under the tree:

It is shot with royal blue warp threads and maroon weft threads, which gives it a shimmery purple colour that is incredibly hard to photograph.  It is more than a bit intimidating to think of using, but I plan not to let it waste away in my stash.  Please hold me to it if I don't show a project here sometime soon.

And since we're less than an hour away from New Year's EST, let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year.  Thank you for all the feedback in 2012, especially to my previous post regarding constructive criticism.  I wasn't sure if I was totally out of line for bringing up the subject, but it garnered a lot of discussion, so I'm glad I took the leap.

Hmmmm...this looks mildly disgusting, but it was actually delicious molasses candy on snow that my Mom made today.  Remember Laura and Mary making it in Little House in the Big Woods?  Well, it's the first time I've tried it.  We always have tire every spring (boiled maple syrup candy on snow), but that's a different beast altogether - mostly because you just hang around outside the cabane à sucre and wait for the guy to come out and pour it on the snow in front of you.  Easy peasy.

I've finished my Simplicity 8498 just under the wire, but with the sun going down around 4:30pm, there wasn't enough time to get any photos this afternoon.  I'll get some tomorrow and try to post ASAP. 

I also have a giveaway coming up this week, so stay tuned!   


Friday, 28 December 2012

Are we too nice to each other?

I've been thinking about this for a while, but wasn't sure it would be a good topic to bring up.  Then I realized that I'm probably not the only one who has thought about this, and it may provoke some interesting discussion. 

When I discovered the online sewing community back in 2009, I was so happy to find a supportive group that shared freely and encouraged each other; it was a breath of fresh air compared to most online groups that seem to spend much of their time cutting down other members, calling them gay, and then eventually turning every conversation into a political insult fest, culminating in comparing each other to Hitler.  No matter what I seemed to post on Burdastyle, or later on this blog, there was always someone who would step up and compliment the project.  It was a great pat on the back when I decided to start sewing again after a 10-year hiatus.  I had a toddler and a new baby, and was pretty sleep deprived, so I readily admit that things were a bit wonky for a while.  OK, they are still wonky sometimes, but it was good to know that other people who knew what they were talking about were telling me I wasn't doing a shitty job.

After a year or so of sewing and blog reading, I started to notice something:  people are really hesitant to criticize each other's work, even when there is a glaring problem.  Really hesitant.  Sometimes there is a fitting problem that a simple tip could help solve.  Sometimes it's apparent that someone has overestimated their size and would look so much better just by sewing a size down.  Sometimes the design lines are lost in a busy print and a solid fabric would work much better.

But I rarely see this kind of comment.  Maybe once or twice I've seen a comment that points out a problem, and it is usually phrased very obliquely ("maybe you could try ABC, but I love it just the way it is").  I once saw a comment on a dress that Gertie had made, saying something to the effect of "that neckline gapes a little; maybe you should pinch some fullness out there", and it was followed by a flurry of comments saying how nothing was wrong, and the dress was perfect. 

Why are we afraid to critique each other's work?  Is it because the online sewing community is almost 100% female?  And we're taught that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?  Are we really so sensitive that we can't take a little constructive criticism?  I would never want to hear, "Wow, that looks like crap on you!", but I would hope that if something was obviously not working with one of my projects, someone would pipe up and tell me how to fix it.

So, what do you think?    

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A favourite revisited

This was my Sew Weekly post, but it didn't go up.  If it eventually does, I'll link to it here, but for now, here ya go:


The Facts:
  • Fabric:  Cotton from my MIL's stash = $0
  • Pattern:  Simplicity 5828 =$0
  • Year:  1970
  • Notions:  none
  • Time to complete: about 4 hours because it was sewn in stolen moments; if sewn straight through, it would only take about 2 hours.
  • First worn: Immediately
  • Wear again: Constantly, in rotation with my first version
  • Total cost: $0

OK, so technically I didn't sew this pattern this year.  I made it late last year, but that tunic is the me-made garment that I've worn the most this year.  I wear it everywhere, especially when travelling because it can double as a minidress or a tunic over leggings, depending on the weather and the modesty needed.  It's cotton, so it washes and dries easily, and it has enough of a print to hide minor travel dirt, if push comes to shove.  It's also the me-made garment that seems to be the most universally familiar to others, and it seems to fit in everywhere:  I've had Indian colleagues compliment me on this "kurta", African colleagues compliment me on this "kaftan", and European colleagues compliment me on this "kinda hippie minidress".

