Mending my fav blue dress.



The upper back along the neck had begun to ware very badly.  I figured it was my long hair that sped up the process.  Hemp and oil do no go well together and  I normally let my hair dry naturally and of course I use a good conditioner which has oils. Between the friction of the hair (I have lots) and the conditioners over time wore the hemp to the fashionable grunge look.  That was ok until the neck line split.  .


So I hunted down some thing suitable and found it in a cotton scrap.  I trimmed the cotton to the neck line leaving the seam allowance which I then sniped to just under the seam allowance and basted it into a little neat shape.


This same fabric was used to make a bit of cording that I stitched to the facing side of the dress.  This was to secure the neck line.


Once that was done I stitched the little panel that I had neatened the edges on above to the top of the back neck line.  Once done – I topstitched it together at the top of the neck line.



So, I then reviewed the machine stiches and found a broad patter and stitched across the back down to the last ware point.

The finished results will hold it together till winters is past.  In the spring  I am planning to cut the bodice off to make a summer skirt and salvage what I can from the bodice and sleeves for projects and pockets.



The Blue Hemp Dress: a follow up on not finishing the seams.

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Yes, it works like a charm!  The fraying that you see here will not increase.  Hemp linin is self finishing!  5 washes and the edges bind together like soft Velcro. 


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To boot, the first three washes, iron while still fresh from the washing machine and the seams learns to stay open!  I only need to iron if I need it to look crisp from here on.  The shots of the seams above are fresh from the dryer with no ironing. The caveat is to pull the dress (hemp linen garment) from the dryer (not an overly full one to crush the garment)  as soon as it stops and hang it up.  Put on a hanger and Done.


Here are some shots of the zipper after

One wash after the ironing.

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three washes (still damp but drying) and after the ironing.thursday 005

Love it!

A Blue Hemp Dress

First off, Dresses are so much easier than coats!Solstice finishings 002

I cut the dress out of a modified pattern of the coat.  Yes, the same but not the same.

I bought in the ease and lengthen the bottom to become a skirt.  I love the feel of the material swishing around my ankles so I made it a maxi.

I tucked up the sleeves from a gather to a tuck  and it falls nicely from the shoulders.  Solstice finishings 003

The dress is made of 55% Hemp and 45% organic cotton so it is a keeper. As this is hemp I have taken upon myself not to finish the seams in any way as hemp has a tendency to just act like Velcro when washed a few times at the raw edges.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed that whole dress doesn’t fall apart meantime.  If the raw edges do begin to deteriorate I will do a Hong Kong finish.  Only time will tell.

Start to finish 3hrs for the dress and 35hrs for the coat.  Dresses are so much easier!

Ramblings of a dyslexic brain: Thoughts for today

Ramblings of a dyslexic brain:

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And a few photographs of the first days of autumn.

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Dyslexia I am.  Always have been.  It is a part of who I am. today. It has made life a lot more complex.  If I was only dyslexic life would have been easier.  Like so many lives out there mine is very complex. My past more so than my present.  I have spent countless hours in therapy to come to grips with my anger, my well being, my survival.  And still I struggle with some seemingly insurmountable memories.  Yes, memories!

Some are spectacular like my 2 year old sister petting a wild Bear in Jasper  Alberta, Canada in 1965 at dawn and I joining her in this little love feast.

There was little light as I awoke that morning – my little sister was not in bed beside me and I could hear her speaking to someone outside.  I threw on a dress and slipped past my sleeping parents in the open log cabin. Quietly I closed the door as waking my parents was not in anyone’s best interest. At the bottom of the porch was my little sister.  Blond and tiny next to a big dark brown bear sitting on her hind legs. My sister stood reaching up high to pet the bear behind the ears. She looked at me an smiled –  “it’s ok, she said, she thinks that we are cubs” I edged closer down the stairs and stroked the bear.  She was so soft, it is a true pleasure to remember her gentleness. We could both see into her mind and she into ours. She was more unsure of me but totally drawn by my sisters youth and innocence.  When I got too close to her teeth I realized that this was not necessarily a good thing and went and awoke my parents. This was long before digital anything  so no photos.  Last thing on my parents mind really!  The bear touted off  with some boisterous prodding by my parents from a seemingly safe distance of the open wooden porch of our log cabin, no harm done. I was three years old.

