In late summer of 1998, I registered for Costume Studies at Dalhousie University as a means to keep me busy and to learn new techniques in dressmaking. Since it was too late to start in September, they allowed me to take 2 courses in January 1999 with the intention of being a full-time student that fall. Our oldest daughter was on a 1 yr hiatus from full-time university attendance; she was working but living at home. Our oldest son was still in school in Ontario & due to graduate in 1999. Our 2 youngest (who are 10 yrs younger than the older two) were settled in their new school, taking the bus every morning. This was quite a change for me as I had been chauffeur for quite some time.
Fast forward to the academic year 1999-2000... We were paired with a buddy to learn how to measure, draft patterns and create a costume for each other. At the same time, we were researching people who lived in Halifax during the 1870s and we were asked to create a costume that person would have worn to a matinee according to their age, stature in life, and the community. We were also required to write a paper on that research.
I wish my photos of the end of the year projects were available; they're still packed I'm afraid. Perhaps I'll share them when that box surfaces! While we were creating those costumes, I gathered up some remnants of the dress fabrics and some trims in order to make this crazy quilt.
Its construction didn't follow the usual rules; it was just one block dictated by the amount of fabric collected. That long strand of off-white pleats deserved to stretch the width of the quilt. This girl worked long and hard at making miles and miles of these pleats for her dress. Not all trims and decorations were part of the dresses; this is my interpretation only. I used the fabric for the cape that was part of the costume I created and the taffeta of the under-dress for the border and the binding respectively.
I started photographing the lower left and went across then up in 3 rows of three segments...
My partner will recognize some of her trim here...
We left Halifax at the end of April that year and found ourselves in the Middle East for a 6 month stay that fall during which time I acquired a lot of embroidery threads. I must say it was that detoured-path in our lives that really defined my quilting. I had no sewing machine although one was offered; this was a big sacrifice for me as I had never gone that long without a sewing machine. I sewed everything by hand and came to LOVE applique and embroidery.
I joined a group of ladies every Wednesday morning across the street from our condo and we shared our knowledge, our experiences, our fabrics, threads and cooking. I loved working with these wonderfully talented ladies and looked forward to every meeting.
However, I must give credit where its due! I've been sewing since I was a young girl; my grandmother sewed and so did my mother but my love of sewing comes from Aunt Velma! Her love of sewing and attention to detail were reflected in all her finished pieces and her ease of instruction led me to enjoy the processes. Merci matante!!
My WIP today is finding the fabric with the signatures of all the students and teachers of that wonderful year at Dal in order to make a label. I will link to The Needle and Thread Network and Let's Bee Social.