A 2020 Covid19 Fairytale Wedding

On February 15, 2020, Josiah Murray proposed to Hannah Perry inside a sweet outbuilding in West Concord, Minnesota. Josiah hoped that Hannah would join him at medical school. Hannah said, ‘Yes!’ A wedding was planned for June 13, 2020.

Shortly thereafter, the pandemic of 2020 hit. The news was out that China had been hit hard with the Coronavirus (Covid19). The United States began bracing itself for the unknown of this virus. The administration of the State of Minnesota scrambled to figure out how to handle the situation. The word on the street was that people were smuggling face masks from hospital rooms while visiting patients. Face masks and toilet paper quickly became scarce. Everyone wondered what was next. But, our minds were also on a wedding.

Ordering bridesmaids dresses became difficult. Hannah learned that an order for nine teal bridesmaids dresses would mean they would be delivered one week before the wedding, if at all.

Hannah and I discussed our choices. We could A. wait on the dresses and alter nine dresses in the days before the wedding, or B. order fabric and create them in advance to fit each bridesmaid, one at a time. We contacted our friend, Ginny, at Ginny’s Fine Fabrics. Rightaway, Ginny recommended a beautiful fabric for our need. Hannah chose a beautiful color of teal from the fabric color card. Within a week or so, the fabric arrived from Ginny’s source in Canada. It was a comfort to know that we had the fabric in hand.

Hannah Sloane Photography

The mother of the groom and I looked around a while and then decided we would also create our dresses with the help of Ginny Smith at Ginny’s Fine Fabrics in Rochester, Minnesota, and with the approval of the bride to be. I selected a pattern from Marfy, an Italian designer. When Ginny called her contact at Marfy patterns, she learned the building that houses Marfy patterns was completely closed due to Covid19, except her contact was still in the building, only because he lives there. He was still able to put the needed pattern in the mail. A few weeks later, the pattern had arrived, and we were again in business.

My lace jacket was made using a pattern I drafted and altered with the help of Sam Perry in England a few years ago. I am thankful for his encouragement and guidance regarding pattern drafting and alternations.

Working from a McCall’s pattern that matched our vision for the mother of the groom dress, Ginny helped to create the altered pattern to fit perfectly. Ginny is truly a generous lady, always willing to share her experience and talent in couture garment making. This is the reason she calls her business, “Ginny’s Fine Fabric and Support group.” I cannot say thank-you enough to Ginny for her help in this project.

Though I have sewn for a long time, such an important project caused some nervousness. However, Marlene, was the best client. She was only patient and kind through the process.

Hannah Sloane Photography

Hannah Sloane Photography

Working on dresses for the wedding had a calming effect for us during the governor-mandated quarantine. All of our kids’ activities were cancelled. All of our college kids returned home. It was a blessing to spend time together working on wedding plans and creating dresses for several weeks. I am proud of Hannah for making all nine of the dresses for her bridesmaids, while finishing her bachelor of science degree in nursing, in the weeks prior to the wedding!

There were several weeks of uncertainty as to whether a June 13 wedding could be held at all. Would Covid19 end in time? Would quarantine restrictions on public gatherings ease in time? Would they need to get married with a pastor, parents and immediate family only in attendance? When our governor announced the quarantine would be extended until June 12, Hannah knew her wedding could not be as she had expected. She had to go to a plan B, a Covid19-approved wedding. It meant that a drive-in style wedding was in order. The wedding would be held outside with only the bridal party and family members outside of their cars. All other attendees would remain in their vehicles. Any reception had to be small and private, close family able and willing to attend only.

Though the family would have loved to host a wedding with all friends and family, it truly was a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple.

Following the wedding, I am enjoying the time to ponder and remember. I cannot describe the emotions involved in giving away the hand of a daughter. Her father and I could not be more proud of Hannah and her new husband, Josiah.

New Year Greetings

We’ve enjoyed having our whole family home for the holidays this year.  After a very busy fall, it has been good to come to a screeching halt and just enjoy time together, playing games, doing puzzles, watching old movies… There are just a few days now before we return to our normal school routine and all the extra curricular activities resume.

During our free time yesterday, Hannah and Maddy made this Nordic Ski cake.  I thought I would share the cheer.


We’ve had unusually cold (sub zero) weather in Minnesota the past few weeks.  Not that I am complaining.  My Nordic Skiers are hoping for more snow.  We are expecting 20 degrees F by the weekend!!

Happy New Year!


Polka Dots & Easter 2017

I’m seeing polka dots everywhere.  I decided to make what I think is the simplest of shells using Burda young 6540 in Bear Threads’ Swiss navy and white polka dot fabric.  (This shell can be made in an hour or so!  Although,  I took my time with french seams and all!)  When Rachel and I noticed we had both put our polka dots on the other day, we had to have a picture.  A mother/daughter moment!

