Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Confessions of a Tenacious Tailor

I love dressing up. Not in evening gowns and formal attire. No. I’m talking little girl dress-up. I think that’s why I got involved in drama in high school. It gave me an excuse for wearing costumes.

When American Christian Fiction Writers announced a genre dinner at this year’s conference, I got excited. Since I write historical fiction, I have a perfect excuse to make a costume.

Let’s get one thing straight. I hate to sew. When I pull out the pin cushion and scissors, take the cover off the sewing machine, and clear the dining room table, my family goes into hiding. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a pretty good seamstress. I’ve been sewing since grade school. But I’ve done it because I had to—not because I wanted to.

I found a pattern for a bustle dress. (Yes, I write late nineteenth century romantic suspense.) The jacket looked a little tricky, so I asked a friend if she’d make it for me. She demurred. Should’ve been my first clue, but I forged ahead without her assistance.

I started with the skirt.
Easy. No problem. It gave me courage to continue. The jacket came next. Fitted. Fourteen pieces in the bodice alone. At least half the seams had to be ripped out and sewn again. <sigh> Determined to finish this if it killed me, I worked and worked.

Then came the overskirt. I made the size the pattern said matched my dimensions, but it was huge. Alter. Try on. Alter some more.

Finally. Finished. If you want to see the finished product, visit my Facebook page

I learned several lessons through this project. (Probably the reason God forced me to make this silly dress. =op Kidding. Just kidding.)

  #1 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  #2 Never trust pattern manufacturers.
  #3 Don’t assume you have the right sides together. Check.
 #4 And last, but not least, the next book I write will be Amish. (Just kidding.)

Have you ever taken on something (not necessarily a craft) that was clearly beyond your abilities? How’d it turn out?


  1. I can't wait to see you wearing this at the dinner!

  2. Hi Lora

    No one would know you had so much trouble. It's beautiful. Wish I was going to the convention, but I hope they have the on-line telecast like last year.

  3. I just hope I'm not the only one dressed up, Susie. I know I'm being silly, but there it is.

    Thank you, Elaine. I'm satisfied with the way it looks. (Just don't look on the back side. LOL!)I'm sorry you'll miss the conference this year. It would be so fun to get to meet all my blog-mates. :)

  4. My oh my ! A great seamstress you are.

  5. You did a beautiful job, Lora! How fun to play dress-up! Hope you enjoy a wonderful time at the conference!!

    1. Thanks, Britney. I know I'm probably too old for playing dress-up, but it sure is fun.

  6. For those who were around her during this period, any sewing project is truly a microcosm of the *other* creative process in which the blogger is involved, that of writing. Starts easy, many details and loose ends with which to deal, it can be trying in the middle, but so worth it in the end. [Full disclosure; I'm her husband.]

    1. Thanks, Bill. Hopefully, the seams in my writing aren't as messy as the ones in the dress. :)