With Pockets and Ruffles

Apron at Last

That’s right, I have a finished non-food object for your wondering eyes to feast on. Or is that wandering eyes? You remember of course that pocket, which I referenced as recently as, what, three posts ago? Well, after being taken up, taken out, put down and laid away the two pockets have finally been stitched to the skirt of their intended apron, the skirt edges finished, the ties atached, and the bodice allowed to crown the whole thing, bringing it into completion.

It does feel rather nice to finally finish something, and something useful at that. But better than all else is how relaxing it was to sit and hand sew the pockets to the skirt. (Aren’t they clever? I got them from By Gum By Golly). I wouldn’t say that the activity was fun or enjoyable – certainly not as intoxcicating as, say, marathoning a TV show, or staying up until three finishing a book. Yet sitting in my own living room, with the christmas tree finally subdued in one corner and Karen Savage’s soothing accent readingng out Persuasion from the speakers, what more could be wanting for a peaceful evening (and morning and afternoon) of employment?Right Pocket

I discoverd a lot of things while making this apron, most of them things I had quite on purposely swept under the rug of memory. For instance, I don’t like measuring twice, mostly becasue I find it difficult enough to measure correctly the first time. There is a bit of wonky stitching on the ties from where I haphazardly ironed the folds without any measuring or desire for consistency. This led to trouble when I went acros the bodice and couldn’t see both sides of the ties. Whoops. Missed a spot.

More interesting, I found that I like hand sewing a whole lot more than machine sewing. I’m not any neater with my stitches when I sew by hand, but when I’m at the machine my greatest desire becomes Being Done and all my efforts focus toward speed. Hand sewing is soooo much slower by comparison that, even if I do think up a short cut, there is usually enough time to realize the flaws before I get there. What’s more, as long as there is something to entertain my mind – like music or a book or, if trusted myself more, TV – I find I actualy like the process of hand sewing. The movement of the needle in and out of the fabric, the glint of silver, the clash or blending of colors, whichever it may be. I discovered this kind of contentment while crosstitching too, which is of course unfortunate because I can’t help but think of cross stitching as one of those pretty but inherently dead-end arts, and hand sewing one’s own clothes, while impressive, sounds dangerously close to, say, climbing mount everest with only one granola bar or watching paint dry in a room without proper ventilation.

At any rate, here is an apron as a testimony that we can focus and get things done. That hand sewing can be the highlight of your week. That Persuasion has more angst behind a single “good morrow” than a trunk full high school dramas. And that, yes, not even ruffles can keep you from getting flour stains.Not wrong

These are from when I “tried it out” by making cupcakes. I only reazlied it when I was eating them later (and reading the last chapters of the book, becasue reading is faster than listening) but the characters in Persuassion spend a bit of time visiting Lymes, England and I happened to make Lime, Cupcakes. If you think it’s rather limp as a connection, I have it on good authority that lime can be used to crisp things up too – though that’s mineral kind, and usually in relation to pickels. Anyway, I wish I could remember where I first read about lime cupcakes. I was going to make lime something for dessert anyway, because I had them languishing in my firdge, but I don’t think cupcakes could have come to my mind without help. I used this recipe, utilizing all the juice from two limes (and using lemon-milk instead of buttermilk). I made the frosting too, but I couldn’t taste any rum in and it was too sweet to put on already sweet cupcakes. Plus, depsite loving fat in all its forms and having no qualms with sneaking it out of the mixing bowl, I still cannot get past the idea that eating this type of frosting = digging into a stick of butter. I haven’t had the desire to do that in the past, oh, decade or so (the last time I did my dad caught me. Enough said).

So, the stats for the apron:

Pattern:  Kitchen Confection’s Pleated Apron

Fabric: Random bits that came from other people. The skirt, for instance, is left over from a history fair table cloth. The fabric for the pockets is from my Grandma N’s collection.

Cost: All material I had on hand, so no cost at all.

Modifications: I couldn’t figure out the purpose of the bodice pleats. They were dashed awkward, so I took them out. Then I forgot all about the pleating when I sewed on the pockets and ended up leaving that off too because it made the fabric near the pockets lay weird. I didn’t line the skirt, but put the top between the right-sides-together waist ties and sewed the ties’ sides and straight across. Then I turned them right-side out, ironed down the still open edge, stuck in the bodice, and top-stitched the whole shebang.

First worn: Saturday 14th, making Cupcakes

Make it again?: Yes. The bodice is too wide for me at the top, and probably too long too. Plus, whoever heard of a kitchen with only one apron? I already know what colors I want for my next one.

Hmm, what’s better? Tasty cupcakes, tasty aprons, or finally getting something out of your workbasket?Tkae Heart

Seven Hour Socks

No, I havn’t started a foot-focused knitting project. In fact, I haven’t really started any knitting project at all. This post is strictly about the sewing. Or possibly it’s about procrastination, and is only masquerading as a post about progress. Which takes us back to the title, I suppose, becasue really I do feel as if I’ve slipped on a pair of seven league boots, only instead of traversing many miles in a single stride, I’ve managed to walk briskly from August right into October. This feeling is supported by the fact that time spent working (read: sitting at a desk) goes. So. Slowly. But all the little in between bits pass by in a blur.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve merely stepped out of my car in one week and entered it again in another.

The feeling has been growing since the beginning of August, about the time I started this apron. It was going to be simple. Easy. A way to ease myself into the sewing world, since the half a dozen unfinshed garments I have stowed cleverly out of the way seem to be telling me that jumping in head first only works when there is water in the pool.  Things were looking good. And then I decided that I wanted these pockets. And that, of course, meant embroidery. So I got a stitch dictionary out from the library and amused myself with making a spoon and several teaspoons worth of sugar crystals.  This was done realtively fast for me, and I predcited the apron would be done before my birthday.

Or I did, right up until I realized I had to do something for the other pocket. I spent days and days agonizing over what it should say, and when I finally did decide, September Happened. At least, I think it happened. It’s all a little hazy and I don’t really have anything to show for the time I spent there, which makes me think I spent the whole month trotting around in my seven hour socks. The long and short of it is that, at the beginning of October, the second pocket looked something like this:

Well, Monday night I was at Bible study and, in an effort not to fidget during the endlessing notes, I put my hand in my pocket and found, drum roll, the above, folded, with a needle stuck carefully through it. I unpicked my unfortunate attempt at stem stitch and made a simple ‘R’. Yesterday I picked it up and put in the N, E, Y, J, O and heart that completed the pocket. Just like that. Maybe two hours, tops, and suddenly the thing I had been putting off becasue I was sure it would be boring and difficult was done. I tripped happily up the stairs to sew the backs on both pockets.

The happily delusioned can stop reading here, x-out of their screens, and just float away in a cloud of ignorant contentment, confident that this story ends with me happily hand sewing the pockets to my apron front. Those already embittered with the world, or trying to find out how to get the magic out of their own dimension-defying-footware, have probably already guessed what happened next, for it is exactly the thing that would happen to someone who left their sewing machine out, untouched, for three months. Thirty minutes after tripping up the stairs, with the bobbin finally full and loaded, I put my foot to the pedal and heard “whirr, whirr, bliiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.”


I think I’ll come back to this project later. Maybe after a short walk?