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Bear Threads’ Swiss fabrics are among my favorites.  The skirt I’m wearing is also Bear Threads Swiss wide-wale pique.  It’s a tailor-made straight skirt I made last year before my oldest daughter graduated from high school using my own draft, and I wore it to her graduation ceremony with a purchased blouse.  I have worn it comfortably since.  Both are very comfortable.

As for Easter 2017, I didn’t take a single picture.  But, instead, I enjoyed the day.  The time got away from picture-taking moments.  Hannah, my oldest daughter, was home from college.  We had a lovely time with her home!  We were involved in an Easter cantata, and some were working in the nursery.  Afterwards, we created a ‘paella’, a Spanish meal with saffron rice, chicken, shrimp and chorizo and peas scattered all around; all of which broke tradition for our family, but was a lot of fun.  Even later, we biked or roller bladed to the chocolate shoppe (a true Perry family Sunday tradition).

We didn’t stress about what to wear for Easter; though the inspiration to create something to wear never fails.  Lydia, Madeline and Rachel each had a dress they had started some time ago, but abandoned due to school and extracurricular demands on their time.  The sweetest thing was that each of the girls *wanted* to pull out their projects, and they worked hard to finish them.  Hannah had come home from college a few days before and graciously lent her help to Madeline, while she did not have a new dress to finish and wear.  She wore a dress from a year ago.  I enjoyed helping Rachel with her dress, and since this one wasn’t a 4-H project with any rule about a mom’s help, I worked to finish hers while she was busy at a track practice!  Ah… it brought back memories of when I did sew for my daughters…

I love my kids.

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Concert Skirts

I think one of my favorite things to create is attire for concerts.  We’ve had some fun times lately, and I feel I should catch up on my sharing.  First, about the concert.  Then I’ll get to Easter 2017.


Recently, four of my kids had the opportunity to sing with the Deo Cantamus adult’s choir and the choir of the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota.  My three daughters needed a new concert-style skirt.

We found that Ginny at Ginny’s Fine Fabrics carries lovely fabric for this need.  Each of my three daughters found a fabric suited to their taste and personality.  Rachel, who is 12, chose a woven black fabric and a netting with black polka-dots all around.  She created an a-line, knee-length skirt.  Lydia, 17, created a skirt with the same woven fabric, but made one with tucks at the waist line.  Madeline, 15, chose a Moda knit and made a long maxi skirt.

As is the standard in children’s choirs, the black skirts were paired with the choir’s logo t-shirt of the chosen blue color.

The concert was beautiful.  I enjoyed the music.  But I also enjoyed watching as my daughters walked with the rest of the choir to the stage and back again, knowing the work that they each did for themselves and remembering the times we had.   It was a good time together.

Apple Walnut Tart

Breaking through the hum drum of everyday life, my daughter, Maddy, tried her hand at making this apple walnut tart by Allie at Baking A Moment. 


“Too pretty to eat–almost,” is about right, as noted by Hip Foodie Mom.  Thank you, Alice, at Hip Foodie Mom, for writing about and sharing this recipe.  The crust is created with walnuts, and I like it!  The apples are painted with a mixture of maple syrup and lemon juice.  It was an unusual treat for breakfast this morning.

It’s equally pretty in just one piece.


I appreciate Allie’s joy for cooking.  It’s refreshing.

Tweed and bindings

My opportunities to sew seem fewer and farther between lately, thus my low frequency in posting here.  To be fair to myself, though, I have knocked off a few UFOs lately.  Clearing the decks and making way for greater things.

Last week, I finished a tailored skirt for myself (which wasn’t a UFO at all, but something I wanted to do.)  The best part of this skirt is that it fits me.  I drafted my own pattern and have tried and trued it.  Now it is ‘simples’ to make a skirt for myself.  It is a simple straight, tailored skirt with a kick pleat, which  gives ease for the stride.  It is made of a tweed fabric found at Ginny’s Fine Fabric, and it is lined with Bemberg lining. It is very comfortable. I wore it this weekend with a cream colored sweater, brown boots and a matching scarf.

Also this week, I re-bound an old quilt.  Quilting has not been my hobby for some time.  I prefer creating clothing.  But, this quilt is like an old friend.  I made it in about 2002 when my third daughter was a baby.  A friend in Colorado gave a few sewing lessons to me.  She was an avid quilter, and she showed me a technique for creating the pinwheels on this quilt.  The quilt decorated my husband’s and my bed, a wooden sleigh bed, for about 10 years.  It used to have white panels on all sides and a border with small triangle blocks, making it a king-size quilt, but the embossed fabric gave way.  I decided to remove the panels and re-bind it, saving it as a keepsake.  Since my husband needed to work for a day in Shakopee, he agreed to stop by the Eagle Creek Quilt Shop, and purchase a navy quilt weight fabric for my task.  I still love the pattern.  I wish the fabric had lasted longer, like the quilts of old.

