Tuesday, April 15, 2008

One Sorry Sari and a Giveaway Pick-Me-Up

Red Sari SilkSeveral months ago in a guest post at Design Mom, A Passage to India, I wrote about the beautiful things my sister brought me back when she visited my parents in Bangalore. Melanie brought me back hand-sewn dolls, peacock feather fans, mahogany boxes, cinnamon wood frames and silk tapestries but my favorite thing was the eight yards of gorgeous red sari silk you see here.

Deep and luscious, it was so beautiful I thought long and hard before I decided how to best use it. I wanted a dress--curtains or pillows would fade but a dress I could wear and use the fabric to full advantage.

Red Sari Silk DressSo I carefully combed the fabric stores for just the right pattern. This was harder than you'd think because the fabric had different designs on different sections. Some parts had borders, some had spots, some had lines and the end was a full 18 inches of brilliant gold embroidery that begged for my creativity. I needed a pattern where I could use the different sections of material for bodices, hems and cuffs in just the perfect way--easier said than done.

Anyway, I bought three patterns but ended up using one and it took me two hours to cut out the pieces--an hour and a half just to get up the courage to make that first cut--it was so difficult to place each piece so that the pattern on the fabric worked with the pattern on the dress but finally I sat down to sew and whipped it together in a couple days.

So the punch line? Among all my sewing expertise I made one gigantic error. The kind of error normally reserved for the Hubble telescope, an error so horrible, so enormous that those of you who can sew will smack your heads with the idiocy of it. The pattern I picked out was designed for stretch fabrics such as jerseys and knits, not for woven silk so even though I measured carefully and minded all my manners when I went to try on the top it didn't fit because it didn't stretch.

Yes, the neighbors heard my anguished wail.

Lily in Red Sari DressThe skirt fit fine but the top was so tight that Grace couldn't even wear it. I tried it on Lillian who complained a great deal and it fit her more than any of us but she wasn't interested in anything that wasn't pink, purple or princessy. Anyone out there wearing a 6X interested in a beautiful Indian silk blouse? Shalee? Maybe I can get Lillian to wear it if I bribe her.

I have enough of the eight yards left over to make another top, but the pretty gold embroidered spots are all taken and the best I can hope for is a solid red piece. I am in the depths of despair.

***

The Silver Needle Murder by Laura ChildsAnd in honor of my very, very sad sewing experience here's something to brighten things up. Laura Childs, the best-selling author of Frill Kill (a scrapbooking mystery if you recall) has another novel coming out titled The Silver Needle Murder, number nine in her Tea Shop cozy series.

There are mysteries for all tastes and interests and Laura Childs seems to have found a fun backdrop for her stories with the crafting and cooking themes. I like mysteries, I like crafts--so this sounds like the best combo to come around since peanut butter met chocolate.

This latest novel centers around Theodosia Browning and the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop who are catering the Charleston Film Festival. Unfortunately the famous director, Jordan Cole, gets shot on his way to the podium and only Theodosia can crack the case. If you're a foodie who likes caper capers (Ha! Get it?) this could be the novel for you and thanks to the kindness of Ms. Childs I have two copies to give away (actually she sent me three but I'm keeping one for myself). If you'd like to be entered in this lovely cozy giveaway then simply leave a comment on this post anytime until Friday midnight and I'll count you in. Good luck--I'll draw a winner on Saturday morning and publish the results this weekend. Happy reading!

***

Congratulations to Sheila of Sherman, Texas who has won the toddler books and music giveaway this week from DK and Barefoot Books.

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74 comments:

nor_lou said...

so sorry about the sewing mishap. My oldest is almost in size six and would love the blouse. Have you thought of taking the blouse apart and using the pieces in a new shirt for you? I have not sewn in years, I knit instead, but I feel your pain

Mean Mommy said...

Oh dear. That is just heartbreaking.

Sadly, my 6x is sprouting so fast, there's no way she'd fit it for long, but the book does sound fun!

Robin said...

Oh no, what a shame :(. Maybe you could add some extra side panels to enlarge it a bit?

I'm a foodie who loves mysteries, so that book sounds great to me.

Karen said...

I did that once. My Aunt brought back 10 yards of Chinese silk and I ruined the first 5 learning how to sew on it. Sigh. At least you have enough to make another jacket that matches the skirt. It stinks about all the pretty gold, though.

Count me in for the book. I am a book fiend of late!

michelle said...

My mom and I pass all of our Laura Childs' books back and forth. We would love to be entered for a new one to read.

I am so sorry to hear about your sewing dilemna. How heart-breaking.

Michelle
www.northofthe49.com
michelle (at) northofthe49 (dot) com

chelle said...

Gasp how tragic! I have just started sewing again. I cannot imagine sewing anything so breathtaking yet though.

The book sounds really neat.

Kim said...

