Well hello there, Strangers. You’d think, by my lingering absence, that Summer had swallowed me whole and spit me out this side of August. And you’d be right. Thankfully I have regained some equilibrium in time to deliver our thrilling recap of this year’s Sugar Maple Music Festival. If you’ve hung around here for any length of time, you’ll know this to be an annual tradition for our family – one of music and one of clever Momma-made clothing slung out in a burst of marathon sewing that ends in a nail-biting photo finish, moments before leaving for the festival. The music this year was superlative; so too the clothes, if I may say.
The part that made the clothing so superlative was the company I found myself in while sewing them and the seemingly-long stretch of uninterrupted time I had to fuss over details like piping on pockets and hand-sewn invisible hems. The kids had been farmed out, the Mister out on business, and I had the whole place to myself for a string of hours that exceeded the tally of all my digits. I was, like SouleMama, as alone as person can be with a farmful of creatures in my charge. (It’s a new word – like armful, only farmy. And funny how the Universe conspired to give some of us Mommas a breather last weekend!) Without a single person MOMing me, I pieced together the digital Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress pattern and fussed over the very best way to use the precious fat quarter of bicycle-riding deer in Kei’s Tour de Forest fabric. I dawdled with the chickens, catching up on all the gossip I had missed by delegating that chore to Isadora. I hung laundry out to dry, reveling in the peace of it all and how wonderful it felt to balance a bit of work with play. I watched butterflies. And then I sewed like the wind.
This marks the last year of using the size 6m-4 Sketchbook Shirt pattern for this boy. I think I’ve made one in every size, which means I should know it by heart, right? “This is the first time I’ve sewn the tricky parts right on the very first try,” I was overheard telling Andrew, moments before sewing the collar on inside-out. I deserved that. Foreseeing more need for a Cowboy-style shirt, I took full advantage of the 50% off paper pattern sale at Oliver + S and ordered the size 5-12 version. We’re in this shirt for the long haul. (You have thru Aug.15 to do the same, but don’t delay. Paper patterns only; the coupon code is Aug2014) The fancy Cowboy-styled front yoke design is my own and not part of the pattern, but pretty simple to pull off if you’re so inclined.
And me? I was sporting a handmade dress of my own design, in that Nani Iro double gauze fabric I had hoarded since visiting Portland, ME. The brilliant part is that I sewed up that number a few months ago, which may sound like cheating but isn’t because this is my tradition and I make all the rules. I had intended to have my photo taken to document the dress and the wearing of it, but I hadn’t intended the photographer to be Madison’s Capital Times Newspaper. This shot was taken in the Jam tent, where all kinds of Cajun tunes were rolling out in a euphoric stream of magic. From my vantage point there, I was able to make eyes at this handsome gent who was strumming right along with them:
He was clad simply in a linen shirt I had not made but rather thrifted. If you had access to this man’s closet like I do, you’d understand that there is no shortage of shirts –Cowboy, Handmade, or otherwise– so there was no pressure to whip out something new for him. A man in linen, strumming a guitar and wearing our wedding ring–I’m not at all ashamed to say I went home with him that night. Wink, wink.
Sugar Maples of the Past:
2009 is here. No handmade clothes that year.
2008 here. None that year either.
Quite impressive tenure we’re building. Soon we’ll merit our own parking spot!