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Opportunities lost

New head scarf

I spent a good portion of my day behind the sewing machine.  I made a few more head scarves from Weekend Sewing – those things are just what I need for keeping my long hair out of my face when I’m leaning over a project, or (more importantly) out of my eyes and my mouth while I’m driving with the windows open.  I’ve started keeping a dedicated one in the van, and now I have one to keep in the car as well.

And two more to leave around the house 🙂

Sheet skirt re-do

I also worked on two skirts.  The first is one that I made over a year ago, but I have never been happy with how full it was.  While I liked the “flowy” look, I thought it added too much extra bulk to my hips, and since extra bulk is really never something I will intentionally do to myself, the skirt has remained on it’s hanger nearly all of its life.  Today I took it down, cut it apart, and re-assembled it according to a pattern I made, based on a favorite skirt with an excellent fit.

I am so much happier with the skirt now.  Good thing, because I think this funky fabric deserves to be out in public now and then.

New skirt

The second skirt is made out of a pair of vintage pillowcases that I picked up in a thrift shop on our trip to Ocean City a few months ago.  I had originally thought they’d become pillowcase dresses, but the skirt idea came to me this afternoon and I couldn’t resist.

All of the fabrics I used today were once someone’s bed linens, and from the motifs on them, I’d say they were probably used some time ago.  It got me wondering why it took me so long to learn how to sew.  Had I known how to do it ten or more years ago, I’d have had the enviable opportunity to go through my grandmother’s sheets, blankets, pillowcases and tablecloths before the house was sold.  I’d have put aside a few special pieces to become skirts or aprons, or be used in quilts.  Heck, I’d have probably taken the whole lot.

New skirt

I do have two tablecloths that my mother saved, and she gave them to me when I asked, but I’ve been reluctant to cut into them.  I need just the right project, and once I have it, I need confidence that it will be something I can actually pull off successfully.

I would have loved to go through my grandparents’ things then with the perspective I have now.  Instead, I go to the occasional thrift shop and plunk down my change for someone else‘s grandmother’s things. It’s not quite the same, I know, but sometimes it smells the same.

Does that sounds strange? Maybe vintage linens – the heavy, cotton, old kind – all have a similar inherent scent.  Because when I bring one of those vintage pillowcases to my nose and inhale deeply, I could swear I am thirteen years old again, and just drifting off to sleep at my grandparents’ house in the country.

Great.  Now I want to go thrift shopping.  Or skipping through a field of Queen Anne’s lace and buttercups in the country.  Either will do.

13 thoughts on “Opportunities lost

  1. I have like a million pillowcases from my grandma’s-all hand needlepointed-I love them! esp the feel of that old cotton, it is not the same with the cotton they use in sheets now 🙁 anyway, can you explain how you made the skirt from the pillowcase? I’d love to look thru my stash and see if any would be good for one of those skirts!!
    .-= See jody’s latest blog post: Our 4th =-.

    1. You’re so right – I don’t know what the difference is between old cotton and new, but it is palpable.

      I’m considering a tutorial on the pillowcase skirt project, actually, but essentially, you take a skirt pattern and use the fold of the pillowcase as the fold of the fabric. Cut one from each case, and then sew together as you would for a skirt cut from regular fabric.

      I don’t know if that made any sense… if I get a chance this week, I will try to write up a more detailed tutorial with photos and all. I’ll just have to find two more matching pillowcases that want to be a skirt 🙂

  2. New blog post: Opportunities lost http://tinyurl.com/pxrgdd

  3. I know exactly what you mean by the “smell”. Here’s a good one for ya. My sister moved into my grandparents house about 10 years ago. Much has changed. Knocked out a wall. Added a laundry room. Finished off part of the basement. 4 kids and 9 grandkids, various animals over the years. But every now and then, when I first walk in to her kitchen, it smells like it did when my grandparents lived there! There is no way that could really be so, yet it is.
    .-= See Denise’s latest blog post: Can you say "Blog Neglect"? =-.

    1. I so know what you mean! I grew up in the same house my father did, but we didn’t move there until I was 7 and I still have memories of how the basement smelled when we’d gather there for family dinners (don’t ask me why they always dined in the basement – I think it was an Italian thing). After my grandparents retired and moved away, we moved in and the basement became a playroom, and later my sister’s bedroom, and then a game room. And still, sometimes when I’m descending those stairs, it smells like it did when it was my grandparents’ dining room.

      Smell is such a powerful sense. I wonder just how much of it is imagined, evoked by our memories, instead of the other way around?

  4. I have hankies from my Grammie that I keep in box. She died @15 years ago. When I open that box, she is with me again. It is spooky/amazing. Something about old fabric….the texture, the scent, the muted colors, even the way it drapes. It does, indeed, have spirit.
    .-= See KarenLR’s latest blog post: Vermont spectrum =-.

    1. “Spirit” is a good way of putting it.

  5. Not strange at all – my Granny’s are both still around but I have a sheet set / hand me down from my closest one that no longer fits any of the beds. Chloe keeps it to swaddle dolls in because it smells like Grandmothers!
    .-= See Elaine’s latest blog post: Post Move =-.

    1. Very perceptive! Sometimes I think kids are more in tune to these things than adults are.

  6. […] I remember seeing really fabulous thrifted vintage linens.  I’ve since lucked into some very cool finds myself, but before then I thought Beki must have some kind of magical thrifting powers, or at least […]

  7. […] Sheet skirt re-do Image by lisaclarke This skirt always bothered me – too much fullness at the waist for my body type. So I cut it up and sewed it back together according to my favorite pattern, and now I will actually wear it. Yay! Blogged here. […]

  8. […] New head scarf Image by lisaclarke Another head scarf from Weekend Sewing. This is the last little bit of a sheet I got in last year’s Summer Skirt Sheet Swap. Blogged here. […]

  9. […] Sheet skirt re-do Image by lisaclarke This skirt always bothered me – too much fullness at the waist for my body type. So I cut it up and sewed it back together according to my favorite pattern, and now I will actually wear it. Yay! Blogged here. […]

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