As a fellow sewer, I can completely relate. I have a few projects that sit in a pile unfinished due to mistakes of one kind or another.

Please throw my name in the book drawing hat.

Nan said...

Oh no! Do you know anyone still in India, who could mail you the gold-embroidered end of another length? That stuff is so inexpensive, it might be worth it. The whole 8 yards would be heavy to mail though.

When I was pregnant with my third boy, I had FOUR weddings to attend. I bought 2 saris and wore them. It was the ONLY way to look elegant with a big belly! I mailed one to a friend in the states, and it is now curtains!

I came from Planet Nomad, by the way. Like the blog!

Jacki said...

But at least you can sew. I can't sew a straight line to save my soul. :-)

I've never read a Laura Child book, perhaps I should.

Katherine said...

That's a beautiful top. I second the suggestion to see if there's some way to salvage some of it for a new top for you. How utterly frustrating!

The book sounds very interesting. I'd love to win it! I'll also be hunting her books in my library.

Nicole said...

Oh my, after all that work! :( I adore saris and when I used to belly dance wore them all the time.....I must get back to dancing.

I have never read this author, but I love culinary mysteries so count me in!

Tammy said...

Oh NO! I would just cry and cry!

I have been reading some sewing blogs for a while, and one of the things that they do is make muslins. My grandma, a professional seamstress, taught me how to sew, and she never mentioned anything about muslins. But I have done it once now, and it isn't that hard. Yes, a little extra work, but you can work out the bugs before you cut into your fabric.

Do you have enough left to make a matching blouse/jacket?

lifemoreabundant said...

I applaud you! I mess up 1.99/yd cotton, I wouldn't even attempt silk! I grew up with a large Sikh population, and I've always loved Indian food and fashion, but I must admit, until reading Nan's comment, I had never considered a sari for maternity wear.

I'd love the book, by the way. I'm always looking for new authors.

Stacy said...

Sorry about the sewing mishap, that just stinks. That's pretty much why I don't even attempt to sew.

I'd love to be entered into the drawing too. It sounds like a very interesting book.

ChristyJan said...

Oh! I feel so bad for you. Could you take the top apart and make a patchwork pillow? Or maybe you could even just slip the top over a pillow form and somehow tie the sleeves?
I'd love to be entered for the book.

Patty W said...

Oh my goodness.... so sorry about the top but it sure is gorgeous ! Maybe some of it can be salvaged to use elsewhere?

I've not read any of these books, someone told me about them long ago and I forgot to check on them!

ShackelMom said...

I like mysteries too, I'm in!

I would never have had the courage to cut that fabric, so you still have my admiration!

Marie N. said...

Oh I empathize with your anguish! Is there any hope of finding a new coordinating fabric?

I'm too terrified to try knitting patterns that call for steeks, I have nightmares of all my stitches unraveling before my eyes.

Lis Garrett said...

My chin is on the floor, Michelle. I've had similar sewing experiences and I know how altogether sad and frustrating it is. But might I say that you did a lovely job?! Put it up in your etsy shop. You deserve to be paid for your hard work!! My Hannah would covet the top, although it would be too small - I almost forget that she is no longer a 6X, but an 8-10 (gasp!).

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sari is gorgeous!

I would love to win that book! I have heard that this series is very good, but just haven't got to the book store. THanks!

Linda
lindaelliott@mchsi.com

Anonymous said...

I've had too many sewing mishaps over the years to count - plus lots of successes.

Just read Dragonwell Dead - my first book By Laura Childs - and loved it!

Can't figure out this Google/Blogger thingie so will be anonymous...

Karen Barnett - MN

Jen said...

I'm always looking for new books to read!

I'm sorry about your fabric mishap. :\ Maybe whoever it ends up with will cherish it more than you know!

Chandra said...

I love sari fabric and that top is gorgeous. I would rethink the pillow idea even if it does fade over time you will love seeing it in a room you use often.

Beck said...

That book sounds like a lot of fun! I'd love to read it.

Heidi Hess Saxton said...

I was thinking that with all the lovely patterns make stellar quilt pieces (delicate, so it would be a "display" kind of quilt rather than a "snuggle together at the end of the day" kind of quilt).

The color is lovely. I'm so sorry for how the story unfolds!

Fuji Mama said...

Oh how frustrating! Especially after all of the careful planning and prep work that you did. :-( Well, I hope the book is able to lift your spirits a bit!

Naomi said...

Well, it is still lovely... so sorry you can't wear it, though. I feel your pain!

have you tried convincing Lillian that it's something PRINCESS JASMINE would wear? Roo would totally dig it, although she's usually a pink/purple tyrant, too. But seriously, try the ethnic princess route...

Nan said...

I KNOW! Go and buy a GOLD top. Take the skirt with you when you shop. That skirt would be stunning with a gold top. It would have to be very simple, sleeveless? Or would that be too, um, much?

