Mothers. What can you say?
I don't even remember the genesis of this skirt project exactly. Did I offer to make it for my Mom (Sonia to you) or did she ask first? Who knows and at this point who cares? Somehow it was at the top of my sewing queue; I knew I had to have it completed by early December so my mother could wear it to a friend's grandson's bar mitzvah, to which (she claimed) she absolutely positively could not wear pants.
About a week ago we'd bought the fabric -- a nice quality black poly crepe and matching acetate lining -- and yesterday I dedicated most of the morning and early afternoon to making a muslin for my mother to try on when she came down to our apartment later in the day, from where we'd cab it to relatives in the East Village who host Thanksgiving every year.
I drafted the skirt myself using Dorothy Moore's Pattern Drafting and Dressmaking book. I know some of you own this book and some of you don't think it's so great, but I like it and find it easy to work with. I like that you only add the seam allowances when you cut your fabric, like a Burda pattern.
I used a pink cotton-poly sheet for my muslin, and it all came together easily.
It has four darts in front, four darts in back, and a kick pleat.
Still without waistband or side zip...
Around 3:15 pm, my Mom arrived. She tried on the muslin (top photo) and it looked good. No major changes needed. Then she tells me that the bar mitzvah is Saturday -- this Saturday. She must have told me earlier and like so many things she says, I just tuned it out.
She was spending the night and leaving the next morning (i.e., today). So in the hour before we had to leave for our holiday dinner, I hustled, cutting the black crepe and getting as far along in the project as I could. Needless to say I attended Thanksgiving unshaven.
By the time we left, it looked like this:
Obviously some pressing of darts is needed (and it's still in two pieces), but not bad for a rushed hour's work. I'd forgotten how shifty poly crepe is; it's a much more difficult fabric to sew with than a cotton-poly sheet. It's also hard to mark for things like darts. I used tailor's chalk and did the best I could. Only after I'd drawn the darts on the front panel did I realize that the fabric has a right and wrong side and I'd drawn the darts on the right (which is to say, wrong) side. So I had to wipe them off and draw them again.
I hate hasty sewing.
But it would all prove unnecessary, friends!
Long story short: it became increasingly clear throughout the evening that my mother didn't want to go to this event in the first place but didn't know how to get out of it. Her knee has been bothering her more of late and she's going to have to have a knee replacement, but she didn't want to offend a close friend. Michael and I convinced her to do what she needed to do for herself and that, given that the event was her friend's grandson's bar mitzvah and she didn't even know the grandson, she wasn't going to ruin anybody's afternoon by not showing up.
Using her best phoning-in-sick-to-work voice (odd, since the excuse was a bum knee and not bronchitis, but an old habit) she did what she had to do and freed herself from an obligation.
So after I'd hustled with the poly crepe and rescheduled my mother's ride home today to give me more time to complete the skirt, lining, zipper, etc., I now no longer have to make the skirt by Saturday. And I don't intend to.
An awful lot of drama for less than a yard of poly crepe, no?
Readers, two questions:
1) Do you think women have a harder time extricating themselves from unwanted obligations than men? I mean, Michael and I were both like, If you don't want to go, don't go! This seemed like a foreign concept to her. (Then again, here I was, stuck making a skirt for my mother...)
2) Would I have had an easier time cutting my fabric and sewing my darts if I'd used wool crepe instead of poly? I'd actually looked at black wool crepe in the store, but it was thin and cheap looking.
That's it -- easy.
Hope those celebrating holidays are enjoying them and didn't overeat last night. As for the rest of you: do you ever sew for your parents? Is it a pleasure, a pain, or a little of both?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!