Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sew What?! Red, White, and NEW!

I often get sentimental thinking of my grandparents - particularly during holiday celebrations (the 4th of July being no exception).  Although it has been many years since their passing (as romantic as it seems, they did not have The Notebook ending; they died quite separately and years apart), I find myself wanting to visit them, to bask in the warmth of their gentle, old-timey, unconditional, grandparental love.  As much as I appreciated having them as such an integral part of my youth, I find myself craving their love and counsel even more as an adult.

Leona & Bob
(Read more about them here and here)

And so I do visit them.  As well as visiting their "final resting place," when I am in the area, I also make a habit of driving past the home in which they lived out their last days (Neighborhood Watch is on high alert).  I've even eaten at the local coffee shop they frequented, confirming that the food is just as terrible as I remembered.  It brings an immeasurable amount of comfort to revisit some of their old stomping grounds, including their local thrift store.  It was there that I nabbed a length of tricolor, floral seersucker for the bargain price of $3.00 (I like to think it was grandmotherly providence; she was both thrifty and a sewing fiend).

As an inveterate fabric hoarder, rare is the occasion when I know
exactly what form the fabric will assume; usually I just hoard and hope for
the best.  Because the amount of fabric was limited, so were my options!

In the end, short supply and color palette dictated that this would be a fun, 1940s-style sun suit comprised of a ruched bikini top and a short, semi-circle skirt with attached bloomers.  Mary would have a red, white, and new outfit for the 4th of July!

I'm going to try and continue including my sketches in an attempt at
practice making perfect - both in drawing and silencing the nagging
voice inside that says the drawings are never "good enough." 

In spite of what I like to believe, my sewing skills are also rather amateurish.
Hoping to expand the breadth of my abilities with each new project, I try to
challenge myself with some easy but new-to-me techniques.  This time,
I drafted my own pattern for the fully-lined, elasticized bikini bottoms/bloomers
and made a shaped hem-facing for the skirt from the fashion fabric.  

Luckily, my efforts made the cut for Mary's Las Vegas shoot with the photography phenom, Alexander Thompson, for a style editorial in Ponyboy Magazine.

wacky tacky vintage sewing playsuit
Capturing simple beauty is a task I think often more difficult than documenting
"grittiness" and "edge" - not that there is anything wrong with grit and edge.
I just know that our grandparents would have truly appreciated the simplicity
and loveliness of this photograph.
(Photo courtesy of Alexander Thompson/Ponyboy Magazine)

Feeling the pressure of last-minute holiday preparations, I am grateful that this ensemble was completed with a few months to spare!  I am also grateful for the talents of Alexander Thompson and Ponyboy Magazine, without whom we would not have these great photos - THANK YOU!!!

Do you hoard fabric with the intention of making themed, holiday outfits?  Were your grandmothers sewing fiends like mine?  Do certain sounds, sights, or smells remind you of your loved ones?  Are you a sucker for seersucker?

While you are pondering these questions, we hope that you have a safe, sane, and Happy 4th of July!!!


Mr. Tiny


  1. so cute if only I could sew

    retro rover

  2. Fabulous as always! Someday, you all should load the wacky station wagon, pack a slew of "Mary's best" and come visit us at the Casablanca!

    1. Thanks, Mick! We have cousins in TX that we keep threatening to visit so we should definitely include The Casablanca. Just please don't invite us in the middle of summer; I can barely handle the heat in CA!!!

  3. it turned out great! and i love that photo of your grandparents! how cute are they?

    1. Thanks, Rae! I just wish some of that cuteness had passed down a couple of generations!!!