It’s no secret that Britex Fabrics can be pricy. And overwhelming. And some of the sweet women who work there are like wonderful mothers-in-law–they dote on the baby while simultaneously pointing out her crooked bangs. (Hey, YOU try cutting a 16-month-old’s bangs, Ms. Sharp Scissors.)
But Britex is on my way home from work, and they also have a magical place called the Fourth Floor. Fake fur, felt, and remnants. Oh, the remnants. And joy of joys for our holiday season, VINTAGE remnants. After paying visits to Walgreen’s, Macy’s and Crate and Barrel, the RocketFam finally headed to Britex with me grumbling about making more work for myself. Just the thought of making homemade stockings made me count the weekends before Christmas–weekends already packed full of visits from in-laws, baby showers and holiday parties.
Then I saw the remnant. Red. White. Vintage. Kind of houndstoothy. $20 for two yards.
Yes, have some.
I snatched up a yard of red felt, a few fragments of faux fur, and by 9 PM that night, Eliza in bed and Magnum PI playing in a glorious marathon on my new favorite TV station (remember when they were stations, not networks?), I set to making a pattern for the most fabulous stockings any stocking had ever fabuloused. My method for making a pattern: taking the stocking we already had–something one of us picked up at a Walgreen’s, I think–and tracing around it. In fact, “tracing around it” has become my de facto method of pattern-making.
David insisted on having a more traditional stocking, so I knew his would be red with a white cap; Eliza’s would be the groovy vintage fabric; and mine would finish out the set in green. Because the vintage fabric is a thin polyester, hers is also lined in red felt, which makes it the schmanciest of the stockings; fortunately, I had the good sense to save hers for last, because I’m finding sewing is like pancakes: the first is pour chien, and the last is cranked out in no time, looking perfect. I sewed my husband’s first.
When I’d put the last stitch in the last stocking–after a full viewing of Harry Potter 6 on DVD–I was so pleased with my handiwork that I carried the stockings around the house, laying them in various positions. Picked them up, put them down; held them at arm’s length, and close-up. See what you think:
After all that, I still had quite a bit of the fabric left over, and I began ruminating on making a Christmas dress. Not one with sleeves or rouching or embroidery or anything so intimidating, but maybe just a simple pinafore. I looked for patterns online, and they may as well have been written in sanskrit, so I grabbed another pinafore she has, the trusty business section of the newspaper, and a felt tip pen. One trip back to Britex later (for snaps, rickrack, buttons and cotton voile for the lining), one viewing of “Trading Places” (one of my favorite Christmas movies), one crayon sketch of my idea, and I had this:
I’d already bought her a long-sleeved red shirt–with a Peter Pan collar, of course–to wear for the holidays, and I figure finishing it with red tights will complete the look. If, of course, I can get her to wear it. The 45 minutes I spent trying to figure out the best method for sewing on the shoulder snaps, followed by several aborted attempts to actually get her to wear the thing, have resulted in insta-tantrum when I hold it up. I have it currently stashed on a high shelf, hoping she’ll forget it exists by the time I get her to wear it. So we’ll have pictures of her in it in a few weeks.
In and out of my sudden craft explosion (and Dottie has turned me on to bias tape, which I’m dying to try; is this what falling into a K-hole feels like?), we’ve managed to decorate the living room. A corner of it, anyway. Our tiny tabletop tree is not something Charlie Brown would have appreciated, but I like the little guy, and I used the leftover green felt to make a bit of a backdrop for it. And, of course, when you don’t have a hearth, where else do you hang your stockings but the wine rack?
In case you’re wondering, I still have a ton of that fabric leftover. RocketMan suggested making a vest for him, which I think would be on a par with, oh, winning a Nobel Prize for Radical Awesomosity. In any case, I have to make sure we have enough leftover for next year–I have a fourth stocking to make!