Saturday, June 27, 2009

The real meaning of summer

Okay, so this probably isn't the only real meaning of summer out there. It means different things to different people - for kids, it's being out of school, going to the shore, running under sprinklers, all those fun kid things.

For me, especially this year, summer is two things. Tomatoes and cute dresses.

Since Philadelphia has spent the last 3 weeks basically underwater - I swear if they tell me we're in drought in August, I'm going to run amok - so my tomatoes have been growing like weeds. I just wish all these lovely little green balls would start turning red. Or at least reddish.

Oh - three things. Three things mean summer. Add summer fruit to the list.

The blueberries only needed a couple of days of sun and they suddenly became edible. Yummy edible, as in I'm sitting on the edge of the raised bed grazing off the bush edible.

But let's face it, the best part of summer is being able to wear cute dresses. I finished one today that definitely falls into the cute category, and the pattern could definitely work its way into TNT status pretty quickly - it fit great right out of the magazine, and I think the neckline (almost square, but with curved edges) is really flattering. The one piece facing snugs the neckline right up against my chest, so there's no gaping, and I like the empire waist with fitted skirt, as opposed to the usual empire waist with flowy skirt. Very flattering, all around.

Lots of good things about this dress, which by the way is BWOF 2/2008 #113 (full review here: I got to use fabric from my trip to NY just 2 weeks ago, so it's barely even cooled down yet. I finally got off my lazy duff and tried Els' invisible zipper tutorial, and I'd like to smack myself with a french curve for not trying it sooner. That one little extra step makes the zipper go in perfectly, and I've been having a little issue with bubbling recently, so I'm glad I gave in and tried it. I also did BWOF's strangely worded but very effective method of inserting the facing by sewing it all the way around the neck and armholes, leaving the shoulders open and turnign the whole thing right side out through the shoulder openings. Then you machine-stitch the outside shoulder seam, fold and press and hand-stitch the inside shoulder seam and you have an immaculate finish.

For some reason, this technique gives me fits. I never think I'm going to be able to get into the shoulder seam to sew it shut properly, and then I never think I'm going to be able to get the facing seam to be flat enough so that I can hand sew it down. And it always works. Why are there just some things we can't get past, no matter how often we do them?

We had a nice sunny Saturday today, highs in the mid-80s, so before I got to the garden or the workroom, we hit the farmer's market (blueberries, cherries, random other goodies) and a couple of porch sales in the neighborhood. I picked up a cookbook - like I need another one - and at the last sale, 2 blocks from home, my eyes zero in on this lonely white carrier box sitting on the sidewalk. There are 3 labels on the box "$5" "sewing machine" "needs work."

Like I need another one, right? It's late 1960s, from JCPenney, a icky tan colored workhorse of a machine that from what I can tell works perfectly well, the girl just didn't know how to use it. I'm going to take it apart and give it a good cleaning and a test drive, but it seems that my backup machine now has a backup.

It was $5. Could I resist? What if it hadn't sold and she'd put it in the trash and no one had trash picked it? It would have gone to that great dumpster in the sky unused for the last 20 years, and we can't have that.

On the other hand, I did pass by the free Singer treadle machine that had been wired for electricity but was sunk into a wooden table the size of my refrigerator. It would have taken 3 people to move it, and I had no idea where I could put it. If any Philadelphians are reading this, it's in the alley behind Melville Street, right off Baltimore Avenue. It needs you. Just so I don't go back and get it myself.


sewing said...

A red tomato? No thanks! I will pass. Oh don't get me wrong, I love tomatoes, but if I were home growing them...Those suckers would never turn red...Give me yummy fried green tomatoes any and everyday! I grew them at one time, but I never let them get red! LOL! Also, love the dress!

Jane said...

Could you post (or link) to the facing tip you described? I've done a lining where you pull it through the shoulder. I'd like to know how similar this is. BTW great dress!

Rose said...

Like most things you sew, I love the dress. Isn't Els' invisible zipper tutorial great? We're closing up our garden here in Florida for the summer. We still have a few things left: tomatoes, cucumbers, and blueberries (the birds usually get those, but the red cardinals are soo pretty). This is the time of year when I envy your PA weather as the heat is burning everything! This is my time of year to stay in the air conditioning and sew!

Elaray said...

I could never understand BWOF directions for the facing. I found the same technique described in Claire Shaffer's books. Much easier to understand!

The blueberries look delicious!

Maryissewfast said...

Tomatoes, Blueberries and a great summer dress? All wonderful things about summer, but let's hear a Woot for the $5.00 sewing machine!!! I scored a freebie Riccar a couple months ago that someone dumped at the recycle center...she works like a champ and is one of my back-up singers now (sorry, bad unintentional pun...I'm leaving it in!) Great post!!!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I always have a mental problem with pulling all of that fabric through the shoulder seam too! Guess I should go back and try it again.

I love summer for the dresses and fresh fruits and vegetables too...and I was just thinking that this morning!

Love the new dress...aren't sewing sheath dresses just wonderful and great for easy, breezy summer dressing!

gwensews said...

The shoulder technique seems daunting, but it does work like magic. Cute dress! And nice score on the sewing machine.

Tany said...

The dress looks lovely! Els' invisible zipper insertion directions are my favorite!