Finished Quilts

Saturday, 22 December 2012

the definition of madness

I've been more or less offline for a couple of weeks, returning last week from my visit home to Scotland and spending this week working my Google Reader list of over 300 entries.  I enjoyed the break from the PC more than I thought I would but it's nice to get back.  Apologies for the lack of comments on your posts - normal service will be resumed shortly :)

Whilst in Scotland I gave my sisters their gifts.  It was decided (now there's a story!) that we weren't doing Christmas gifts for each other this year, so the gifts were given and opened.  A bit of background...  as you know, my mum passed away in June this year.  A couple of years ago (I think she knew she was poorly then) she handed me something and asked me to take it to a charity shop or throw it out as she didn't need it any more.  It was her wedding dress. I asked if I could have it instead.

January 1967, Paisley (thanks dad)
The dress was handmade to my mum's design, lovely and simple, and I think its silk satin.  The waist is a teeny tiny 24 inches and the elbows have darts in for ease of movement (nice touch).  So, partly because I could hardly even get one of my granny arms into the neck of the dress, the dress has hung in my wardrobe since then, waiting for a purpose.

After she died, I asked my dad and sisters if they would be OK with me using the dress for sewing fabric.  They said yes and my plans for gifts took off.  First off, gift bags for the main pressie...

remember these?
The bags are lined with silk from the dress.  OM.flipping.G that fabric is the devil to work with.  Thank goodness for spray starch, it saved my bacon for sure.  I tried really hard to cut with the grain but without the starch it was like sewing jelly!

The main gifts were to be baguette purses a la Lisa u-handbag using Echino Decoro fabric and some Tula Pink Hushabye for the lining.  After the difficulties with the gift bags, my worry that I would run out of fabric and the thought that it may get too dirty with use, I decided not to use the silk for the whole lining, but just for the side pieces.   I already had the pattern so I got to work cutting everything out and sewing it all up, then glued the first one into its frame.  It wasn't quite right....

No amount of shoving and pushing and swearing could get that edge of the fabric into the purse frame.  so I tried a second and a third and still the same problem.  #epicfail!  I wrote to Lisa and got a new copy of the pattern but got a case of the wobbles.  Einstein said that the definition of madness is to keep doing the same thing and expect a different outcome and this was rattling my brain.  So I bought some more big ball frames, read up on how to draft your own purse pattern (thanks Emily, Rebecca and Lisa) and jumped in with both feet!  No side panels on my pattern (steady on!) so silk pockets were added....

success at last!
silk pocket

 I was so relieved AND in a fit of madness, I ripped one of the baguette purses out of its big ball frame and tried it in a "normal" frame AND IT FIT!!!
woop woop!
So I managed to save the ones I'd done wrong and used them to make gifts for two of my nieces and I was still able to keep one for myself (I also have one that needs sewing and a frame).  Although both frame types are meant to be 6"x3", I think the big ball frame is slightly longer at the sides which meant the purse fabricky bit was just too neat hence the problems.  #relieved!

I think my sisters were happy with their bags in bags, which made me happy.

Wishing you all every happiness this Christmas

MWAH xxx


  1. What a beautiful idea! They look fantastic Moira - I'm sure your mum would be thrilled her gorgeous dress has been used in these beauties.
    Oh and that Einstein definition of madness? It totally applies to housework in a house containing children, too ;o)

  2. So nice to be able to re-use something of your moms for everyone. They are certainly special presents. Lovely.

  3. What lovely gifts, even if they did drive you mad!!
    Happy Christmas to you too Moira

  4. Glad you got it sorted in the end... that stag in specs is soooo cool. Happy that they went down well too. Merry Christmas!!

  5. Wow that moved me to tears! Well done, I remember your frustations not so long ago, it was worth trying again! What a lovely gift to make. Have a wonderful Christmas

  6. I am so glad that you managed to get them to work, I love that you still managed to get a little bit of your mms dress in each purse. Have a fab Christmas xxx

  7. Good makes M. I am pleased that you were able to selvage some of the fabric. What a nice way to share your Mum's wedding dress. Have a good Christmas with your little one. Di x

  8. So glad to hear that it all turned out perfectly in the end. I know how much fretting you have done over those. They are wonderful and how utterly, completely special.
    I love the wedding pic - such a beautiful one.
    Sending you lots of hugs and love this Christmas.

  9. Your mum looks so beautiful in that dress, and clearly the eye for design has been passed on to you. You did really well to carry on and the purses and bags turned out beautifully! Happy Christmas to you ! Jo xxx

  10. Lovely memory to have of your Mom and her wedding dress! The framed pouches look amazing! Good save!
    Merry Christmas Moira, to you and your family.

  11. They are absolutely gorgeous! And I feel for you on being behind in the internet reading. I've worked my reader down from over a thousand to under 500 in the last couple of days… Hope to be done by 2013. :-)

    Merry Christmas!