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The saddest dress, then a few more.

Well hello. It's been a while. It was 8 months from the last post to the previous one to that and it's a bit longer this time. The last day I wrote was 10 Jul 2021. On 12 July my son and I were finally seeing Tim Minchin after booking it before we went to Europe at the end of 2019. It was going to be April 2020, but changed a few times and although it was a school night (year 12 for Alex) we went for dinner and sat in the show. My Mum had gone to hospital that morning and my sister was still at the hospital with her. Just after interval I got a message on my phone, "get to the hospital now". So we raced out and to the hospital where. although it was a lockdown and no visitors allowed, all 10 of us were allowed to see Mum as she was end of life. I won't go into the whole thing but Mum didn't die that night, but because of lockdown, we were not allowed to go and see her until a week and a half later when we were allowed just to discuss palliative care. By the next morning Mum was gone, with all her children and grandchildren with her. We were shattered. Devastated. Shocked. Sad, and everything else in between. 

My Mum was an amazing woman. She was not educated - she only went to grade 3 in Cyprus as she got typhoid and was so sick she couldn't go to school so her Dad said as she's missed a year she doesn't need to go anymore. Although Mum had no formal education she was a lifelong learning. She moved to Australia and was basically here alone and she had to learn everything - including English. She had a lot of stories of how the language barrier was so difficult at a time when you had only corner shops. When my Mum and Dad got married (women weren't allowed to work when they got married) they shared a half house with another couple and every morning when Dad would leave, the lady next door would speak to Mum, but because she knew no English Mum just smiled. One morning the lady spoke to Dad and said, "Every morning, when you leave, I ask your wife to come in and have a cup of tea with me with me but she doesn't understand. Please tell her what I'm asking and ask her to come to my house tomorrow when you leave for a cup of tea." Mum went and from the moment Mum walked in, Pat pointed to everything in the kitchen and named it as she was getting it. She went through everything. This kindness gave Mum the confidence to try and speak English. They became great friends - her and her husband were great friends to Mum and Dad till they died. They were much older. 

Anyway, I digress. A week later my best friend's (just below here) Mother in Law died. Then my 'uncle'  died, he who was the only one with his wife and our family at Mum's funeral as due to lockdown we could only have 20 which included the staff. From when Mum passed away on 12 Jul 2021 to 12 Dec 2021, I had 7 people I knew who passed away. The last being my German friend who we had 6 wonderful weeks with in Germany and Ireland in Dec 2019/Jan 2020 before covid hit. It was quite the year. (none were covid related). (the photos aren't loading in order so I'll just write my piece and then caption the photos)

So it was a terrible year. I had a month off. In that month I didn't even go for a walk. I went to the pool once and couldn't bear it. So unlike me. I decided that I wanted to make a dress for Mum's funeral. We decided, as Mum loved flowers and was an amazing gardener, we would all wear florals at the funeral. My niece designed the arrangement for her funeral (so amazingly beautiful I will get fabric printed with the image). This is my saddest dress. I chose a linen fabric with embroidered flowers on it. It was a remnant piece from The Fabric Store a few years ago, the then I found another small piece a few months later. I used a Vogue pattern that was simple enough I couldn't stuff it up and complex enough to distract me. I also have half made a little jacket with a My Image pattern shown below also. I had to piece the jacket pieces and repair some holes, but by the end I had used nearly every scrap of fabric and that made me happy. 

I found fabric (a beautiful quality sateen with a gorgeous gloss) that Mum had bought, just sitting on the top of my pile after I had washed it a few weeks before and made another dress (the little orange patterned one below with the cross strap front), then I saw the orange corduroy and made the pinafore. That was the most sewing I had done in nearly a year apart from hemming Mum's pants. All really simple to make but just the distraction I needed. Literally that is all I did for a month at home apart from cooking to feed us. I'm not going to get morbid and I'm completely ok, not only because time has passed because of course I still think of Mum (and Dad) nearly every day and miss them terribly, but as I had spent every moment I could with her, every Saturday I'd take her out for lunch and shopping and on Sundays I'd get her (and my sister) and make lunch at home for the family. They were close by so I saw them during the week too. I have no guilt ... I did everything I could and saw her as much as possible and so I am at peace with it all. We, my sisters and our kids, all loved Mum so much and miss her so much.

So much more happened. My son finished high school and went to his formal. We went out and bought him a suit and the other paraphernalia but he ended up wanting to wear the vintage cashmere suit my sister bought him a few months before, not with the formal in mind. The jacket was a little wide in the shoulder but we could get away with that, but the pants were just too big and not a modern cut. So I set about taking them in and I was so pleased with the result. I spent an hour pressing the suit before he put it on and then realised he and his friends didn't care or think about that and set about mucking about. Oh well. 

