Friday, July 1, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: My Most Difficult UFO

 This week's challenge was a difficult one for me. We were asked to complete an unfinished object in our sewing pile.  I've been carrying mine around since 2007 and only began work on it this year.

My friend, Claire, was, without a doubt, the best seamstress I have ever encountered.  She quilted, made corsets, petticoats, sheer dresses - you name it, Claire had conquered it.  I remember one time in the costume shop when she was commissioned to make a petticoat that must have had five yards of fabric that needed to be gathered.  She and I thought it would be fun to get inside of the petticoat before the gathering began and dance around in it.  While I have no pictures of this, it makes me laugh like hell every time. 


Our favorite activity was to clean the fabric wall and admire the thousands of pieces of fabric that waited to be made into costumes.  We loved handling and organizing it and possibly plotting what we would make ourselves if it was ours.  One day, I tied a larger piece of knit around my shoulders as a cape and told Claire to start running.  She started running across campus and I chased her, finally tackling her and pretending like I was biting her neck.  The other students never noticed.  Hilarious, ya'll!  I still have that fabric and whenever I come across it, I have to laugh.

Claire had the best laugh.  Believe it or not, it sounded like bubbles popping.


After college, Claire moved to Virginia with her fabulous fiance, John, where he was going to attend graduate school.  Before she left, she passed on some of her sewing projects to me.  One was a blanket, and one was a shirt.  Both projects had been cut out, but neither had been started.

While Claire was in Virginia, she was diagnosed with leukemia.  I would call her to talk about sewing, or her wedding planning, or how her treatments were going.  In June 2009, I got a call from John saying that she wasn't doing so well and they were going to get married in a few days.  I hopped on a plane the next morning and flew out to see my wonderful friend get married to the man she loved.  On June 14, 2009, my loveliest Claire Bear lost her battle with cancer.

I miss her all the time.
 

I decided it was time to conquer at least one of the projects she had given me.  I pulled out her shirt pattern, McCalls 4304, and the awesome plaid fabric pieces that were ready to be sewn.

I had to make quite a few adjustments.  The pattern was cut out two size smaller than me, so my seam allowances are itty bitty, and I needed to create a neck band and ties to finish the look of the shirt.  After much experimentation, I came out with this:


Rob was telling me jokes to get me to smile, because there were quite a few tears involved with this project.

I love this shirt, and I am glad it is done.  It reminds me of my fabulous seamstress friend, and how she always had a solution for any sewing dilemma...like the time I was costume designing Tortoise and the Hare and she made tennis shoes with frog flippers on them for one of the characters .  Genius, pure genius. 



Dear Friends, if you have read this far, I thank you for letting me share this emotional unfinished object story with you.  It has made me laugh, made me cry, and made me want to pull out my needle and make something awesome... just like Claire did.

18 comments:

  1. Your story made me tear up and smile at the same time. It's such a gift to have a friend like that.

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  2. Thats a fantastic story to your blouse Meg! Its so sad when you lose a person you love, I'm sure Claire would be really proud of you for finishing up the project! xx

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  3. I was going to comment how nice the fabric goes with your hair when I saw this aon the sewweekly, but now I just want to go and hug my friends... what a precious memory.

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  4. What a sad story, well done for finishing it Meg. I bet it will be an even happier reminder of Claire now as a shirt than as a UFO.

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  5. What a beautiful story of a really meaningful friendship. Thanks for sharing this, Meg!

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  6. wow... my only response is to send hugs. What more could anyone want that to be remembered with such love.

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  7. <3 I think of her every time I sew. She left us with a ton of wonderful memories and though I miss her dearly, she is still with us every day... and she introduced us to each other, which is another great gift

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  8. What a beautiful tribute to a dear friend. She was clearly an angel on this earth and to see you complete the shirt she gave you is wonderful.

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  9. It is so awesome that you finished the shirt your friend started. I can't read any kind of story like this without tears in my eyes. Your shirt looks very nice and hopefully has wonderful memories of her with it.

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  10. Oh My - what a sad/lovely story. How special that blouse is - wear it knowing that your friend is "wrapped" around you - she would be so proud.

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  11. Aww She would be so happy that you finished it, it looks great on and its extra special to you too. Now I think you should get cracking on that blanket and she will be even more proud of you! :)

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  12. I actually just came across those sneaker/flippers while cleaning up the shoe room the last week of classes. While I never met her, I've heard plenty of stories from Laurel. It's so great to see that the shirt she started works so perfectly for you, as well! =)

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  13. This story brought tears to my eyes.

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  14. crying right now. but also admiring and adoring your post and honor to Claire. what a beautiful and talented person she was and you did this shirt justice! thanks for sharing, darling :)

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  15. Meg, thank you for sharing this story, it made me a bit tearing too ... She is proud of you I am sure. You are a very couragous friend ! well done ...* BIG HUG *

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  16. i've missed so much this past couple weeks...

    what a gorgeous post and a beautiful tribute to your friend. i love you and i don't even know you... so i know you were a big old ray of sunshine for each other.

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  17. Oh Meg! What a beautiful post and what a beautiful friend! The blouse looks amazing and I'm so glad that you were able to finish it! I know she would have been so happy!! **HUGS**

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  18. Found you through Sew Weekly. Very tender story about your dear friend and the love you shared with her. I just happened to cut out that same pattern last week for my daughter. Now that pattern is even more special because it will remind me of the love, laughter, and special bond the two of you shared.

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