Evidence of it's very heavy wear over the last year, both at work and play:

And good news:  my serger is working again, so I can go back to serging seams!  I didn't get it serviced, but simply gave her a good cleaning and readjustment of all the buttons and knobs (Who knows what they do?  I just twiddle them until I get the results I want.  Not very scientific of me, I have to admit, but it works.  Usually.)

I got this pattern for free during the NYC meetup last year, where I got to meet fellow Sew Weekly-ers Nettie, Meg, Oona, Debi, Mena, as well as a load of other fun-loving sewists (evidence here).  Although this pattern may not seem like a winner at first glance, believe me when I say it's a great one; ignore the ric-rack horror of the envelope cover photograph and look at the cooler-than-thou woman with the micro-mini in the illustration instead.  I added some length to the pattern, believe me.

A word of explanation about the blurry featured photo:  I finished the tunic on Sunday night, and we were forecast to have our first ice storm of the season on Monday, so I thought I'd better grab an indoor shot just in case the ice arrived before I could get a photo outside in the morning.  Arrive it did.  An ice storm is certainly beautiful, but not conducive to outdoor fashion shoots.

This early morning lab runway collage will have to do!  ;)

Happy Chanukah!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays to everyone!
Stay warm and dry.  Seriously.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Lekala Doomsday Sale

Just a quick note to say that, if you follow Lekala patterns on Facebook, you may have noticed that they announced this Doomsday Sale on Friday.  Although their patterns are always priced pretty low (<$2.50), an extra deal is always nice, I say.  After the Christmas / New Year rush, I may try a pattern of theirs.  Or two. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

My Hollyburn Skirt

I've been on Tasia's mailing list since the beginning, but I'd never had the time to be part of her pattern testing before.  I thought about it a few times, especially when she was developing the Thurlow trouser pattern,  because I really need to learn how to sew my own trousers that actually fit in both the hip and waist AT THE SAME TIME!  Is that too much to ask?!  But then I thought that taking on my first fitted pair with a tight time restriction was a recipe for disappointment. 

When she put out a call for testers for a simple skirt, I thought I could probably handle it.  In fact, the Hollyburn is a very quick pattern to put together, and is designed to work for so many fabrics and body types that you really can't go wrong. 

Here are some quick and dirty photos I took with my son's point-and-shoot camera in my lab one morning; until Santa brings me a DSLR, I'm afraid this is the best I can do:


I really like the way the pockets are constructed without adding any bulk at the hips.  In fact, they lay so flat that they are almost invisible if you are using a busy print.  I decided to add the tabs to the waistband because I had enough fabric, and I had these two lonely buttons made of wood and brass that matched quite well, and would probably never be used otherwise. 

I used 3m of very narrow shwe shwe cotton from Botswana.  After washing and drying, it was only about 85cm (34") wide, but either of the shorter views (B and C) would fit.  I did have to cut the pockets across the grain as you can see below, but it worked with my fabric because the print is symmetrical.  Cutting the pockets with the grain or using view A would have required ~3.5m.

I chose to bind the hem with bias tape because I just so happened to have exactly the right colour and length in my box of tangled chaos perfectly organized notions, and because my fabric is quite stiff and bulky. If you were to use a thinner fabric, it could easily be folded over and hemmed as usual. 

All in all, it's an easy, flattering pattern to give a beginner good results.  It also offers enough variations to make an intermediate or advanced sewintist happy.  See?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sewing Simplicity 8498: decisions, decisions, decisions (or how I learned to stop worrying and love my stash)

Now that Tanit-Isis, Sown Brooklyn and I have announced to the blogosphere that we're going to sew this baby up, I keep seeing it everywhere.  Of course, there was Tasia's post this week where she revealed A Thing I Made and Never Blogged About, which was in fact, Simplicity 8498.

 Although she doesn't like the outcome, I think it looks great and I'm still optimistic for two reasons:  she personally doesn't like the shift shape on her (whereas I do), and she doesn't like the busy print hiding the seam lines (which I can avoid, with the right fabric choice). 

