What I've been doing ...

... besides a blog tour and homeschooling and ....

One of my many occupations is unofficial seamstress for my kids' ballet school. Last year I made 12 "Company Class" costumes, a simple dress consisting of a sleeveless bodice in black lycra with a skirt cut from one seamless rectangle of knit interlock in either aqua or lavender. This year, I sewed 12-13 more. (Someone else did the embroidered Celtic knotwork on the front.) Not too difficult, but tedious.

Here are two shots from a Relay for Life fundraising event that the Company Class danced for last night ... the scrawny boy in the first picture is my third oldest, and the tall boy in the next is my oldest ....

And my second oldest daughter is in there somewhere.

After finishing the company class costumes, it was time to start the recital costume for my oldest son. His teacher envisioned a "Little Women" look, so I went searching for a Victorian-era men's dress shirt and vest. I wound up with a Civil-War-era pattern meant for reenactors ... which meant all sorts of little details and tediousness that my perfectionism wouldn't allow me to skimp on, once I'd started. (Miss Carroll and I did agree NOT to do the historically-accurate trousers, at least!) The shirt and vest have completely consumed me the last two weeks, but the results were, as I hoped, spectacular.

The first is a close-up of my oldest in the vest and shirt (complete with black satin neckcloth), and the second, just for fun, is of him with his youngest sibling. The shirt is an ivory polished cotton; the vest is gold taffeta with black velvet scrollwork. The taffeta was actually easier to work with than the cotton, which had an annoying tendency to fray (as did the gold lining I used on the vest). I'm good already at gathering, but on this project I learned (and re-learned) how to do gussets and flat-felled seams and welt pockets. Just when I thought I was nearly done, one whole shirt cuff had to be remade, because I'd done the buttonhole wrong ... and later, the first pocket I did on the vest required some careful re-sewing so that the lining didn't show around the the welt (designed to cover the pocket opening). At least a third of the sewing on the shirt is by hand.

I regret that I griped a lot at first. Finally I realized that, given the why and for whom I was sewing, it's as much a work of love and--yes, of worship--as my writing. (Miss Carroll is a PCA pastor's wife and teaches dance not just as a mere art form, but with an attitude toward making it a type of praise, and she seeks to present the students with the utmost in decorum and modesty during the recitals.) This was a great comfort to me, since it seems I've been so long away from my writing, except to prepare my Genesis entries.

Now, it's time to catch up on all those things I let slide while sewing ... like cleaning my house ....


  1. As always, you are amazing! My last sewing project (beyond patches and buttons) were beanbags, all rather lopsided, but none of which leaked!

    Those outfits are truly spectacular!

  2. Looks great Shannon!

  3. Speaking as one who has had the privilege to see, up close, these costumes, I must add my 2 cents....Awesome!! I'll never forget walking in the door that day and seeing him in costume. All we could say was Wow! I am so thankful you are sewing for our wonderful dancing children!


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