Monday, September 20, 2010

My First Blog

As you know, Shruti has gone to Goa to those gorgeous white sand beaches, and I am filling in as guest blogger today and Thursday.  My name is Theresa Alsup.  My nom de modem is lw—for listening woman, which is my favorite Tony Hillerman mystery.  If you normally read Shruti’s blog, or Lane Wilhite’s ( or Mrs. Pyjamas’ (,) you’ve probably seen my comments.  I don’t have a blog of my own, so I seized on this opportunity to see what it would be like if I did. 

 The lesson I learned this weekend is that I should occasionally use my sewing machines for something other than quilting, so I can remember how.  My adopted daughter, Debbie, thought it would be fun to learn to sew and to use the sewing machine that I got her and her daughters this summer (if my evil plot succeeds, Debbie and her daughters will become addicted to sewing and I’ll have someone to quilt with.) 

 We decided to make a dress for Debbie’s youngest, Alyssa.  Somehow a tinier garment just seems less threatening—shorter seams, tinier pieces and all.  So we took a quick trip to the Cotton Shop in Redondo Beach, where the very patient sales ladies helped us find the right notions to make a little dress—I haven’t made a garment from a pattern in about 20 years and boy howdy, either they changed some of it, or I did not remember how to decipher some of the info on the back of the pattern.  I also disagreed a little bit with how the New Look people wanted us to go about making the dress, but as you will see, we “made it work.”

 We picked the pattern below, New Look 6361 because 1) it’s so adorable! and 2) it did not have a zipper, just elastic and halter ties.  This sounded about right for a first try (not that this lets Deb off the hook for setting a zipper, we’ll just have to get there in a couple of weeks with another project is all.)


Deb and I chose cotton quilting fabric to make the little dress because it’s easy to find pretty fabrics.  Cotton, wonderful fabric that it is, sticks to itself without having to do much pinning.  This makes it really easy to turn the hems and the casings for the elastic; a little starch, a little pressing and most of the work’s done for you before you even put it on the sewing machine.  Also, cotton drapes well, washes well and is very comfortable.

 Debbie started this project without even knowing how to thread the machine. At first, she had some trouble remembering to lower the presser foot, resulting in some pretty interesting snarls of thread.  The thread sometimes pulled out of the thread races, which also resulted in some spectacular messes, but she didn’t give up.  There was a broken needle (you really don’t have to push or pull the fabric, just guide it.)  There were a couple of seams ripped and re-sewn.  But in just a couple of hours, Deb was sewing seams confidently and her results are below:  a very pretty dress for a very pretty little girl.

 Alyssa added the shells herself, she liked how they go with the rick-rack—this is one little girl who can really accessorize. The kerchief we made is tied around her waist (her idea-- she’s a size 7 and we made the dress size 8, to give a little growing room and when she was putting it on, she insisted on it.)   A favorite day dream has my little adopted granddaughter winning Project Runway someday.


See you all Thursday!


  1. What happened to my images??? Yikes! I better try to upload them again.

  2. Beautiful! You guys did a great job - does the pattern come in larger sizes??? LOL! I love your plan to get her to be a quilting partner - what fun!

  3. Finally I'm seeing you post! Miss Alyssa is a true star ..perhaps she's going to be a designer some day?

    The dress is just beautiful.

    So nice to finally "meet " you Theresa!


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