Look what I did!

I spy, with my little eye, something that looks like a Lady Grey!

Oh, oh!

Oh, see!

See what I did?

Look, look! Funny, funny sewing.

Sorry. Syo’s on a Dick and Jane kick, believe it or not. My aunt gave her a set of board-book reprints featuring such classic tales as “Jane and Mother” and “The Funny Baby.”

Now, I’m a big fan of classic children’s books. Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss; Robert Munsch and Dennis Lee (those two might actually be Canadian phenomena, but they still rock). A dozen more that I could reel off. Top-notch children’s literature is critical, not so much for the kids—they’ll listen to pretty much anything—but for your own sanity, because you’re going to be reading these books again and again and again. I think I made my parents read me “The Secret Garden” seven times when I was Syo’s age.

… But somehow “Dick and Jane” were notable in their absence in my literary upbringing. Β I suspect my mother may have had an active role in this, although maybe it was just the 80s. I was sort of under the impression that “Dick and Jane” were dull, cruel readers that children of an earlier time were forced to read in grim school-rooms, probably under threat of The Strap.

Apparently not. Apparently, they are fascinating, enthralling masterpieces of prose for that child on the cusp of literacy, craving the familiarity of a limited, repetitive vocabulary. Apparently the serene, white, nuclear world where Mother vacuums in heels and pearls while Dick and Father throw a baseball and Sally ties Spot’s ears above his head so they don’t splash in his water dish, is just what my younger daughter relates to.


At least she’s reading, right?

As long as no one’s expecting me to vacuum in heels. Pearls, maybe.

Anyway. Look at that! Genuine Lady Grey progress! I laid out my fabric (this is the remnants left after Tyo’s Russian Princess Coat). There was just over 2m of the red (although functionally not very wide since it’s so off grain) and just under 1m of the black. And, I had enough fabric! The belt may be touch and go (I’m not worrying about it at this point… worst case scenario it will have a seam down the centre and lining fabric on one side), but I had enough! The collar and facings will be black, which I think will be supremely striking.

I managed to squeeze both fronts and side fronts and a collar out of the 2m of (very narrow) hair canvas I had bought a while ago, but there won’t be enough left over for a back stay, which I would really like this coat to have, so I’ll have to pick up more. I also didn’t have quite enough of the super-light-weight interfacing I used to stabilize the whole back pieces (this is a knit fabric, remember, with a disturbing amount of lengthwise stretch), and I can’t find the rest of the pattern to cut the lining, but I did what I could with what I had today, and I should be able to keep busy with the hand-stitching until I can make it to Fabricland to get the other bits and pieces. Hopefully the rest of the pattern turns up before I need to cut the lining, otherwise I’ll be winging it. Which, given the number of fitting tweaks I made might not be a bad idea, but I’d like to have the option, anyway.

If Tyo’s coat is the Russian Princess Coat, will that make mine the Czarina Coat?

Coat back. Ready to catchstitch down the seam-allowances by hand.


See Tanit-Isis! Look, look!
See Tanit-Isis sew.
Tanit-Isis sews and sews.
Funny, funny Tanit-Isis.



Filed under Sewing

19 responses to “Look what I did!

  1. it is absolutely the czarina coat! if syo gets bored with the regular dick and jane’s, check out dick and jane and vampires πŸ™‚

  2. oh and “the paperbag princess” by robert munsch is still one of all time fave kids books πŸ™‚

  3. Ha! I remember Dick and Jane books. If I remember correctly, they progress and get a little more interesting, writing-wise. Good luck with the Lady Grey! πŸ™‚

  4. Hehe, I have vague memories of Dick and Jane, so we had them here in Australia too! And if I *could* vacuum in heels and pearls, I would!