With the passing of my father last year, I am the only one to remember the bear in Jasper.  My sister was too little and my mother too dysfunction.  So I ponder my life knowing that a wild bear was more compassionate to these small children then any in the community that raised them.

It is the other memories that I needed assistance with. Violence, sex, neglect and abuse. I will not describe them. They are there and I have discussed them with my therapist and trust me they were not happy with what I lived though. My dyslexic brain has a very sharp memory. I am also ADHD with what the psychologist called an ability to take it all in but not to put it back out – he called it alternative audio dysfunction. Time also brought out depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   But I am a survivor.  That is why I am still here.

School was technically a safe place but learning was hard for me.  So hard that my many teachers all thought I was retarded – an IQ of 92 and not much more.  But that was ok, the Grade 7 teacher said as I was pretty enough to find a husband and he would take care of me.  She and an aid were speaking over my head as I sat in my desk and they honestly thought that I could not understand what they were saying.  Not only could I understand, I also remember their conversation. I can say unequivocally that they were wrong on all counts.

So life is hard.  It is for so many out there.  In my years after leaving school and the family homes (yes, more than one) was I able to come to grips with these actions and inactions in my life.  Took a very long time to do so but I have done it for the most part on my own.  Some of my youth is still hidden from me.  Too much to bear I think if I was actually conscious of it or its.  I really don’t know what it is but what I do know is that it is not good in any sense.

I opened up once to a group of women whom also had hard youths.  One woman approached me afterward and said that she now felt better because her life in comparison to mine was not as hard as she thought.  She did have it hard, I just had it harder!

That was one thing that I noticed when in the youth center as a teenager, we would compare how bad our caregivers were.  Back then, our plight did not make the papers – dysfunctional youth were not worthy of such attention.  Today when I read the headlines I ache for the children of such abuses.  I know what they are going thought and oddly enough, find it a relief that they died at the hands of their caregivers and do not need a lifetime of therapy to make sense of it or worse – a drug addled life of more pain and hypocrisy.

Sewing was a skill that I taught my self after school and family.  I picked up a pattern of a skirt and followed the directions.  I didn’t get the cut right so I tossed it after wearing it three times.  But I did not give up. I knew that I could do it!  And I did. My next dress was an Afghan Nomad Dress  Folkware #107.

Here is my second Afghan Nomad Dress – I wore the first one to bits!  I made this 25 years ago and I still fit it!  The greens have blended with the pink of the silk to give it a funny color on the sleeves, The silk was on at half price and very pink.  5 meters went into the skirt. The sleeves I think another two.  The yellow is jacquard cotton and the green stripes hand woven.  The black material was from south America and hand woven.  afganie dress 2 The front with the sun shining though the yellow cotton, ,afganie 3The back with the dress.  Of note, to keep all that material in place, I gathered it with dental floss and it is still holding strong!

afa=ganie dress 1Some back detail and the gussets can be seen in green.

Sep 12 13 082Detail of the shoulder embroidery that is disintegrating with time.Sep 12 13 080The  back of the dress.  I am missing the button and only need to put one on.  talk about procrastination!  It has been this way for years but as I only wear it once or twice a year no matter.

Sep 12 13 083Detail of the embroidery on the front.

So in part this is me.  If like today I write, I don’t get much more than the writing done. It takes a lot out of me.  I know it is all over the place and loosely woven but that’s me.  I learned to write at the age of 35 with the help of a volunteer at Project literacy.  I continue to “Seek the Dragons Breath” I use it like a mantra at times.  Moving forward and up.  Here is the link to the poem that I wrote as I worked my to literacy and out of depression –

My unusual sewing supplies and tools.

My unusual sewing supplies and tools.Aug 18 Sun 007

Little bags filled with glass beads for sand blasting for pattern weights and they double as pin cushions. Aug 18 Sun 008

Vintage glass stoppers also work well in a pinch!

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I also use an old eyeglass case to cart around the pin cushions, pens, ect.  Funky and it works.

Years ago I used dental floss to gather a skirt for an Afghan Nomad Dress by Folkwear Patterns.  I made the traditional skirt and used 5 meters of raw pink silk – it is a lot of weight and needed some extra strength. I made the dress 25 years ago and it still fits!  Too warm for summer ware and the big sleeves are best suited for capes not coats.

You can find the pattern here.