Chris said...

Oh no! It looks beautiful on Lillian though. Tell her I said so, maybe that will convince her (works for my little one to get compliments from anyone but me). The book sounds like fun!

Susan said...

I wondered what that wail was a few nights back. What a total bummer.

I, too, have had my share of sewing tragedies - probably why I don't sew now that I'm older - my heart couldn't take it.

Thanks for offering us another goodie to win.
susan2009(at)gmail(dot)com

Blazing Goddess said...

This is why I don't sew! Terribly un-Mormon of me, I know, but you get me in a room with a sewing machine and it's war. Blood and thread flying. I've sewn over my fingers more times than I can count. But that is heart-breaking. After all that careful planning. *sigh* But it sure is beautiful.

Bunny B said...

That sari's lovely! It's unfortunate that you don't fit it! :( It sure dresses nicely on a lucky little girl!

And the book, it sounds delish!

Heather said...

That would make me want to poke my eye out with a fork!

Wish my daughter wasn't such a moose. She'd love it, but she's 5 and wearing size 8-10 tops. Of course there's always the Munchkin in my belly...

The book sounds interesting!

Cocoa said...

Darn it all! The fabric is exquisite too. We're trying to find a pattern for my oldest who wants a skirt and jacket similar to the one in the new Nancy Drew movie. It's hard when all you have to work with is the internet.

The book sounds like a fun read!

deborah said...

ooh sign me up. sari about your sewing mishap. I can't sew a button, but I'm sure I can figure something out with that beautiful fabric. gorgeous!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

oh sooo cool! I didn't know you made this! How talented!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

The blouse looks so lovely I would frame it and hang it on the wall.

Or could you rip the seams and add inserts to make it bigger? It breaks my heart to think it is useless. I made the same mistake when make pajamas for my daughter. They were lovely but didn't fit because they didn't stretch.

Traci said...

It turned out beautiful even if it doesn't fit. You are a very talented seamstress.
I'd love to be entered in the book drawing. I enjoy mysteries. Thanks for writing a great blog.

miriama said...

Oh, I am SO sorry for your mistake. I would have been devastated. Maybe used it in a quilt. Not that I can sew but I would have someone make me something...... Love to win the book.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

That's so sad! And precisely the reason I start to sweat just thinking about sewing.

Pencil Writer said...

Oh, the heartbreak! It's such a beautiful outfit! Was such a lovely sari. I think it would be really cool to wear a sari as a sari! Okay, I'm weird. But ther're so gorgeous!

Michelle, your picture reminds me so much of my aunt who also lives in Anchorage. I haven't seen her since my dad died in 1994. But, my uncle died some years ago, too. So, I guess you aren't my cousin. (I haven't seen my Alaskan cousins in years, or very often in my life.)

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

The book sounds like exactly the type of light reading I need for my bubble baths!

And about your sewing debacle - Bless Your Heart!

BlapherMJ said...

Oh no -- that must have been heartbreaking to work so hard and then have that happen! That fabric is absolutely beautiful. My daughter sews and I live vicariously through her creations... I'd love that book - please enter me. Thanks!

Heffalump said...

I think you should display the top. Get one of those box frames, or your very own 6x mannequin.
I think Lillian looks very cute in it, in an Anna and the King kind of way.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Definitely devestating. UGH! Although I have a daughter in a size 6, you can't possibly give that away to a stranger ;) You must find a little girl somewhere to enjoy it...preferrably one you can see wearing it.

As for the book, I'd love to be entered. I love a good mystery and have never read any of her books!

Kristin said...

I'd love a copy of that book! It looks so fun. Love the blog :)

GreenishLady said...

That top is absolutely exquisite. I can imagine the wail of anguish! That's much more than a dropped stitch or a pulled thread, after all!

Count me in for the draw for the book, please!

Tara said...

well... I have never sewn anything as lovely as that top :) even if you did mean it to be something else.

This sounds like a great book! Please enter me.
taradawnrobertson at hotmail dot com

Kim Priestap said...

Oh my gosh. I can imagine how heartbroken you are with your sewing mishap. Coincidentally, my dad's in India right now for business.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

OH DEAR! I am so sorry about your sewing tragedy - it turned out so beautifully. Any chance you will shrink to be that small when you're really, really, REALLY old? It'd be stunning at any age.

I like the sound of that book - sign me up!

cndymkr / jean said...

I love the whole idea of sewing. Unfortunately, I don't have the patience for inevitable mistakes. And your mistake would have had me ripping the entire thing to shreds. I don't know how stayed so calm. Seriously. You earned some serious bonus points for not freaking out.

I loved the scrapbooking mystery book series but I haven't yet read any of Laura Childs other books. Thanks for the chance to win!

