Cat Hair and Camisoles

You all know my whining about filthy clothes brought into the sewing room so this year I put up a sign on my huge mirror that states:

So this week a new bride arrives with a vintage dress she needs altering for her wedding and when we are all done planning out what needs to be done she says she has a “little something” for me to look at…are you ready?

She pulls a navy blue furry hunk of something out from her bag and it is so covered with cat hair I imagine she wants some repairs done to her cat bed. But, oh no, it is her winter coat that she wants me to take in at the waist so that it is skin tight. This makes perfect sense as it IS a loose wool pea coat made to be worn over winter gear like thick sweaters etc.

I start pinning and then she says she saw the clean clothes sign and she figured that it did not apply to her. I stupidly asked why she thought she was the exception/so darn special  and she replies that it is because the coat is from Old Navy. There is a very long silence where she is expecting/longing for me to say she is right but I say “There is a reason why that sign is necessary” and you are it. So she flippantly says “You don’t have to have it dry cleaned, I’ll just wear it that way”…oh…my mistake, my ignorance…the sign implies that I accept clean clothes or have them cleaned for the CLIENT’S benefit NOT because it is downright yucky to sew on filthy, soiled and pet hair embedded clothes.

Then I ask before she leaves…when does this vintage dress have to be finished/ or when is the wedding? Her answer…are you ready… I don’t know maybe some time next year or the next. So at least there is no rush to finish!

Starting with clean fabric is always a joy and this week I have finished 4 camisoles for 2 women who tell me that it is impossible to find 100% cotton types anywhere. They don’t want knit, they don’t want cotton/poly blend so off to JoAnn’s they go and buy dotted swiss. Then the challenge is to copy old camisoles that have been worn to death. The first one was cut on bias with a lace motif on the front center. I used the book Kwik Sew Lingerie

  as the camisole needed to be princess lines with thicker straps and cut on bias. This book has some beautiful designs and suggestions and a good range of sizes which can be traced off. I placed the old camisole over the pattern pages and found the size I needed allowing for that great diagonal stretch and traced away. Then I ordered some lace motifs from Farmhouse Fabrics and purchased some very pretty sheer floral fabric for another camisole.

I cut the paper pattern on the diagonal and sewed the pieces together. The client came for a try-on and loved the lace motifs so the only thing left to do was attach 1/4 inch wide flat lace to the armholes and necklines. Is there such an animal available? Well I searched all over the internet and finally found someone willing to send me a reel of Wright’s

The lace was first sewn to the wrong side and then flipped to the right side so the area next to the skin was not lace rubbing up against it.

The other two were made without princess lines and no lace, just purchased bias binding in different widths. The one camisole is from the dotted swiss like the first 2 and the final one is from Farmhouse Fabrics.


Next week I have a real treat for you…more 1980’s fashions but this time very designer high-end types that need bringing into the 21st century.

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6 Responses to Cat Hair and Camisoles

  1. Alethia says:

    The nerve of some people….ugh! I’ll never forget the day one of my clients came over to try her pant suit on that I made…she tried it on with NO underwear, and I had to make adjustments later, ugh!
    I need to adapt your sign, I’ve thought this so many times. People just don’t think or they don’t care.
    BTW, your lingerie pieces are beautiful!

  2. Teri says:

    Thanks for the wonderfully written stories . . . sure makes a person smile/laugh out loud! Are they true? hehehehe

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