Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The One With All The Pictures.

On to the eye candy. I started this project at the end of April and completed it the beginning of September. It started with a compulsion to make something a little more useful than I had been doing before. I made a shirt and dress which were auctioned off for this charity which I talked about in this post a couple of days ago.

First up, the dress:

Completely hand-stitched from reclaimed t-shirts. The blue ones are from the same golf tournament the year before. The flowers are relief appliques from still more t-shirts.

You can see the charity logo on the bottom left back which was reused from one of the volunteer t-shirts. This will fit as a dress from about 6 months until about size 2 as a shirt making it long wearing. I love that it can be used for a long time as kids grow out of sizes so quickly.

I was so worried about the buttonhole loops. I'd never done them before and left them for the last minute, but they worked out really well. You can see the vintage buttons and zigzag chain stitch here as well.

Palestrina stitch along the bottom hem. I love the look of Palestrina stitch - it's delicate and looks almost beaded.

And now on to the boy's shirt. Mothers of boys always complain that girls get all of the fun clothes, so I wanted to make sure I made something good for the boys. My daughter who's two saw this picture and said "There's my bear!". She loves this guy.

Again completely handsewn using reclaimed t-shirts. I enlarged the charity's logo to use as a pattern for this reverse applique.

I wanted the stitching on this one to be a lot simpler, but still let it have some details. This one is a 12 month size.

And a close up of some of the stitching. I used linen thread (brown) to give it a more rugged appeal.

It was hard to let them go after spending so much time with these two pieces, but both went in the silent auction and now have the most loving homes as well as having raised money for a charity very close to my heart.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Fashion Designer is Born.

You are looking at the face of the worlds newest fashion designer.

I should back up a bit. We happened upon an arts festival in our town this weekend. An entire street was blocked off and art was everywhere – pottery, paintings, photography – but Ailsa gravitated towards a particular set of abstract paintings stopping at one that had black painted fabric flowing from it and a face painted on the canvas. She said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. I thought we should tell the artist that as she was sitting right there. Jolan was her name – but apparently the kids call her Yo yo. The conversation went something like this:
Yoyo: Are you an artist
Ailsa: ?
Yoyo: Do you like to make things?
Ailsa: Yes.
Yoyo: Then you are an artist.

We told her about the doll dresses that Ailsa had made and some of the other projects she had done (she really is an artist). Completely stoked, we went home, got out the fabric and started sewing. My little girl is now a fashion designer. She is NOT “going to be” a fashion designer she IS a fashion designer. Right now. And she’s about as excited as it gets. The enthusiasm is contagious, really, and I really admire (envy?) her confidence.
And why not. I’ve heard so many brilliant people say they started doing their life passion (ballet dancers, mechanics taking everything apart, engineers building bridges with lego) when they were six.

Here’s a parting shot in case you don't believe me. These were taken this spring. The outfit just shouts creativity, don’t you think?

p.s. Anyone know anything about fashion design for real? Like what skills to help her learn – drawing and sewing obviously, as well as looking at clothing, art, color around her. I’m looking for ways to help her realize her dream.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scott Smed - part 1.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house and that was a good thing. The Annual Scott Smed golf tournament came and went this week, and I was thrilled to be part of it again. No, they weren’t crying about their golf games, in fact, I think the golf part is almost like an afterthought. Almost. They were crying because the charity had touched their hearts. again.

It all began when my friends Shannon and Peter were pregnant with their first child – a boy – Scott. I didn’t know them at the time, my sister was still dating Shannon’s brother (they are married now with a baby of their own this year). I remember my sister saying that Shannon had read every baby book there was and was so excited about the pregnancy. Anyone who knows Shannon knows how she throws herself into things with contagious enthusiasm (oh, that laugh!), and I can only imagine what she would have been like then.

But, sadly, it wasn’t meant to be. Something went very wrong and they ended up loosing the baby in the third trimester. Peter always says that the charitable works that they do make Scott’s life and death have purpose. That even though he is not here with us, his presence can be felt by the good things that people do in his name. The Scott Smed Memorial Foundation is making efforts to improve the experiences of families who have lost a child. The money raised has gone towards building special delivery rooms in soon to be four Calgary hospitals for families who are experiencing a loss, support and resources for families, and training for hospital staff.

What I really admire about this charity is its grassroots beginnings. It’s the story of a family seeing a need in the community and deciding they can do something about it. And this group of people is accomplishing that in really concrete and measurable ways. The best part of the golf tournament, in my opinion, is the guest speaker. Someone who has used the services of the Scott Smed Foundation gathers up all their courage and tells their story. You grieve with them, but you also can hear the hope coming through, and the gratefulness that they didn’t have to go through it alone. That’s why I choose to volunteer at this tournament every year instead of just sending my silent auction items. To be part of something like this, even for just a day makes us all feel a little more human.

(come back to see part 2 - I promise lots of pictures, less seriousness, and a follow up to the sneak peak posts I keep taunting you with. Thanks for reading this far.)