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful coat! I'm sorry it didn't fit, but I have no doubt that you'll have MANY offers from people who will gladly take it off your hands for the little girl in their life.

Chief Family Officer said...

Try saying "one sorry sari" three times fast!

I'm sorry the dress didn't come out - I can only imagine the frustration. However, let me say how impressed I am that you actually made something out of the fabric! I hope you get some brilliant inspiration for the remaining fabric!

Jolene said...

this book seems right up my alley. Food and mystery! Love it!

page2 said...

I'm so sorry about your sari! All that work, and such beautiful silk. It doesn't seem right to put something like that in the kid's dress up box. I hope you find a good owner for it!

The Lazy Organizer said...

That is just about the saddest story I've even heard! I haven't sewn anything for myself in years. It's too much work!

jenny said...

oh how cute i realy love to well have this is realy nice

enigma said...

The dress looks beautiful but more like a kimono (too traditional even for India ;-)) , why not zazz it up by removing the sleeves (it would avoid the fitting of arm as-well-as make it a bit modern). Use the gold work at the end of the sleeve as piping around the arm (just a thin one) . Remove the stitching on either sides of the blouse then and attach them (from hopefully now removed sleeve cloth) to either sides of the blouse (it would look a bit crude but you can avoid a big single piece on the side by just stitching enough rectangular piece on the upper arm side (and lower body) and then making thin ribbon out of the cloth and kind of making it like braided ribbon (or herring bone pattern) on the side . http://www.prettysleek.com/showitem.aspx?id=430 (maybe a tomes down version )

Trish/MamaBugs said...

UGH!! You poor thing! I know some others have already suggested it but I think I would seriously consider using the jacket by taking it apart (esp. since no one it fits will wear it) and creatinglarge appliques or somehow piecing large portions of it into a new piece. Surely you would be able to create large lovely pockets, lapels, cuffs etc from it...no?
can you tell I am SO feeling your pain? I messed up some gorgeous kimono fabric from Japan once...and an antique quilt. It still makes me sick to think of it...

dhammatt said...

My motto is hot glue or die! I once hot glued a throw pillow together with a cross-stitch patern I'd made! Pathetic huh? But sewing machines hate me! BOOKS however are my new best friend since moving and having a baby 3 months ago in the dead of winter, what else is ther to do? Sign me up!

fullheartandhands mama said...

I'm sorry. It's beautiful though.

Blessed said...

So sorry about your blouse - that is awful - it looks gorgeous though!

That book would be awesome!

Trish said...

Those books sound really fun; even if I don't win one, I am definitely going to check them out.

I am SO sorry to hear about the fabric - how awful.

Richelle said...

It's beautiful! Too bad you can't wear it!

Marketing Mama said...

What a huge bummer on the sewing mistake! Ouch! I bet you won't make that one again. :(

MileHighMommy said...

I feel your pain! I'm always doing something silly when I try to sew...I'm thinking I just don't have the patience for it!
If it's any consolation, the top is still gorgeous even in a size 6X! You're a talented seamstress for sure!

This is the first time I've heard of this author, sounds intriguing. I'm always on the hunt for new, up and coming authors.

planetnomad said...

Oh--I feel your pain! Too, too bad.

Please enter me for the book drawing! I've read some of the earlier ones in the series and would like to see the new one, and share it with my Mum, who loves them too.

LisaC said...

I have so done that. I get so caught up in the design that I forget! The other mistake I make is assuming that the sizing is the same as when I buy pre-made stuff. The stuff I sew is always too small.
Lisa

Nancy said...

Your sorry sari story is so sad. I'm glad you figured out a way to salvage enough for another blouse. The book sounds like a good one for someone like me who loves all kinds of needlework, crafts and mysteries. Thanks for your giveaway.
njones127 at tampabay dot rr dot com

Shalee said...

Ha! I'm in a 7 now, thank you. Yes, I'm a big girl now! But it is a gorgeous shirt... I'm feeling the pain for you!

Pieces said...

Oh, I feel your pain with the sewing trauma. That is one of the main reasons I rarely sew clothes. Something always seems to go wrong with the fit. So very sad.

And the book looks great!

Anonymous said...

Believe me, I feel your pain regarding the sewing disaster! Been there; done that :-(

Looks like a fun read!

anne_c_taylor@hotmail.com

Janet said...

I bought fabric and a pattern for a dress for the Queen when she was 2. She is now 4. The fabric and pattern are in the cabinet. My new plan is to make a dress for our friend's child who the Queen refers to as her sister because Libby was born on her 3rd birthday. I have 8 months . . .
Mom just brought me Laura Child's "Dragonwell Dead." I like that series. Makes me want to go to Charleston.

Janet said...

I do realize that I'm late for the contest - I wasn't actually trying to enter. Just trying to catch up on blogging after being away from it for over a week.