Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Some Progress

I think my mojo's been hibernating. Ever since I finished the blue dress and handed it over, I haven't really felt like sewing. Oh, I've felt like it, all right, but not to the point where I actually accomplish anything.

I go in the room, I look around, I see the UFOs and the mess, and I get disheartened and go and either read or watch TV with the man. Both of which are worthwhile activities - I just finished the new Barbara Kingsolver while being unable to sew - but they weren't really want I wanted to do.

So last night, enough was enough. I was going to sew something, and if that meant I had to tidy up, then so be it. I got rid of the last of the blue scraps, and then I made envelopes for all the patterns I've traced in the last 3 months, and then I put all the patterns and magazines away. And then I faced the UFOs.

The sausage dress. The unfinished black dress. The other one.

The sausage dress had pins in it from where I altered it to fit my friend when it was too small for me. I decide to start with this one. I threw it out. Much as I loved the print, the fabric wasn't that good, and I had deluded myself from the beginning that it was nice enough to work with.

The black dress has been given permission to wait. I'm having a sleeve dilemma, as in which ones to choose. It will come, and then I will finish it.

The third dress is in limbo. There's something way too 80s about it right now, but I still like the general style and the fit and I love the fabric. Since it was drafted from a top I really like, maybe the problem is that it was never meant to be a dress. Right now I'm contemplating taking scissors to it.

Question for all you readers out there: anyone have a good reference for working with fur? I've got my great-aunt's mink sitting downstairs in a bag - I know, only the best treatment in my house. It's got some damage, but I don't want to pay to get it fixed - it's 60 some years old, so it's fragile, and I don't have the cash for a furrier. I'm either going to repair it myself or turn it into something else, but it turns out there's not a lot of information out there on working with fur.

I asked on Patternreview and did get one book reference, but besides a suggestion that I sell the coat because fur isn't in, and I would get a lot of grief for wearing it, and do I know how they harvest the skins . . . not much actual info. Yes, I know I'd get grief. Yes, actually I do know how they harvest the skins, since I have relatives in upstate NY that make a living by selling bait and trapping animals and selling skins. My cousins tried their best to gross me out one summer by teaching me how to skin a squirrel.

But this has come into my possession (and those little minks died) through no act or omission of ine. And the fact that my aunt (and her aunt before her) kept it since the 1940s means I should hold onto it at least a little longer, perhaps until I can't justify wearing it. Who knows? But any info would be greatly appreciated. Lectures, not so much. :)

Oh, and once I cleaned up and dealt with the UFOs, suddenly the fog cleared, I taped and cut out Burdastyle's Heidi pattern, and then I cut out a dress. Feeling much better.


Michelle said...


Here is a post from the sewing divas blog about recrafting a mink coat.

Kath said...

How about using the cuffs and collar and making them into detachable collar and cuff set for a plainer wool coat?

Looks like they would be perfect for the weather where you are at the moment!!

Linda L said...

I have had some of those same feelings about sewing off and on lately. It sounds like you put it aside and started doing sewing related activities.

Keep the mink, it is truly priceless. Hopefully you can find some more info to be able to get some use out of it.

Beangirl said...

I don't have any info on working with fur, but I think it's a great idea to reuse it for something you'll love to wear (assuming it's just too damaged or hopelessly out-of-style to use as-is). I like the detachable collar and cuff idea, which you could then use again in the future on a new coat. And a hat? Very Dr. Zhivago.

Myra said...

Tell anyone who says such things to mind their own business. Sorry, but that coat is an antique, the minks long dead, you didn't BUY it (supporting the industry), it was a gift through inheritance, etc. If it's wearable, wear it when you dress up. The whole PETA thing about furs drives me crazy, why shouldn't you enjoy it, given the reasons listed above. I think another blogger in NYC (Sewing in the City) wears her vintage fur coat. Or recraft it, if you wish, but put it to use in the way you see fit. Got the slip, it's beautiful as is the little hankie enclosed. Thanks, Myra

Cisa said...

I've done some repair work and alterations on fur for customers before and would be happy to give you suggestions, but it'll kind of depend on what kind of damage you have. Feel free to email me at cisabarry at gmail dot com and I'll see what I can come up with! I've got a pretty fabulous/ridiculous fur coat laying around that someday I'll finish mending for myself.

Rose said...

Wow! It looks cold there. I get cold just looking at them - think that I'll save this post for August here in Florida. Glad to hear that your sewing mojo is returning. I enjoy seeing what comes out of your sewing area. Congrats on clearing up your sewing space - I'm going to get to that soon!

Susan said...

Great job motivating yourself. It's hard to get out of the sewing funk, but you did it!

Good luck with the fur sewing - I haven't tried it yet, myself.

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

I've heard of people having vintage fur coats made into teddy bears, but I don't think you'd have much use for a teddy bear. I inherited a coat with a fur collar from my grandmother. Love the coat, can't bring myself to wear it. Maybe you will inspire me.

beth said...

Leave the guilt and the fear of judgment behind. Those little minks have been long gone for over 70 years, and there's no reason it should be in vain. Refashion the coat that you inherited, and keep it in the family. And good for you getting some projects going. I have been in the same boat-- I walk in, look at the mess, and decide... maybe later. When what I really want to do is sew!

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

Seriously, I'm so un-pc about fur! I really don't care that Oprah doesn't wear it anymore...it's warm and in the weather we are having now...it's perfect to wear!

So I hope you come up with a wonderful refashion for your aunt's coat!