I've been trolling the internets for some ideas of what works and what doesn't; luckily, there are loads of examples of both 8498 and the reprinted 3833 online.  Some of my favourites thus far:

via Cosmotis on Pattern review
The print is busy, but regular, so the seam lines are not hidden as much as they would be with a larger, uneven print.

Kayseri on Pattern Review
OOOOOOoooh, border print!

But my favourite by far is this stewardess-esque lovely from Sharonsews:
from Sharonsews

That is sooooo very me.  I would blatantly copy this in a flash if I had some medium weight red, white and blue fabrics.  I don't.  I have some broadcloth and some white sheeting, but I'm afraid that it it would be too flimsy.  And I really wanted to work with what I had in my stash, since it is prodigious.  Here are my whittled down choices:

 The chocolate satin has small sprays of chartreuse and white blossoms, but it probably would hide the seaming detail.  I can't for the life of me remember where or when I bought this, but I do know that I had something more like Simplicity 6723 in mind.

The grey fabric on the far right is a silk blend.  It is quite heavy and a little bit shiny, in a platinum rather than silver kind of way, if that makes any sense.  There is also a lot of it; like, 5.5 meters of it.  I think I should save this for a fabric hog of a dress like Vogue 1102:

 Which leaves me with the two cottons in the middle.  I think that the white with wispy Bhutanese clouds is gorgeous, but it is very heavy.  It is Ikea fabric, and I bought it with nothing particular in mind, but just because I loved it.  It would be great as something really, really structured.  Structured to the point of being sculptural. 

Which leaves us with the red cotton.  It is medium weight and has a kind of sponged finish to it.  The best way I can describe it is like those faux finishes that people used to paint on their apartment walls back in the '90s.  (Remember Debbie Travis, queen of the faux finish?  Man, I loved her show The Painted House.) 

Anyway, I'm not 100% sure that this fabric is the right choice, but hell, you can get away with a lot more red at Christmas than other times of year.  Unless I run across a bundle of red, white and blue double knit at my local thrift store this week, I think I'm going with the red. 

What do you think?


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Stitching Simplicity 8498

A week or so ago, I read this post by Tanit-Isis and casually commented that I had just bought the same pattern, I thought that Nettie had too, and wouldn't it be funny to do a little Simplicity 8498 runway show?  Not that any of us live close enough.  Not that any of us are women of leisure with so much free time around the end of the year.  Not that any of us are childless, work-less, grad-school-less layabouts who have nothing better to do than sew all day.


An idea was born, a flurry of emails followed, and T said let's do it!  Well, I'm nothing if not willing to over commit, so I'm in.

Who else is with us?  Do you have this pattern?  Do you have the reprint (Simplicity 3833)?  Do you have soooooo much free time just before Christmas and can't think of what to do with it?  Let us know, and you can join in the virtual runway. Keep your eye on our blogs and we'll let you know when we've all managed to squeeze some free sewing time out of the pre-Christmas rush and when we're ready to host our Simplicity 8498/3833 virtual runway show! 

Tempest has certainly mastered the reprint version with this '60s psychedelic mini, and I think I'll follow suit - I've got some itchy vintage double knit paisley print just calling out to me.  If you're more inclined to make the glamorous full length brocade version with sequined trim, I'll leave you with a photo from one of my late '60s Simplicity Fashion News magazines:

This page is actually printed slightly askew, hence the blurriness.  Check out the hem, where you can see the colour didn't line up when printed.  Hey, these were free pamphlets printed on newsprint; what are ya gonna do?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

What would you make?

Like most women of her generation, my mother-in-law was crafty.  She knew how to knit, crochet, and sew, and probably dabbled in other things like tatting or weaving, based on the materials found around her house.  Since she passed away last year, her sons have been slowly clearing out the house.  Since she had no daughters, and her sons aren't much for sewing, a few remaining sewing supplies have come home with me. 

This bag of zippers looked promising, until I pulled them all out. 

150cm = not much shorter than me

What would you do with 13 white zippers that are almost as tall as you? 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Round up, clean up, catch up

Because I'm too tired to come up with coherent sentences strung together to make paragraph thingys, but still have lots of things I want to post, I hereby give you a list of cool stuffs:

I first read about these Youtube series over on Casey's blog and I've been watching them pretty much non-stop whenever I get a chance.  If you're into gardening, history or food, you'll love these.  I can't find all of The Wartime Kitchen and Garden episodes online, but hopefully more are coming soon:

The Victorian Kitchen Garden with Harry Dodson.

