Friday, August 06, 2010

Current Forever Project: Dress Me Up

I like to have a Forever Project going.

What *is* a "Forever Project"?  Originally, it was a project that took me, literally, YEARS and YEARS to complete, simply because it kept getting packed away. 

A Forever Project is a hand-work project that can be packed into a grab-n-go container.  I can work on it when I'm away from home ... at Little League games, at doctor's offices, on the road (when I'm not driving! :-)  ).  At times like those, I would go stark raving MAD if I had nothing to occupy my hands.

Once I actually completed my original Forever Project project, there was a let-down, as there wasn't anything to keep me busy when I was away from my sewing room.  So, I invented an on-going Forever Project ... anything that could be portable.  I've had several Forever Projects over the years ... it appears they just don't make Forever Projects like they used to. :-)

Now that the "Moondance" top is completed, I am moving on to my current Forever Project.

"Dress Me Up!" is a quilt from the Bobby Socks Quilt Company consisting of 12 redwork circa-1950 dresses on mannequins.  As this quilt will be for my middle Dear Daughter, who has claimed all shades of purple to be hers :-), the dresses for this quilt will be done in all different shades of purple.

The pattern calls for a white background, but I had a lavendar-on-white toile print that I thought would be perfect ... except .. really ... would the background fight with the embroidery? 

I did test blocks on both white tone-on-tone and the toile and asked for opinions.  There were two distinct camps, as you might imagine.  Those who definitely preferred the white tone-on-tone (the "traditionalists") .. and I tended to agree with them .. and those who said the tolile was fine ... and I agreed with them also!

Actually, truth be told, I was biased in favor of the toile, simply because this was for my purple-loving daughter and I *knew* she liked the fabric.  But, I was concerned over the effect of the embroidery on the toile.

Initially, I wasn't going to involve my daughter in the project, since I wanted it to be a surprise for her when she returned from her jaunt as an exchange student in Australia.  BUT .. gosh .. what if I chose the WRONG background???  Oh, the potential horror of it all.

So, I caved and asked her opinion ... letting HER decide if she even WANTED to see the blocks.  :-)   She couldn't stand knowing those blocks were out there and she wasn't seeing them .. so *she* caved and decided to be involved instead of being surprised. :-)

As I surmised, she chose the toile background. :-)

I visit my Dad every Wednesday and take along my Forever Project to work on, if I have free time (I do his bill-paying when I see him but only have a limited window of opportunity for the visit, otherwise I get stuck in horrible commute traffic getting back home.)  Some visits I have time to work on my Forever Project and sometimes I don't ... hence, it *could* be "forever" by the time it gets done!  It all depends on how much time away from my sewing room I get.

As I finish each block, I'll post the picture, but it's sure not going to be on any regular basis. :-)  This is dress #1.

I'll also be posting about whatever else I'm working on .. since hand-work is just my away-from-home project.  I always have something ELSE going on in the sewing room. :-)


  1. I have forever projects too---I have the Patriotic Uncle Sam (redwork & bluework) close to being finished. It really is a matter of putting my nose to the grindstone a bit. My new forever project is the Pies and Tarts english paper piecing.

    I adore your new forever project! It is so unique! I will be looking for finished blocks as time goes by. Your handwork is beautiful!

  2. OK. dumb bunny here. The lines on the dresses and mannequins I can see. What I can't understand is the dots, flowers and designs on the dresses...did you sew those also? I can see where the toile shows through the embroidery..You are waaaaayyyyy talented if you did.

    Anyway, looking forward to the blocks and the end result, whenever that may be.

  3. Angie,

    We need to see pictures of Patriotic Uncle Sam! You know it's not real until pictures are posted. :-)

    Thank you for your compliment on my embroidery! I've done all kinds of hand needlework for as long as I can remember and truly enjoy it.

  4. Quiet Quilter .. not a dumb question at all! Yes, all the lines and designs you see on the block were embroidered. The dots are French knots, the dots are padded satin stitched. All the 'outline' stitching is really a "cheat". :-)

    I have trouble doing a stem/outline stitch nicely. I discovered that a whipped back-stitch yields a *beautiful* outline stitch that is much, much easier to do.

    While it is true that you cover the same real estate twice with the whipped back-stitch, for me, the result is well worth the time ... as my results with a stem/outline stitch are less than satisfactory.

  5. oh! Quiet Quilter ... I forgot (silly me!) that there were the pictures of the dresses on the white background that had other design elements!

    To answer your question fully .. yes, the little flowers on the white background dress were also hand-embroidered .... a back-stitch with 1 strand of floss. The other dress on the white background is actually the *same* dress as on the toile, except that I simply back-stitched the circles instead of filling them in with a padded satin stitch.

    I gotta figure out what to do with the 2 dresses on the white background, as they won't be going in the quilt with the toile background blocks. :-)

  6. Love the toile background the best. This is a great project and reminds me of my Mum and her dresses from that era as well as her mannequin which now sits in my bedroom. I love the whole concept. Lucky daughter.