Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Great-Granny would have something to say.

I'm not sure if it would be positive or not, but my great-grandmother would most certainly have something to say about my attempt at a hankie. My mother is a fabulous seamstress, but it was my great-granny who started me sewing. We would go out to her house pretty much every spring. She lived on main street in a tiny town. There wasn't much to do, but I remember everything we did. We went asparagus gathering by the railroad tracks with my grandpa. He showed us the boat he was building. He taught us to play pool. Grandma taught us how to play poker. She taught me to crochet and started me making interminable hot pads. Most importantly, she taught me how to sew. It was on handkerchiefs. The year I was five she taught me how to iron on hankies and then she handed me a needle and thread and showed me how to make a tiny hem. Her little hidden stitches were absolutely amazing. My hems will never be that neat and precise and beautiful. So, as I said; my granny would have something to say.

It still isn't finished yet, so you'll be seeing this again tomorrow when I actually get the reticella looking squares inserted and the fabric cut away. Right now they are just sitting on the linen to show you the proposed layout. I was going for something sort of like this hankie in the V&A (288-1906) dated around 1600. I really love this one too with its frothy lacy and this one all embroidered in red. The first one won out because a) its Italian and b) I had lace that would work. If I did the reticella by hand I'd still be here in a year or so, so my hankie isn't going to be that spectacular. I had some bits and pieces of lace I got in a grab bag from a local manufacturer of children's heirloom clothing about 2 years ago. They've just been simmering in my stash and this was the perfect place for them. I wish there had been 2 different motifs, but having something that looks sort of vaguely at all like old Italian lace is a stroke of luck, so I suppose I can't complain. I just hemmed the edge and whip stitched the lace to the edge. I had sort of planned to do a drawn work edge and thus do some handwork of my own, but since it took a day to get the hem done with all the interruptions at my house, I'm just going to do the insertion and call it good. Not nearly as delicate as I would like, but it does at least reference the extant piece. Its just infinitely, infinitely cruder. That's the frustration, isn't it? Wanting to have more skill than possible and wishing I could make all the pieces when no one actually did that themselves.

But, I almost have a hankie. Should finish it later today and then either move on to the hat or take a detour and start the underskirt just to work on something other than accessories. I'm starting to get a little worried about how slow the lace is going, especially since this is just the insertion for the sleeves and I still need to make different patterns for the hem, neckline and insertions between the gores. Its only a week in, how am I this far behind?

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