One Wedding Down, One to go….

If you Love Weddings

As we’re wrapping up the memories from one family wedding, we’re on to planning the next.  Our son Shaun and his lovely fiance, Deb are marrying in early September.  Thanks to Deb and Shaun, we have much less planning and I have far less sewing.  Altering Deb’s gown, new flower girl dresses and a dress for me and that’s it for the sewing.

Consistent with my blogging goals, I have many photos which will become future posts, tips and tutorials.

Just one more time I need to share our beautiful family with you.  Admittedly, there’s double the joy as I had a hand in creating the children and the clothing.  There is nothing in the world that delivers more pleasure than the sense of accomplishment that comes with having grown children who have come of their own.

Megan, Mom and Dad

There are of course many more pleasures in life however for those of us whose creative outlet is sewing, the sense of accomplishment from making beautiful clothing is admired by many but likely is not well understood.

The photographers for Megan and Chris’s wedding were amazing, capturing the beauty of love and family and the joy of the day.  For me, the photos bolstered my sense of accomplishment and admittedly, fed my ever-present need for mastery.

Click on the link below and enjoy:

PS on Sewing Machines

How could I forget?

Last night I blogged about the ever-increasing number of sewing machines now occupying space in our smallish city home and realized that I forgot to mention my beloved embroidery machine.  Sewing for children is much more fun with an embroidery machine – oh, the possibilities for adorable embroidered embellishments.

Embroidered Velvet dress

Bernette 340 Deco, please forgive me for the memory lapse.  Just like my children, I love you all the same.

Spanning more than 100 years, here’s the list:

1.  1897 Wheeler and Wilson Treadle

2. 1941 Singer 99

3.  1959 Singer Spartan

4.  1998 Bernina Virtuosa 150

5.  2000 My Lock Serger

6.  2008 Bernette Deco

7.  2009 Babylock Evolve

Seven Sewing Machines: Too many?

How many sewing machines does one need?

For my fellow sewists/seamsters, I’m sure you understand my fascination with sewing machines.  For many years I only owned a single sewing machine and it seemed to meet my sewing needs quite well.


I received my first sewing machine from my parents when I graduated from nursing school.  I guess that’s a testimony to my parents’ perceived value and practicality of a sewing machine; for Depression-era parents, a gift would first and foremost need to be useful.  That machine worked well and sewed through anything but didn’t have a free-arm.

Later in the 70’s

In the mid to late 1970’s as I began to sew for our daughter, the absence of a free-arm was enough to send me shopping for a new machine.  This purchase was a Bernina 830 and I was sure that in my whole life I’d never need another machine.  I think I paid about $750 for that machine and today they sell for nearly that much on Ebay.  In fact, next to my husband and children, this machine might be the love of my life.  It now sits in my daughter’s basement closet but last month, I used it to teach Mira to use a machine to sew.  Such fun!

Learning to machine sew


In the early 1990’s I’d never heard of a serger but my sister worked at a sewing store and convinced me that I couldn’t live without one, so on my birthday, Kevin surprised me.  My sister was right – one can’t live without a serger.  That original one has been upgraded and recently I purchased a Babylock Evolve combination serger-coverstitch machine.

Years later

After sewing the dresses for Angela’s wedding in 1998, I started hinting that I’d like a new machine with more features. Kevin went to my favorite Bernina store, sought advice from the owner and again surprised me with a new sewing machine.  He did well – a Bernina Virtuosa 150.  It is my current machine.  Today I took it in for cleaning as it’s been working pretty hard lately.   Usually that would mean no sewing for a few days.


Now I have several vintage machines which could act as a back-up. The oldest is a 1897 Wilson and Wheeler Treadle which doesn’t currently work.  About 15 years ago, it was left at my brother-in-laws newly purchased house and he gave it to me.  I really like this machine even if it doesn’t work.  The woman who owned it was a dressmaker, so I can’t imagine how much it has been used.  It has many original attachments in a beautiful carved box.  There’s even a ruffling foot – am sure you needed it in 1897.

Wilson and Wheeler No. 9 1897
Carved Wood Attachment Box

The most recent additions were from our local second-hand store.  I paid $59 for the two and had them serviced for another $100 – they both work like a charm.

Singer 99 1941
Singer Spartan 192K 1959

Now that’s sewing security – never again will I be without a machine.

But I am out of space, so one or two of the seven will need to go.

Wouldn’t you agree that Kevin has been by biggest supporter – so many sewing machines as a surprise gift.  I feel so fortunate.

Wedding Photos

6.12.2010: A Celebration of Love

Exhausted and still numb, we’re just back from Megan’s wedding.  Before I hit the sack, I wanted to share a few photos.

Sisters - Megan and Angela

Caitlin, Mira and Aunt Megan
Bride and Groom

Cute shoes!
An ice cream break
Trying to prevent drips
Bridal party - a tired moment for Caitlin

The Wedding’s this Saturday

10 things to do when your daughter’s wedding is one week away

After many months of planning and sewing, Megan’s wedding is Saturday.  She’s lives in Minneapolis and we’re in Philadelphia so while I’ve been sewing, Megan and Chris have planned for and arranged all of the event details.  We’ll travel on Wednesday, which will hopefully allow us to relax and enjoy some time together before the big day.  This will also leave enough time to make another set of final alterations on Megan’s dress.  She has a sewing machine on call for me and I’ve left the bodice lining open for now, just in case.  The last fitting was in early May, followed by a few adjustments.  Fingers crossed on this one.

This weekend we were busy with last-minute details, so I’ve put together the top 10 things to do one week before your daughter’s wedding:

10.  Get rid of the grey.

9.  Press Kevin’s new suit, which was in need of some alterations.  I braved it and shortened the sleeves on his suit and my son Shaun’s.  I think they were feeling left out as I made dresses for the other family members, so they purchased suits that needed to be altered.  It was a little nerve wrecking as it’s years since I last did this type of adjustment.  Both turned out great.  In fact, someone should really do a tutorial on how to shorten suit sleeves – there was hardly any information on the web.

8.  Return Deb’s (future DIL) dress which needed to be hemmed.

7.  Purchase a back-up zipper.  Ever since Connie told me her horror story, I have acquired a case of “zipper anxiety”.  On the morning of her daughter’s wedding, she tried her dress on for a last look.  Connie noticed that her zipper was separating and she didn’t have a back-up.  She had to run out, find a zipper and put it in the dress before her daughter got dressed.  Now you know why I’m anxious.

6.  Pack.  Oh my, this won’t be a trip where we travel light.

5.  Finish my dress. It’s close but needed a hem and some embellishment.

4.  Vacuum – after making a dress from green Thai silk, we now have green threads all over the house.  Usually I’m able to control the proliferation of strings but not this time.  At least it’s a pretty color.

3. Pack up all of the remnants from the sewing – decide which do I keep and which go to the second-hand shop.

2. Sew bling on the wedding dress.

1.  Watch “Father of the Bride”.   There’s a family tale that in the last several weeks before DD Angela and SIL Stephen were married, Kevin was more intense than usual (maybe I, too was out of sorts but I didn’t notice).  Not being quite sure why there was this change in his behavior, I decided that a bit of comic relief was in order.  The Sunday before her wedding, we watched this movie – it was exactly what we needed to help us make it through this developmental stage of our lives.

Stay tuned for wedding photos in about a week.