The Victorian Kitchen with Ruth Mott.

The Victorian Flower Garden with Harry Dodson.

The Wartime Kitchen and Garden with Ruth Mott and Harry Dodson!

From Snippets:  Using glue sticks in lieu of basting?  I'm sold.

Fabricville pattern sales:  November 14-18th:  Butterick 3 for the price of 1; November 19-22nd: Vogue $5.99 each; November 26-30th: Simplicity / New Look $1.99; December 1-4th: McCall's $3.49

One lovely blog:  Suzanne over at Beaubaby recommended my blog - although I'm frankly always amazed that someone other than me is reading this.  I also feel funny if I don't pass it on, but like the chain letters they are, these kind of blog recommendations have to fizzle out somewhere or we'd just plain run out of good blogs to recommend and we'd start telling people to go read the crappy ones.  Wait, are there any crappy ones?  I'm sure there must be some that are all links to pharmaceutical online stores and Russian pr0n and white power ranters with IQs ~50, but I've yet to see one. You should definitely read the sewing scientists on my blog roll first though, because we're the coolest.  Erm, I mean nerdiest.

My 7 things to share?

1) I am very organized at work; I am very disorganized at home.  I think there is only so much organizational energy in one person.  I have a closet that is bursting with junk I have to get rid of, but I just can't seem to get myself organized and figure out what goes where.  And then every time I open that closet, my kids see that old broken toy or game with missing pieces and want it back.

2) I am an atheist and the more I learn about religions, the less inhibited I feel about saying that.    Telling people that you don't believe in any god(s) is still treated as suspicious and immoral by so many, but I'm hoping that will change.  There are good religious people and bad; there are good atheists and bad.  I've seen enough of the world to know that morality and religion are unrelated.  No, learning more about Jesus / Allah / Jehovah / Buddha / Krishna etc. isn't going to change my mind.  No, I haven't had any traumatic experience with a religion (but I've had plenty of friends who have).  No, I don't feel like I'm missing out on any great secret of the universe. I prefer keeping my mind open and basing my beliefs on the facts around me, rather than twisting the facts around me to suit my immovable beliefs.

3) I both get and simultaneously don't really get the whole body image struggle that so many bloggers talk about.  You have a body that works.  It looks much better than you think it does.  Probably everyone around you thinks you look fabulous; why do you think any differently?  Maybe it's due to growing up where and when I did that makes body image less important to me.  Maybe it's because I'm no longer in my 20s and I realize my body isn't going to get any younger looking.  Maybe it's because I've been over and underweight, and I was equally happy at both stages.  Maybe it's because I've had years of pregnancies and breastfeeding mold my body in unexpected ways that's made me realize that being able to do that job is more important than the way it looks.  Maybe the years of media brainwashing just washed over me, leaving me intact.  Maybe the fact that I get my self-esteem from what my brain can do rather than how my body looks makes me immune.  I don't know.  But I do know that when I hear someone say, "I'd be much happier if I just lost those last 10 pounds", I want to say, "No, you won't be happier; you'll just be 10 pounds lighter".  Stop sabotaging yourselves, or I swear I'll have to come shake some sense into you.   

4)  When I was very young I had an imaginary friend named Bamba.  He was a dragon-like creature that I used to play with until my little sister was old enough.  When we moved from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia in 1974, I left him behind.

5)  I developed a severe allergy to shellfish after my first baby was born.  I had all the tests and still didn't believe it was possible, but apparently the immune overhaul that pregnancy causes on your body makes you much more likely to develop allergies, mild and severe.  I jokingly refer to it as my allergy karma, because before I had one, I didn't really buy into the whole "clean the environment of all allergens or my kid will die" mindset.  Now I've had enough anaphyactic reactions to something that is merely cross-contaminated with shrimp that I have to take care of where and what I can eat.  If it's ever happened to you, you know that feeling of impending doom that creeps up from your guts and you know it's too late.  And you'll never poo-poo someone's allergy fears again.

6) I hate anything jelly-like.  It literally makes me gag.  I vomited once when I had to participate in a jello eating contest back in high school.

