A linen skirt and catching up

It’s been a lovely Spring in Minnesota; a few warm sunny days and then a few cool, rainy days. A nice transition into the Summer. We’ve been as busy as ever, changing gears into the fun of summer and the many kids’ activities available to us. Last week, we had a great time at VBS. The kids are getting ready for the County 4-H Fair. In between those things, we’ve enjoyed planting a garden (that includes a small patch of flax of the variety for cloth–our science project for the summer), mowing the yard and making s’mores (with dark chocolate) over the backyard fire pit. Roasting a marshmallow (or eating a couple straight from the bag) is a brand new thrill for my 2 1/2 year old son, Ben.

My apologies I’ve been a little slow in writing here. Sometimes life is packed with fun, but I have several exciting things to share. It’s true that I’m doing a lot less in the area of little smocked dresses. I find my time being focused more on supervising my kids’ sewing and watching their abilities take off on their own. I no longer sew for my girls (isn’t that sad?!). Instead, I enjoy watching what they learn and do. (And that’s not sad!)

I’ve also been working my way through a new skill; pattern drafting. Several years ago, a friend shared with me the class notes from a college-level class her mother took on pattern drafting. I thought, that is very interesting, and I continued on making smocked yoke dresses for my girls based on existing patterns. With the encouragement from another friend as well as that found at the Cutter and Tailor Forum (thanks, “Mansie Watch”!), I have been giving it a try. I am extremely thrilled to say, it works! In many ways, I am learning there is much that I need to learn. It is a skill and an art to master, and I am a “learner”. My experience is developing a sincere appreciation for those tailors or couturiers who do have this talent. But, so far I have made a skirt for myself using Italian denim and another using Baird McNutt Irish linen. Both are wonderful fabrics, and I’m enjoying my comfortably fitted skirts!

I’ve also been thrilled to experience working with Irish linen, Italian cottons and English cottons. (Another thank-you to Micheál MacDonnchadha as well as John Hanna Ltd./Baird McNutt Irish linen.) I wore my blue plaid (on the bias) linen skirt on Sunday. Though some may instantly think “oh no, linen wrinkles”, it’s really not true. My skirt was not all messed up with wrinkles when I returned home. It looked as great as it did in the morning. The beauty of linen is that it breathes and it feels smooth and cool. The Baird McNutt linen is wonderful. It’s what you want to wear when the power company implements that power-saving-program this summer and your A/C is not in use in your home. (Just wait…)

I’ve also recently brought in a few fabrics from Acorn Fabrics in England. These are the fine cotton fabrics that the tailors recommend and David Coffin mentions in his Shirtmaking book. They are beautiful. They are really something to see and touch. My experience ordering from Acorn was also wonderful. We ordered a floral fabric from Acorn on Friday for my third daughters’ 4-H project. It arrived at our home today by express international courier.

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