During my college years, I joined a sewing group called SAGA - Smocking Art Guide of America - and was introduced to heirloom sewing. I fell in love! I couldn't get enough of it and wanted to learn everything there was about smocking, embroidering, lace-shaping. It was also fun to finally have sewing friends. While I miss the SAGA ladies from my first group since we've moved to Georgia, I've become a member of the Savannah SAGA Chapter, The Waving Girls and am loving it!
Since beginning to sew in middle school, I've experienced just about every sewing project -- ballet costumes, stage production pieces, garments, quilts, household items such as curtains, truck headliners, purses, school bags, hats, baby clothing. . . the list goes on and on. I even had the honor of making a fully-beaded belt for my friend's wedding dress. The belt had approximately 11,000 beads. It'll always be one of my fondest projects since it was for a childhood friend.
Regardless of how memorable the project, I still go back to dresses. They are my favorite and I love them timeless and classic. I've easily made a few hundred dresses for myself over the years and most of these have pockets. That was my inspiration for The Dear Pockets - my portal for sharing my sewing adventures before Slowvannah Farms. I love mixing heirloom techniques into the mix. I integrated smocking into the dress that I was proposed to in - as seen on the previous page. It was my first smocking experience and I made a lot of mistakes - but it's a sentimental dress as you can imagine.
That brings us to December 2010. I continued to learn heirloom techniques during the year of 2011 thanks to my SAGA ladies. I also sewed my own wedding dress in the Fall of 2011. I made it out of duchess silk-satin, underlined with silk organza and lined with silk taffeta. I learned how to tat (thanks to my late Grandmother's tatting books and YouTube) so I could make a tatted, beaded belt to pull the dress together.
I also covered buttons and sewed them to the back of the dress. The neckline had pipping that I made from bias strips of my fabric. The skirt had inverted box pleats (one of my favorite things!). And of course - the dress had pockets!
I also made a dress to wear while I was getting ready for the big day with some silk ribbon embroidery on the back. Can you tell that I had a lot of fun with getting married? :-)
My veil was made out of silk tulle imported from England. It was a drop veil (entire veil was one piece of tulle). I cut the veil and my mother hand-sewed the French lace onto the edges. No other tulle drapes or looks as pretty as silk tulle.
Shortly after Charley and I were married, we moved into a large home and I got a dream sewing room - roughly 1,000 square feet of creative space. We created built-in tables and I was living it up! We only lived in the house for 10 short months before Charley was offered his current position and we moved to Georgia. But in a few month's time, I made two large quilts, dozens of dresses, numerous smocked baby garments and even some items for the hubby. Below is the before and after. My cutting table was 8 feet by 8 feet. The table in the back of the room by the window stretched the entire width of the room (about 25 feet) and was 5 feet wide.
Since moving to Savannah, I've moved my sewing room around from one guestroom to another several times. Since Audrey's birth, I've taken over the dining room! Ha! It's nothing compared to my sewing room above, but I'm not complaining since I get some space to myself to sew.
The long story -- for all who enjoy reading, not me -- begins when I was in middle school. I reached my adult height of 5'6" in the seventh grade and was a very skinny kid. And I was completely out of proportion according to store-bought clothing. If it fit my waist, it was entirely too cheeky and vise versa.
So I started to make my own clothing and learned how to sew with the help of my mother. Well, I entertained my mother's "suggestions," but knew my way had to have been better. So I taught myself since I was too stubborn to listen to my mother or read any directions. I learned a lot of lessons the hard way and gained a wonderful understanding of the ins and outs of garment construction thanks to all that seam ripping!
I continued to sew throughout middle and into high school. Between my genetics and my ballet studies, I graduated high school at 5'6" and 95 lbs. Yes, I've gained weight since those days. Today I eat a fraction of what I ate in my ballet days and weight considerably more - joys of growing older. . .
Alright -- the summed up version -- I love, love, love dresses with pockets! I've literally made hundreds of dresses for myself and most of them have pockets. While I dabble in all types of sewing, I really love heirloom sewing and can smock, tat, lace-shape, and hand-embroider including floss and silk-ribbon.