In preparation for the Monkees Convention this year I challenged myself to make a dress befitting the costume I wore as Princess Collette in the episode “Everywhere a Sheik, Sheik”. Off to the fabric store, Mood, to search for the perfect pink, preferably stretchy material.
Now I want you to know that I only sew by hand. I was in my mid-thirties the last time I personally sewed my daughter, Katie’s, nightgown on a machine. And while I had a fashion line in Hawaii, my seamstresses were assembling garments by machines as well as by hand.
Aha! Found it! Vintage lace in 100% cotton, pink and a bit stretchy. Usually, lycra is added for stretch but in this lace the pattern allowed for some wiggle room! Next stop, International Silks and Woolens for lining and notions. Beautiful charmeuse in the exact matching color pink…very in the flow. For bling, crystal by the yard and invisible thread to attach it. OK, I’m ready to go for it.
I am a very early riser and when I take a project on, these wee hours in the morning provide me with the tranquility I require to concentrate and meditate. First thing to happen is bring Tilly, my mannequin, out of the closet. She is my size and makes fitting a breeze. Then two pair of scissors, a measuring tape, silk pins and a general pattern I can customize. I lay the lace down on my antique refectory table and pin the pattern on, altering it here and there as I visualize the length of the sleeve and shape of the neckline. Cutting away with the larger pair of scissors I use the second pair, much smaller to trim some edges. Tilly patiently awaits being dressed as I assemble the pieces on her with more pins. Not one little ouch or complaint from this seasoned veteran. And then it begins… the tedious task of sewing seams and once done, binding them with silk chiffon to eliminate fraying. Yes, silk chiffon is cut on the bias to make strips to be fastened and strengthen each seam.
Several days later, I test the crystal and start attaching it along the hemline, sleeves and neckline, front only. A few more days go by and my little pink mini is ready to be lined. Tilly stands by while I try “her”on with a sigh of glee when all is well. She fits! And she feels strong. Good, now I can move on to accessories and the fun continues.
All of this may seem trivial to some when there are so many overwhelming challenges on this Planet of ours but I sincerely believe that when one is happily going about their own business that new pathways for mobility toward a better world are a real possibility.