A Summer Dress with a Lesson

Recently, while read a sewing blog I came across a dress pattern that sparked my interest.

McCalls 7240

I liked the fit and flare design along with the off-set front neck opening. With a graduation event up-coming, the idea of sewing a new dress seemed an easy mental argument to win especially a dress pattern like this that is designed for stretch knits(easy fitting) and goes together with minimal seams.

Conveniently,  I had a fabric to order from Fabric.com for a customer, so while shopping there for the items needed to complete the customer’s project, I was able to find a colorful, fun fabric choice that I was anxious to try with this new dress pattern. photo DSC02816_zpsd1eyxxgp.jpg

I chose to make view C with short sleeves and a contrasting color sleeve/shoulder. The fabric requirements called for 2 3/8 yards for view C, but with my decision to make short sleeves and to use contrast color, I decided to order 2 yards. Dumb, dumb, dumb…since my fabric print was a very large stripe pattern cutting the pattern pieces so that the stripes matched at side seams was impossible with only 2 yards of fabric. Not wanting to give up on this dress idea, I decided to alter the dress shape so that I could make the layout work and match the pattern. photo DSC02809_zpsljvsmcha.jpg

The dress front and back pattern pieces are designed with skirt lines that flare out at 45 degree angles from both the center and side seams to create a full skirt. To make my pieces fit onto my fabric, I eliminated the flare in the center back and center front pieces and cut them on the fold of the fabric. These changes allowed me to get this dress cut out of this fabric. Along with the design changes, I was adding a lining to my dress; something I often do so that I don’t have to wear a slip. photo DSC02813_zpssp1vi5cy.jpg

When checking actual size measurement printed on the pattern pieces, I decided to cut the dress from a size smaller than my usual choice, dumb, dumb, dumb…the fabric did not sew up with as much wearing ease as I thought and my first fitting left me with a tight fitting dress and very disheartened. I began considering that this project was headed for the scrap heap with the dollars and time spent up to this point going toward my “education gotten the hard way.” photo DSC02812_zpsx4pymcjn.jpg

I took a deep breath, walked away from it for a few days and decided that a dress I had purchased for Easter would be the dress to wear for the graduation event. With the pressure off, sometime over the next several days an idea of how to save this dress sparked in my head and I proceeded forward.

To correct the snug fit, I ripped open both side seams from hemline through the sleeve edge, then added a 2 inch strip in the contrasting color back in to both side seams; then did it again for the dress lining. photo DSC02817_zpsaihbvbh2.jpg

The dress now fits much better, but is very different from the original pattern design. Instead of being a fit and flare dress, this new dress fits into the sack dress category. photo DSC02811_zpsf90gt2oo.jpg

The hem line has a slight shirt tail  curve to it because of the way that I eliminated the front and back flare. photo DSC02815_zpsx74agcht.jpg

Either way, I have a new colorful summer dress that is comfortable  and easy to wear along with a refresher course in project planning and measuring….in the wise words of my Dad, “An education costs you money, no matter how you get it.”

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“For I know the plans I have for you,…”

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This is a verse that, over these teenage years of my sons, I have repeatedly spoken in prayer. At one of those many difficult moments in my parenting journey I found a pair of books by author Jodie Berndt, Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers and Praying the Scriptures for Your Children. The value of these books is best summed up in a quote from Ron Luce in the foreword that says this, “…as we look around at what the world has to offer–from point-and-click pornography, to television and movies dripping with violence and sex, to music that pulses with obscenity and anger–we cannot help but realize that our battle is not against our teenagers; it is for them.” He continues, “Several years ago, Katie and I began praying God’s Word over our children. We have found this approach to be effective and productive–particularly during those times when our own words, or our own attempts to pursue and protect our kids, were not enough.” I have found the last part of his quote to be the most comforting part of using scripture as my prayer. So often, as I lay wide awake in the middle of the night fretting over the latest struggle, my conversations with God were desperate words without direction. With the help of these books, divided into common topics parents and children face, I was able to find scripture verses that spoke words of hope and promise into my parenting concerns. Using these verses as prayers re-directed those prayers from being my will to being God’s will for my son’s lives.

Most recently it is this Jeremiah verse that has spoken to the season of life we are experiencing. The school year is coming to a close and this year Honorable Son #1 becomes a Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School graduate. This is the school program that we have used for his entire home school/cyber school education. The journey has been filled with successes and failures, joys and struggles, laughter and tears; all the things that shape life.

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After 13 years of standing by his side, my first born is ending this part of our journey together and beginning a new one.

His graduation ceremony was held at a facility 4 hours from our house. We were blessed to have several family members join us to celebrate this milestone.

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Each family was given the choice to have their “learning coach”-the adult leading the teaching in the home-sit and walk with the graduate for the ceremony. It was a joy to sit with not only my son, but also with the other students and moms bursting with pride over their accomplishments. There is a bonding camaraderie that has formed among these families that have taken an education path different then the traditional brick and mortar education. I chose not to walk with Son #1 for his diploma presentation; deciding that moment was his to enjoy and representative of the starting point for his new beginning.

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Grumpy, Grammy, Honorable Son #1

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Me, Honorable Son #1, Honorable Son #2, Dear Husband

After dinner with the family, we checked into our hotel for Son #1 to prepare for the school prom that was being held at the hotel. He went stag to the event and had a good time with his class mates and teachers. A fun ending to his graduation day. photo DSC02782_zpscopz7pyd.jpg

Congratulations, Son, go forth recognizing your blessings, I know God has plans for you…