Monday, November 21, 2011

Sewing like the Dickens

The guest room has become a costume closet for items going to the Fezziwig Ball and coming dance performances. What you see above is about half of what I've been preparing in the past few months; the other half was given out at our dance rehearsal last week. Since this is our first year performing outdoors in the winter, I've been scrambling to add warmer articles for the ladies to wear. I've taken two women's suit coats and cut them down into Regency Spencers. I've finished Caleb's coatee, except for the collar trim which I don't have yet.

Lamentably, Scrooge's coat requires more work. When I enlarged the pattern from a size 38 to a 43 I forgot to enlarge the sleeves, so they turned out way too tight. I added a strip down the underside of the sleeve, and now they're too big, and they hang funny. Poor Scrooge.

This is the bodice for Mrs. Crachit, also known as my mother. How do you sew a historical looking outfit for someone who doesn't care if it looks correct or not, and is only going to wear it once or twice? Plus she keeps insisting it's too tight and it makes her claustrophobic. This is our last year as the Crachit family, since next year Jeremy will be too big to be Tiny Tim. And frankly, our family is not very good at acting, so we don't make the best Dickens characters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This has been an interesting year for relational interaction, in three specific ways:
One. The longer we stay in this church, the closer we become to those in it. As we all grow and change, especially as many of us ease out of school into "the real world", maintaining healthy relationships in church can be a lot of work! Specifically those friendships with people who have very different personalities, and learning how to better relate to young men as friends.

Two. In the past year I've come to know my Grandma better. Hard of hearing and with poor eyesight, Grandma is changing from being an strong-minded independent lady to a someone needing in-home care. Taking care of a person who can hardly walk down the hall has been challenging, and I haven't even done that much. Yet.

Three. I've done a great deal of traveling this year, from Nebraska to Scotland, from California to Illinois. I've met people and made new friends at Presbytery, Liberty Day, and Reformation Faire. House-sitting, babysitting, and dance events have kept me out and about a great deal. Dance acquaintances, church family from other states, and new contacts through the dance business have added to my acquaintances. My family is planning a trip to Texas over New Year's, and I'm thankful that since Jen has to stay home to teach and watch the dog, that I can stay home too. It seems like every other week I'm packing to go somewhere, and I confess as thankful as I am for the opportunities I'm getting tired of it.

People are difficult. How do you deal with people?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Adventure is out there!

This past weekend Jen and I traveled with some friends to an Advanced English Coutnry Dance Workshop in Iowa. We stayed in a seedy Super 8 motel. We got the last non-smoking room in the place, which happened to be a handicap accessable room with one bed. And it smelled pretty bad, too. Our view out the window was an old truck from decades past.

The band was Bare Necessities, whose recordings we use heavily at our own dances. The location was a neat sort of 1950's dance hall. The music was great quality and I really enjoyed it; but the cross-dressing flute player really unnerved me. The hall with the wooden floor was neat, but the drawings of nude ladies in the refreshment room made getting drinks a perilous mission.

We all got sore. It was eleven hours of dancing in two days. The dances were more advanced than what we teach, but I think I can say we more than held our own dancing among the lifers(those who have been dancing all their lengthy lives, which most of them had).

We got all dressed up for the formal dance on Saturday night. Colonial clothes are the best.

We were very glad to have our friends there. The atmosphere between the two different dance camps, conservative and liberal, is extreme and can be stressful. We joke that there the people who dance ECD are either home schoolers or hippies, and that's really fairly accurate. It was an adventure to attend, and I'm glad we went.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This being the month of thankfulness, I thought I'd post about something I'm thankful for.

My Sewing Room.

Our house is two old houses put together, so in the middle upstairs is this medium-sized room with low slanted ceiling on both sides. It makes an awkward bedroom because everyone else has to walk through it to get to the bathroom and storeroom. The slanted ceiling makes it hard to place furniture. But in our unheated second story it's the warmest room because the stovepipe runs through it, and the antique floor grate is in there too. We girls use it as a sitting room, retreat, and most importantly, a sewing room.

I've become very thankful for this space during the dump of costume sewing in the past year. I can spend my morning upstairs alone, concentrating on my work. I can make a mess and not have the pressure of cleaning it up for lunch. If we move it's doubtful whether or not I'll have a space for sewing.

Thank you, God, for my sewing room.

Caleb's Coatee...

Is too large. Anyone have any tailoring tips for me? All I know to do is take if off, take in the seams. Put it on. Take it off, take in the seams. I already have one tail completely done, and I do not want to take it out.