My apologies for writing so little.  2016 was a year of transition for my family.  My oldest daughter is off to college.  She is doing very well, and we are so proud of her.  She hopes to become a pediatric nurse.

Also in 2016, I quietly ended my small business.  It has been a delightful experience providing smocking and heirloom sewing supplies to many wonderful people for ten years, but I am needed in many more ways with my family now.  I plan to continue sewing and encouraging others who are keeping the art of sewing alive.  I thought I would share my list of my favorite suppliers:

Ginny’s Fine Fabric

Acorn Fabric

Huddersfield Cloth

John Hanna Ltd.

Creative Smocking

Farmhouse Fabrics

Chadwick Heirlooms

Delicate Stitches

Creations by Michie

Collars Etc.


For quilters:

Eagle Creek Quilts

Wholesale Only:

Bear Threads Ltd.

B. Black & Sons





A Tailored Vest, and a sincere thank-you

This Post is re-posted from the Cutter and Tailor Forum, in order to share it here as well.

I want to share the vest that I worked on during 2015-2016. I am a beginner in the area of tailoring, and I have been working under the direction of Mansie Wauch, from the Cutter and Tailor Forum, and locally Virginia Smith at Ginny’s Fine Fabric.

I had in my possession a few yards of a red check wool cloth that I’m told was woven by the Amana Colonies, purchased by my late mother-in-law. I decided it would be a suitable (if not perfect) opportunity to try making a vest that is hand drafted and fitted to myself. I purchased B. Black & Sons’ hair canvas and Bemberg lining through Ginny’s Fine Fabric in Rochester, Minnesota.

The past few years, I have been on a mission to work through pattern drafting for the purpose of gaining a better understanding of pattern making and fitting. I recognize that hand pattern drafting is an expensive endeavor in time and effort, and there are CAD systems for this purpose, as well as a plethora of available patterns, but I wanted to try my hand at it and learn for myself. I kept the overall design simple, as I wanted to focus on fit, and matching the check (plaid).

I followed Sator’s encouragement that a first attempt would take at least 6 months, and the clothing article might be only worthy of the trash bin at the end. However, I’ll admit I had a secondary goal of making something I’d still use. This project did, in fact, require hours of reading any resource I could find through the tailor’s forum. The key resources I found helpful were the Art of Garment Making, by A. A. Whife, and Coat and Skirt Making, by Samuel Heath.

The lapel is interlined with hair canvas and hand pad stitched, and so are the fronts and the back. It is stayed with linen tape. I experienced the difficulty and care involved in this traditional tailoring method.

There are three hand-made button holes worked here, though I will not yet share a close up picture of my work there… It is a work in progress, but they are functioning well so far. I greatly appreciate Callum at Bay Tailor Supply in California. He provides a nice service of matching the buttonhole twist to the cloth, as well as the gimp. I found the buttons at Ginny’s Fine Fabric.

I struggled with several things during this project; too many to put into this thank-you note.  There are many things I could have done better. But, overall I am pleased with my vest. It is as I envisioned it. It has an equestrian theme (having to do with my rural upbringing), and likely a rural or country flare. I wore it several times this fall with tall boots and jeans, fitting the relaxed mood in the Rochester, Minnesota, area. It is the most comfortable vest I own, and it will be a long-term piece of clothing in my wardrobe.

I share this project because I believe tailoring is a beautiful art, and I want to encourage others to pursue it. I also want to say thank you publicly to Mansie Wauch, who is generous with his knowledge of cutting and tailoring. I also feel a thank-you is due to all who have worked to bring this forum about. I have appreciated reading the various posts over the past few years.


Stumpwork Class with Susan OÇonnor

It was a lovely time attending the Stumpwork class with Susan OÇonnor in Richfield, Minnesota, on September 17, along with the ladies of the Lakes & Prairies Chapter of the Smocking Arts Guild of America.  We had the opportunity to learn needle art techniques necessary to create the “raspberry and bluebell” design below.


We were provided with a project kit which included a piece of duchess silk satin and squares of an appropriate-weave muslin to work the ‘slips’, 28 gauge gold wire, and DMC thread.   The project instructions were in the familiar format we all enjoyed when Susan served as the editor in chief of Australian Smocking & Embroidery.  It was a wonderful opportunity to learn under Susan.  She is a great teacher and a delightful person.

Meeting at the Pines, we enjoyed lunch with Susan.  Again, I greatly enjoyed meeting Susan, having been an enthusiastic fan for so many years of Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazine.


Of course, we had very little time to visit with one another, and then it was back to stitching!  The class extended into Sunday afternoon, and I was not able to attend the second session, due to family obligations and a college-aged daughter being home for her birthday; however, I was so glad to attend on Saturday with my dear friends.  I’m looking forward to working through this project as the cool weather rolls into Fall in Minnesota.

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Our many thanks to Susan OÇonnor…