I had an enormous surprise one day when I came back from the coast. I had a note on my door and as I didn't have my glasses all I could read was Ana. Ana is my old neighbour (originally from Colombia), with whom I became great friends, but then she got married and went to live in the US with her Colombian husband and has been there for 8 years. By the time I'd opened the door and gone inside (still hadn't had time to get my glasses) a car pulled into the driveway. I thought it was my son and wondered why he was home, but then my friend got out of the passenger seat and I wondered why my son had Ana in the car and why is she here!! I was so surprised. She had come to Australia the moment they allowed travellers back into the country (she's Australian also  and her son lives here still) to see her son and her Brisbane friends. I was so happy to see her. We had about 30 minutes that night and then we made arrangements for her to come on the Sunday where I made a great lunch and we had all day to catch up. She was only here for 8 days and she had only 2 days in Brisbane so I was thrilled to have the whole day. We has lost contact as she lost her phone and my number and I only had her old one.

I wore the dress I made for Mum's funeral to the Brisbane Spoolettes afternoon drinks end of last year too. It was such a lovely afternoon to finally catch up with some Spoolettes after so long. 

And at the end of March I turned 60. I thought we were going to a surprise venue for a family lunch but it was my sisters and my closest friends. I was very surprised. Of course the morning of the lunch I knew I wanted a new dress so I got out my special fabric and the John Kloss pattern and whipped it up in 2 1/2 hours. The fabric is a piece from the Principles workroom sale a few years ago. It has a crepey finish with warp threads of gold and weft in the softest viscose. It is like wearing gossamer silk. I am so pleased with how nicely it fits and how easy it was. Special thanks to my machines for playing nice as they are known to sabotage last minute sewing. 

My friend also gifted me her Mum's old Bernina which runs like a dream. I haven't had time to really play but I shall soon. I'm sewing again now and hopefully I'll be back soon to tell you what I'm sewing for in my next post! I hope everyone has been well.

My friend with the Madam Wu cocktail.

Me with three of my four sisters.

Two of my aqua friends.

Using some old cotton lining to line my funeral dress.


Vogue pattern of the dress and close up of the embroidered fabric.

I didn't have a lot of fabric so couldn't be too placement fussy.

The photo of Mum was at Toowoomba's Carnival of Flowers a few years ago,


This gorgeous oriental inspired print on such a great quality sateen.


Love this pinafore. It was so easy and quick to make and the vintage pinwale cord is gorgeous. I still haven't put any closure on the straps but have worn it last winter. The lining there in pink was from a bag that my bamboo sheets came in and it was such a lovely colour and softness I wanted to use it.



This is the hole and the patch I put on it for the jacket (which isn't finished yet). It's nearly invisible and I also had to piece together fabric for the many pieces of the jacket but also nearly invisible and I'm really proud that I persisted in making the most of the beautiful fabric. 


My beautiful Mum on her engagement night. These are the days that photos were coloured by hand hence the colour mixing on the side. 

My son ready to go to his formal. Isn't he handsome. He's not really too tall, I'm just short!

My dress at the Spoolette drinks on the river at Customs House. I don't actually like the bodice coming up so high on my large chest so I'll cut the bodice down to the line where those  top flowers are. The ribbon belt was from a huge bunch of Lillies my friend sent me. Their scent lasted for nearly 3 weeks.

I went to the Van Gogh visual spectacular (or whatever it was called). It was lovely as he is one of my favourite artists but I wasn't that impressed by it.

My surprise guest Ana who popped in from the States!

8.30am ready to cut into my fabric for my 60th birthday dress. 

I had to fold up some of the pattern as my fabric was not wide enough but it still had enough swish factor!


Here's my friend Maree and I .. top one in 1995 and bottom one in 2022.
This is feather trim for a silver one shoulder dress (below) that I haven't finished yet. Was for new year but I decided it needed lining and so didn't get to finish it. 

Close up of that gorgeous fabric! Look at it sparkle!

This is one of Mum's orchids - they are really small flowers but there is another below which has huge flowers. I'm so glad I have been able to keep them going.


The jacket that I'm really wanting to finish. I love the collar on this.



A few of Mum's orchids. She's definitely watching me and making sure I keep them going.
Chanelling Mum's truffle. This is a huge single serve. Gosh it was so good.


Tailoring the formal pants. Minor adjustments like just above gave the leg a really nice shape.


Gorgeous silver rayon lame fabric. Hope to finish this and put that fluffy stuff on the bottom.

Gifted Bernina.. isn't she a beauty. Looks and runs like new!


 If you are still here, thanks for reading. Be back soon.

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