Just because I haven’t mentioned my knitting lately doesn’t mean I’m not knitting. Here is Jasmine, with the last sleeve about halfway done.

And here you will find new yarns from Knitpicks. I’ve only used their Wool of the Andes so far, but am awaiting a shipment with a couple of others to try out.

Yesterday was a productive day. I had breakfast and shopping with #2 son, and talked about his summer assignment (due tomorrow)and cynicism and friends and haircuts. I tried to persuade him to approve the purchase of the lovely eggplants offered by these cute little boys at the market.

He did not agree, and we ran into The Empress and That Man at that very moment and they supported him. Even when I described how deliciously it could be prepared, with garlic. You can’t really buy a box of eggplant if there is just one eggplant-eater in the family.

We talked about music and vegetable recipes and computers, and then #2 son and I carried on to buy more fruits and vegetables.

I took #1 son to lunch and we talked about his senior year and future plans and music and languages. Then I went to get lace for my PSD, and encountered a friend in the yarn aisle. We talked about her latest project (a beautiful silk baby hat she had in her purse), the difficulty of finding good quality ribbons, buying locally versus online, the clothing needs of the elderly, our kids, blogs, denim yarns, the LYS, and knitting books. I also talked on the phone with both my daughters (music and the events of their lives), and discussed current events with my husband.

Having completed all this socializing and errand-running, I began in the afternoon to work on my sewing project.

It is Folkwear 223, “A Lady’s Chemise.” Since it was a Folkwear pattern, you will not be surprised to hear that I spent the first hour tracing, marking, and trying to figure out how the blasted thing went together.

Then I spent three hours making the tucks. I was also watching or at least listening to movies, so it was not arduous, but it did cause me to remember a conceptual artist I once met who had done an installation consisting of miles of tucked muslin called “Tedium.”

We asked her how it had been received, and she said “The critics liked it” with a shrug.

This is not muslin, but a remnant of Cuddleskin I was fortunate to find during our Memorial Day fabric shopping trip. This fabric is also known as brushed-back satin. It is satin on the outside, but brushed like flannel on the inside, and lovely to wear. It is as light and cool as nylon tricot without the sleazy slippery feel.

Here is the sad part. Following all that tucking, the next step is to cut the

neckline. All those hours of tucking, and as you can see, hardly any of it remains on the chemise.

The piece at the top is the cut-away part, which is simply discarded. The piece at the bottom is the chemise itself, with the remaining tucking nearly hidden by the lace edging.

Having gone through this process on the front, I decided to use simple released pleats on the back. It gives a more billowy effect, and I am quite glad that I did the tucks in the front. When I make this pattern again, I will do the tucks on both sides.

So as not to let all that tucking go to waste, I used the cut-off piece to make a sachet. I keep dried botanicals from my garden on hand, along with essential oils, so it was no great effort to prepare some potpourri for the sachet, and it will be nice in a drawer or hanging in the closet.

Here’s the edging for the chemise. I applied the lace directly to the edge, turning under the fabric with the needle as I sewed, and then did a line of stitching along the beading.

Since I’ve found in the past that the drawstrings of chemises aren’t functional — that is, I just knot them and leave them, rather than loosening them to remove the garment — I adapted the neckline to use the same edging, rather than the separate beading and ribbon called for in the pattern.

This simplified the process significantly, and I feel that it worked out just as well, though it is presumably less authentic.



Here is the finished chemise with all its frills and furbelows.

I consider myself too old to wear a lot of frilly stuff in the daytime, but I think you can wear fancy nightgowns all your life.

And I suppose there is a point at which you become a little old lady and can wear lace caps.

Little old ladies do that in old novels, though I have not seen it in real life.

Lace shawls, then.

This nightgown goes well with my bedroom, doesn’t it?

I would definitely recommend this pattern. It is not complicated, and not difficult once you get past the tucking. Those who can do pintucking on the sewing machine would probably find it quick, even. I prefer hand sewing to machine sewing, myself, and am better at it, so I don’t attempt to speed up by using the machine, but it could be done.

When I made #1 daughter’s wedding dress, we had to call in a professional seamstress for a final fitting issue. She showed me how to do the hand applique I was doing on the machine, and hers looked fine, but really not as good as the handwork.

It also goes well with my bathrobe, which is a red silk kimono. This matters, because I certainly could not answer the door in the chemise. Too diaphanous. The pattern does recommend it as a summer dress, though, and you could do it in a nice cotton for that purpose.

So this is the completed July Sew Retro project.

In truth, it isn’t complete, since I have not quite finished the hem, but I wore it last night anyway, and shall finish the hem today after church, so I will squeak in before the deadline.

Otherwise, I am continuing with my program of serious summer lolling.

I may make some salsa, too.