Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crazy for embroidery!

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.

Toodles,

Lorette

35 comments:

  1. What a great story of your progress into sewing and embroidery! Every Quilt tells a story!

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    1. Thank you Susan. I agree with you; unfortunately, the story is too long for the label but that's why I posted it here. After all this is serving as my journal. Thank you for stopping by!

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  2. I too loved reading your story.

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    1. Thank you Chris! I have to write it down before my memory plays tricks on me! :)

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  3. Your quilt is lovely, and your story is great, too.

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  4. I did enjoy your story, and your work is lovely. May I ask about the dragonfly?

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    1. Jacqui, that dragonfly was in a local seamstress' sewing box that I purchased at an auction that summer. I was also lucky enough to win her Bernina Record sewing machine and cabinet at the same auction. This embroidered dragonfly must have been purchased; there wasn't any information with it but it was in a sealed plastic sleeve. Thank you for visiting and your kind comments.

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  5. beautiful work! I am visiting from Let's bee social

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    1. It's great to have you visit and thank you for commenting Kathy.

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    2. Hi Kathy! Fancy meeting you here!!

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  6. Dropping by from LBSocial, what a fab piece, my favourite section is the centre top with the dragonfly :D

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    1. Thank you so much!! The fabric above that dragonfly was the most expensive fabric of all our dresses. And I believe it was a narrow width. Beautiful silk!

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  7. Love the embroidery - this is just so cool

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  8. That's awesome!! So much to look at... a work of art!! :)

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    1. I'm happy you came to have a look! Thank you for your kind comment!

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  9. This is on my bucket list! Thanks for poppin' in at Sew with Kelly!

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    1. Great! I love to look at others' work too! Happy you stopped by!

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  10. Hi Lorette, it is good to meet you and I appreciate your love of sewing and the story behind it. Nice that your aunt was so inspiring.
    I watched my mother and sister sew when I was young and I appreciate the skill required.
    Your quilt is beautiful and it looks like a labour of love.

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    1. Thank you Jim for stopping by! Yes it was a labor of love, something to remind me of a wonderful time spent with great people! Sadly our favorite teacher is no longer with us; she would have loved seeing this!

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  11. Hi Lorette,
    Thanks for visiting my blog! Your embroidery work is stunning and I definitely want to make one of those Travel Duffles! You are a no reply blogger, in case you didn't know.
    Nancy from PugMom Quilts!

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    1. Hi Nancy, I was sure I had fixed this problem of no-reply! I'll have to wait until my guru visits. Thank you for visiting my blog and your lovely comments.

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  12. What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing.

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  13. Thank you for sharing t his story. It's amazing how all those scrap bits, many probably designated waste, can bring back memories of people and places years ago.

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    1. I agree Marly! Scraps of our lives, fun times, stressful deadlines... All available to be snatched and turned into pleasant memories. Thanks for coming by!

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  14. This is a lovely post Lorette! What a great story of how this crazy quilt came about. I am envious of your studies at Dal. I took a couple of Historic Costume courses at Acadia during my degree and loved them. I think I'd enjoy them even more now. I do hope you will show us the pics of the costume you created, if and when they surface.
    So how are you enjoying this crazy "spring" we are having (or not having)? We still have a lot of snow, and I know flooding will be bad in our area this year. Luckily we live high on a hill so we are safe. Others will not fare so well.
    I too hope you will change your "No Reply Blogger" status...

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    1. Thank you Linda. I hope to find that box of photos soon. Meanwhile, we're really enjoying this warmer weather. Our snow is practically all gone and I hear Tuesday will be quite warm in our parts of the province! I hope you get the same. We too are quite high but there is no chance of flooding on this land. I have done all I thought was necessary to change that no-reply-blogger issue! I'm stumped! Hope I can resolve that soon!

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  15. Hello there, thank you for leaving a lovely comment on my "Sunday's Quilt" post. I couldn't reply as you are a 'no-reply blogger' but thought I would pop in here to say thank you!

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    1. Thank you Serena! I have done what I could to fix that no-reply-blogger... I'll continue to search for a cure!

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  16. Your crazy quilt is crazy good! Thanks for sharing all the details about how it was made and the journey your were on in the process. If you would like to change your status so everyone can better get acquainted with you... Here is the best how to link. I used it and am so glad because it really opened up the door to communication with so many friends in this online quilting community! http://www.venustrappedinmars.com/2013/06/google-ultimate-no-reply-blogger.html

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    1. Thank you Lorna! I followed the steps on the website you provided the last time and thought I had fixed this issue! What else can I do to repair this crazy function???
      I do want to connect with other bloggers and realize how frustrating it is to be a no-reply-blogger.... I've been on site like this and find it ghastly! I had no idea I was in the same condition! :( I will try to fix it again! thank you all for your patience!

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  17. Great story and a fantastic quilt! I am very impressed with the courses you took. How big is this quilt, it seems to be quite large for just one block and must have been awkward to work?

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    1. Hello Regina, the quilt is only 26"x32". At times I found it awkward but found that working at a table afforded me more support. This quilt it tied and not quilted.

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