A Sewing Draught

The weather outside is frightful, as the popular Christmas song goes.  It has been too hot and too wet here in eastern Pennsylvania (USA) this summer.  Our family travels, however, took us to areas that were both too hot and much too dry. It was exactly those lengthy travels which helped determine the atmospheric conditions in my sewing room during the past weeks.  There has been a definite draught in that part of the house.  The sewing machines have been huddled under their covers, the fabric has lain folded and fallow, there has not been even a bubble of moisture from the steam iron, nor the slightest snip from the scissors.  It has been a place undisturbed and quite barren.

So, finally, it is time to change all that!  Now I am faced with the question – Do I try to squeeze in the making of one more summer dress (it certainly still feels like summer) – or do I forge ahead with a project which has a mid-October deadline?

If I go with one more summer dress, it will be one made from this vintage Moygashel linen, which has been in my queue for quite some time – and somehow never made it to the top.

Realistically, it would probably be wiser to focus on that mid-October dress, which is going to be a cocktail dress made from this amazing fabric, a lightweight brocade, embroidered and with with lace appliqués.  One of the perks of attending Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing School in Baltimore (which I did last April) is the opportunity to see and purchase fabric from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics.  Alice Wildes, the proprietress, arrives at the beginning of each week-long class with a car full of her gorgeous, carefully selected yard goods, and that is where I purchased this piece.

The embroidered flower stems are a light gray, and the flowers themselves are a pale pink.

Getting this brocade was actually a last minute decision, as I already had one cotton piece selected – and I was trying to be circumspect in buying more fabric (remind me again of why I ever think this will work?) Anyway, I’m so glad I succumbed as I love it and have determined which pattern to use for its construction:

I will be making the shorter dress, without the jacket.

I like the notched neck detail on the shorter dress. I may make below elbow length sleeves – still to be determined.

Although this dress appears to be a simple silhouette, I have plans to change it up a bit, which will add to its complexity, so it certainly cannot be rushed.

With any luck, the weather will start to change for the better no matter which project I embark on.  The only question is – which one will get the nod?


Filed under Cocktail dresses, Formal or fancy dresses, Lace, Linen, Moygashel linen, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s

13 responses to “A Sewing Draught

  1. Can’t wait to see your finished creation! Love the style of this pattern — loved it the first time around and love it now…especially juxtaposed with the “boxy” short jacket!

  2. Patricia

    Hi Karen, Ah Moygashel linen, that was what lead me to your website such a long time ago. My love of it through an elderly Aunt who was always impeccably dressed and had beautiful clothes made from Moygashel linen. It was out of my price range when choosing a fabric to sew in the 60’s and 70’s so I could only dream of ever being able to afford it. I look forward to what you are planning with your linen. Meanwhile I think the brocade will get the nod for your next project. I love the pattern.

    • I have had a love affair with Moygashel linen since the late ’60s myself. I splurged on it a few times during those two decades, and it is still, as far as i am concerned, the finest linen ever manufactured. It is such a treat to find it occasionally available now for sale online. So nice to know there are a few of us who remember it well and with such admiration!

  3. I would probably try and get both done. You can always sleep another time!!! Alice does have amazing fabrics. I can’t wait until she gets back from this trip and puts the latest finds up for us to see. The brocade looks amazing and you always design the loveliest linen dresses.

    • You are a woman after my own heart! Yes, why not both dresses…. why should I try to be practical?
      Yes, Alice seems to find the most amazing fabrics; we are so fortunate to have her shop as a resource.

  4. Mery

    This year I had to move a 10 year old palm tree (it’s in a pot so not huge) to an area that gets 3 more hours a day of sun than it was used to. Both locations receive only morning to midday sun. I didn’t shade it part of that extra time to harden it off to those extra hours. After all, it’s a palm. Its leaves sunburned! Yes, I have a sunburned palm by my back door to remind me how hot it is and how strong the sun. No need for a thermometer
    I’m excited to see what fun creations you make of those two wonderful fabrics, and suggesting how to prioritize gives me an excuse to daydream about sewing. Make the dark one while the light is good. Then when Indian summer rolls around the mood likely will strike again for that scrumptious linen. I got so spoiled to doing nearly all the year’s sewing in one big push by August’s light when for 8-9 years in young adulthood I had the month off. It’s our dormant season here because it is so hot, so we don’t put much on bthe calendar and we pull up the garden by early July. Since then I’ve hardly ever been able to force myself to do much stitch picking on dark fabrics in winter. I turned the air conditioner down to cold, set Christmas CD’s to play, burned a Christmas scented candle, and dove into everyone’s winter wardrobe first, then fall, then gifts. I miss being that organized. Even tho your black dress won’t have as much sewing as a Chanel-style jacket, it has a lot, and my eyes aren’t getting any younger.

    • Mery

      Ok, time for another break. I actually hope you’re making the linen first because I’ve been so curious to see what pattern you choose for that very interesting print.

      • From palm trees to sewing – somehow you make that seem like not too far a leap! I have actually thought about trying to get some Christmas sewing done now, but no, the days need to get shorter still, and the nights cold before I can get in the mood for that!
        Funny you should mention about a pattern for the red and white linen. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I think I have a plan, but it has been a bit of a challenge.

  5. Hi Karen,

    Oh I do so love the silhouette of the dress pattern you are planning to work with! It has that 60’s vintage feel…an element that I am drawn to in my own couture studies. (I made final adjustments yesterday to a muslin version of a vintage princess seam top to go with my Susan Khalje skirt – thrilled with that!)
    As to deciding on working Fall projects, I can relate as it is hard to decide, but I did plunge in to finish the linen look I had imagined for my couture project. As it is, I will now have the fitted muslin versions to work in a tartan for Fall/Winter – so it was worth the trouble and delay of beginning my Fall coutute work.

    I always look forward to reading about your couture projects as they inspire me so!
    Have a wonderful day!

    • I do love that ’60’s vintage style – which never seems to go out of style. I am always gratified when a muslin will work for more than one go-round. I find that muslins take a lot of work, and sometimes it’s just so nice to be able to plunge right in without making a new one!
      This time of year is often a puzzle – it’s technically still summer, but I get the itch to move on to Fall/Winter projects (partly because I know how busy these last four months of the year are!) But I never had a chance to work in linen this summer so …. Thank you, Jacqueline! So nice to hear from you!

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