7)  I have some kind of disorder that makes me fly into a rage if I have to listen to someone sniffling and snorting their mucus.  I wouldn't be surprised if I am someday featured in one of those Strange But True headlines: "Local Area Woman Murders Man on Bus for Failure to use Kleenex". 

OK, my brain is not working anymore so I'm going to stop now.  And go watch some more Victorian Kitchen Garden.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Ghost in The Sew Weekly Machine

So for whatever reason, The Sew Weekly has been giving me grief over the past few weeks.  Either my photos get rearranged or they just don't get posted.  Hopefully Mena will get everything sorted soon enough; it would be a shame to let things slide this late in the year, when so many people have participated all along.  I guess there's no harm in posting my most recent projects, since they are past due online anyway!

I made up this super hippie apron dress just because...well....I had the pattern and we were all sewing aprons.  Who knew it would be so unflattering?  I guess most people knew, since you don't see them anymore:

(I took this photo very late one night and I looked like shit warmed over, so to speak, hence the disguise.)  Very little shaping to the front bodice meant that it was as flat as an apron - and gaped open around the neckline and on the sides.  Not a very secure thing for this old mom to be wearing out in public.  That may have flown if I were a pert young thing back in the bra-less '70s, but I just can't imagine getting away with it now!

Fortunately, the pattern pieces took up so much yardage that there is plenty to recut into something less prone to public wardrobe malfunctions.  It'll be easy enough to convert to a wrap skirt in an hour or so.

I'm also working on a super top secret project that I won't be able to talk about until the end of the year.  Intrigued?  Here's the most I can reveal without getting into trouble with the big boss involved:

Monday, 22 October 2012


I've been featured again over at The Sew Weekly, most likely because of my willingness to reveal my out takes:

Yeah, that's me mid tumble off our retaining wall into the neighbour's garden.  It wasn't far to fall, and it wasn't a garden of cacti, so all is well.  Just made for better photos in the end. Although to be perfectly honest, there are only about 1/5th of us still posting to the sewing circle compared to the first week of January, so my chances of being featured get better as the year goes by  ;)

In case you didn't recognize the pattern, it's Simplicity 2591 that gave me so much grief last year.  The pattern looked so good on so many people, and I was crushed that it was out of print.  Then I received it in the mail from RiAnge and was so excited to use my Cape Town fake shwe shwe print in imitation of the dresses that Farah and Adey had made. I struggled far too long with the fit, but after 10 extra hours and 1.5 years on death row  (UFO bin), it's done.  Whew.  The whole story is here at TSW.  I'm almost as tired of writing about it as I am of making it, so I'll leave it at that.

On another topic, which may seem unrelated but has close ties to this dress, I recently had to participate in an SDI personality profiling exercise held at the non-profit where I volunteer.  (I've been the president for 3 years, and finally decided to step down before I went all Hugo Chavez and started dictating to the other members of the board, while I reclined behind my mahogany desk with a big stogie.  haha.  Yeah, in reality we drink coffee while we squat on toddler chairs in the cold basement!)  We had to submit our anonymous questionnaire, and the facilitator put together the results for our meeting.  Our first glance at the data showed a cluster of people up in the "emotional / extrovert" sector and one data point far down in the "logical / introvert" sector.  I burst out laughing and said, "That's got to be me, right?" and it was.  Logical, unwilling to jump to any conclusion until I feel I've had all the facts, unswayed by others until I know all the info, very reluctant to ever back down unless I've run out of ideas, and very unlikely to respond to aggressive behaviour....sounds like me to a T.  The flip side is that I am dogged in my pursuit of a goal, pay very close attention to detail and always try to find an alternative answer when I hit a brick wall. 

Which leads back to this dress:  most people would have tossed it after one or two attempts.  Not me.  It turned into a personal challenge and I had to see it through to the end.  Call me stubborn; call me nit-picky; call me unwilling to let go, but damn it, I get shit done.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Thank Oona for saving me from bloggy financial ruin

Oh hey, so Oona explained that even though my Picasa account is full, I can keep uploading photos less than 800 x 800 for free, so prepare yourself for some small, crappy, low resolution photos!

Oh, I certainly know how to attract the readers, don't I?

