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.