Threading The Needle of Family Traditions

Family traditions can be hard to continue on as so many things change from generation to generation.  From as far back as I can remember my grandmother has been stockpiling fabric for her amazing sewing projects.  When I was young I used to watch my mom and grandma work together on creating me a new wardrobe for school or dance wear for all of my classes.  It was always fun to go to the fabric store and get to pick out what kind of Lycra I wanted my leotard’s made out of for that year.  Little did I know at the time that many years later I would still have some of those dance wear pieces since they were made with such attention to detail.

As a child I took sewing lessons at the fabric store and then continued to learn more by working on projects at home with mom and grandma.  Earlier this year I was passed down my very own sewing machine for the first time.  It didn’t take me more than a few weeks to decide to tackle my first project.  It’s been more than a decade since I had sewn anything, but you just don’t forget the basics.  It’s a bit like riding a bike.  I took on a very easy project as a start to get my feet wet again.

I LOVE the look of those infinity (multi-way) dresses, but I don’t like the fact that they cost between $65.00 – $85.00 before tax to get them from most retail stores.  I found a few on Etsy that I had thought about considering, but they were just barely cheaper than the retail price.  After a little online research, my mom and I had a loose set of directions to wing it by.  Without a pattern I took on my first dress with none of the proper tools of the trade and managed to pull it together.  Without pins, weights, a pattern or even a cutting board I managed to turn a pile of fabric into my new favorite dress for only $16.00.

As soon as I made it I immediately decided I knew a good friend of mine that deserved a dress equally as awesome for herself.  After another trip to the fabric store and a few borrowed tools from mom I began her dress perfect for her measurements.  I found myself holding my breath while cutting as I knew this dress was actually going to someone else.  It was one thing to experiment on a dress that I knew was meant for me, but a whole other story for me to be making something for someone else.

The first dress for myself was made out of a casual summer material and the dress for my friend is as well.  A big online fabric sale prompted me to buy material that can pass the “little black dress” test.  I have enough for one whole black dress and another that will be black and kelly green.  I have an event to go to in July so the plan is to crank out both of these dresses soon so that I can wear one of them that evening and revel in the fact that I’ll be the only one there with an original dress, that I made with my own hands and spent less than $20.00 on.  While everyone else if flaunting their fancy designer labels I’ll be enjoying how my hard work will allow me to be comfortable and creatively stylish all at the same time.

Sewing is a family tradition that I’m so very happy that my grandmother and mother passed along to me.  I know that one day I’ll pass the craft along to future generations, but in the meanwhile I’ve got some more outfits to dream up.  What family traditions did you learn from earlier generations?  Do you think they will stand the test of time with future generations?



Filed under Culture, Fashion, Friends, Sewing

4 responses to “Threading The Needle of Family Traditions

  1. Nice job, I love it!! Can you share your plan/method/process/tips/tricks, etc? You reminded me that I’ve wanted one of these infinity dresses for years, and it could be a PERFECT DIY maternity style. I found a couple of tutorials that look promising… I think this might be the perfect use for the black jersey I just bought!

    • I’ll send you an email with what I learned over the process. I’ve now made 3 dresses for myself in various fabrics and colors and one for a friend, so I have tweaked it to figure out what works best at this point. Let me know if it is easier to FaceTime you. It is hard to understand when written but super easy once you see it. The whole dress is constructed with only one seam, so you can usually have it done in less than an hour if all the cutting goes well.

  2. I’ve been scouring all the tutorials and have a pretty good idea of what to do, but I’d love to hear your insights and tips since you’ve actually made a few! I’m trying to figure out what measurements/dimensions to use for a maternity style. Have you made yours with a tube top? I’m definitely going to do that, but I can’t decide where to make the waist seam and how tall to make the tube top. Maybe you could send me some quick notes, and we could FaceTime tomorrow, or this weekend before I start anything crazy!

    • I haven’t tried making them with the tube top yet as I make the bands pretty thick up top and haven’t seen a need for the tube top yet. However, I’m sure that is important in a maternity version. I am actually finishing two dresses off tonight so we can totally FaceTime tonight if you want or this weekend of that is better for you.

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