Where was I?  Well, after I made that yellow cut-out muslin I showed in the last post, I blithely made the alterations I thought I would need and cut into my red/white/blue double-sided shwe shwe. The result is....OK.  The fit through the bodice is a bit loose for my liking. I tossed it into the wash and dried it on high heat, since I hear that's how the best couturiers do it at Chanel. 

True story. 

OK, maybe not.  It actually helped a bit, but I would still like to open up the side seams and do a bit of fussing about with the fit. 

I also made a vest from a 1980 Style pattern my mother gave me.  I have had a morbid fear of vests since the '90s, due to these attrocities:  

and these: 

"Busy Mom's To-Do List" Tacky Ugly Sweater Vest Women's Size XL
(I take exception to this "Mom's To Do List":  Up at 8am?!?  Sleep at 10pm?!?  What kind of slacker's paradise does this Mom live in?)

and these:

Mine is positively invisible in comparison: 

Taken by a 3 year old using an iPhone.  Doesn't look so bad now that you know the backstory, does it?  ;)

Tiny pocket for my stash.  And by stash I mean candy.

More to follow tomorrow, that's if I'm not exhausted from my vest-inspired "busy" Mom day of sleeping in, going to bed early, and not going to work.  Pft. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Selfish Sewing: Catching up on two months of me-stuff

Let's see.....I last posted about some summer dresses I made, and now it's windy, wet and 6C outside.  I think it's been too long.  You can always look over at The Sew Weekly to see what's going on with all of us, but I don't post every week OBVIOUSLY.  I don't know how those other women find the time to make something every week.....I guess some of them work part time, or work at home, or have grown families and more time to themselves.  Or perhaps they are just better at planning their time.   I, for one, got home from work last night at 6:30, fell asleep with Tashi at 8:30 and didn't wake up until 6:30, so you can guess how much sewing I got done. 

Back in August I made a muslin of Simplicity 9253 (from 1971), using the world's itchiest linen curtain.  I ended up ripping out the zipper and giving the fabric to my mother to make patio cushions.

******Stop press******

I just tried to upload a photo collage and I got a notice saying that I've reached my 1GB storage limit.  I've gotten this notice before, but it's always disappeared after a day or so.  What's up?  Is this legit?  Do I really have to pay for blogger?  I used to have another blog for the grandparents to see the offspring, and that was WAAAAAY more photo heavy that this blog, and I never got a notice like that.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Unselfish sewing: Halloween edition

My son has put in his request for this year's Halloween costume by submitting to me the following sketch.  Care to hazard a guess as to what he wants me to sew?

Monday, 17 September 2012

My favourite time of year

So you know when you've been super busy and haven't blogged in a while, you feel like you have to post something really exciting to get back in the game?  And then the longer you delay, the bigger you feel like the post must be to merit such a long absence?  No? 

Everyone seems to slow down over the summer, whether it's because:
A) you're home with your kids and don't have a moment to yourself that doesn't involve cleaning up sand and wet towels and Popsicle stickies, or
B) you're travelling and your vacation destination has dial-up, or
C) you're just lying by the pool drinking margaritas all day and end up too drunk to operate a computer, let alone the flying blades of a serger.  (not naming any names)

The heat and humidity of Montreal summer have finally passed, and we're into my favourite time of year.  The chilly nights have given me back some of the energy that was AWOL for the past few weeks.  I don't have anything monumental to post, but I do have lots of little interesting things to catch up on, so I'll spread this out over a few days.  First of all, please join me in welcoming this beauty to my house:

This belonged to my great-grandmother Warren.  Luckily my parents are in the purging mode of life and drove up to Montreal last week with this in tow.  She needs a bit of work, but still runs well.  Luckily again, my neighbour does furniture repair/refinishing in his basement as a retirement job, so I'm going to pop over there for a bit of new veneer.

Also included in the purge swag, some fugly '80s patterns:

That poofy dress on the left look familiar?  Yes, it was the prom dress that my mother made for me in 1987, featured below in my Awkward Prom Photo that Oona asked us all to contribute for Promaballoona back in July.  

identities hidden to protect the innocent / guilty
It has a pretty tiny 32.5" bodice, so I doubt I'll ever use it again, but I just had to post the final piece of that prom puzzle.

More catch-up tomorrow.

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