  5. Corinne

    I read every Dick and Jane. And you are correct, it is the simple story constructed in familiar surroundings for the child (at least in simpler times) with word repetition that builds a framework of comprehension. These stories were the basis of life-long reading and literary pursuits for many. Hope your little sweetie loves them. On the antique market they have good value, depending on the condition by the way. The Lady Grey in that red wool will be stunning! I think the look will be more Lara Antipova (Dr. Zhivago) on you! Mother and Daughter look…..very Dick and Jane too:) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Is that ironic coincidence or what?

    • Lol! Fortunately, ours are modern reprints. I’d hate what my kids would do to a treasured antique. I’ve never seen Dr Zhivago (shocking, I know), I’ll have to go look it up.

  6. Awesome, glad you had enough to make it work! I unfortunately haven’t even tried to rework my muslin. Maybe one day…

    As for Dick and Jane, I’m sure its just a phase.

  7. Andrea

    Good for you on the Lady Grey! I worked a little bit on mine yesterday, too. But I didn’t get nearly as far as you did. Something about the damn hand sewing that makes me procrastinate… but you’re motivating me to keep plugging away.

    • I like the hand seewing because it’s more compatible with family life. But if I wasn’t expected to step away from the machine and watch mind numbing TV with The Fam, as my hubby puts it, it would be pretty boring. With good background noise, it’s pretty relaxing, though. πŸ™‚

  8. There is a part of me that wants to sew a Lady Grey too (ordering the real pattern too), but another part is not ready to do more padstitching for a while…

    • I totally hear you there… I think once I’m done with this I will be done with coats, at least the tailored ones, for a while.

      … of course I do keep saying I’m going to make a blazer…

  9. I don’t know Dick and Jane, but I am guessing it’s familiar to our ‘Jip en Janneke’. Mothers vacuuming in high heels and pearls (I do that too, by the way. The heels that is. The pearls maybe, sometimes. Does that say something about me?), Fathers who are strict, but fair, the moral every story… And ofcourse Janneke wants to become a good mommy and Jip wants to be a carpenter when he grows up. Is it a good match with Dick and Jane?

    Anyway, your coat looks very promising. Can’t wait to see it on you!

    (PS. I just mentioned you on my blog as an inspiration. Thought you might want to know what unusual (for me, at least) thing you inspired me to sew ;-))

  10. I looooved Dick and Jane when I was about 5. Exactly as you said, familiar words in repetitive patterns that a beginning reader can read without help. Great for building independence (although not necessarily of the gender sort). My only recollection now was my love of the story “Puff’s On TV!” (Puff being the kitten, of course). When everyone figures out that Sally means Puff is sitting on the TV, not on a TV show… oh my goodness. That is just the funniest joke EVER.

    When you’re five. The height of humor, trust me.

    • Funny, funny Puff!
      … y’know, I think I can pretty much picture that whole story already πŸ™‚

      I have a similar fondness for Hop on Pop, I suppose. Unfortunately this means that it’s not very useful as a reader, since I’m pretty sure Syo’s had it memorized since she was four. πŸ™‚

  11. Sewista Fashionista

    I was raised by my great-aunt who never onced vacuumed in heels. Knit pants and tops with matching slippers seemed to be the housecleaning choice of she and her friends. (They had dumped the aprons by the time I came along in the 70’s.) Too bad the advertising and media of the time depicted them as silly, because I remember them as very sensible lovely ladies. Like you Aunt Marg rolled her eyes at the images of vacuuming in party outfits πŸ™‚
    I remember being forced to read “Dick and Jane” as they were assigned at school. After she masters this early phase of reading she will zoom onto all kinds of other things. Fun. I remember being quite charmed with “Frog and Toad”.

    • Frog and Toad are some of my favourites (as are the Mouse Tales which I think is the same author)… we have a number of them. They’re still a bit hard for her, although we take stabs at them intermittently. πŸ™‚

      I suppose if one must vacuum, doing it dolled up as if for a party might make it more bearable… I still can’t see the heels, though.

  12. Progress is made! It’s been so cold here that I’ve just been wearing my heaviest coat and have back-burnered the intermediate weight coat project I had planned. I’ll get to it eventually.

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