Posts Tagged ‘ dolly ’

Patterns are my “puppies”

My friend B found a puppy store close to our job she visited whenever she felt down. The puppies just… cheered her up. Fixed her day. Got her out of bed sometimes. She tried at length to get me to go with but I never did. I like puppies and all but for me, “puppies” equals “patterns”.

So when I was having a lousy Thursday, I moseyed next door to the Hancock Fabrics to look with ladies through the pattern books. The older ladies who work and shop there are cheerful, calming, chatty. They want help with decisions, admire your choices, comment on the really crazy patterns.

Since my friend eventually bought herself a Boston terrier now named Mona, I took advantage of a $.99 sale and walked out with 10 beauties of my own.

Crazy Lifestyle Wardrobe and pajamas — I KNOW. (Actually, the line drawings look less ridiculous than the pattern photos) But look at the t-shirts that come with. One of them might fit Dolly.

A wrap dress with a proper V-neck. The one I have comes up too high and I feel old in it.

Boy’s shirts (and baby romper) in tons of sizes for my Mister, brothers, nephews. A good staple.

A hoodie that’ll fit snugly and not all naked. Can’t save the photo so it’s here. Look at the top, too. Love that.

Blouses and simple dresses for the summer.

And two Cynthia Rowleys I’m so geeked up about too. The sleeveless ruffled one would look amazing on my sister. The tunic one is going to become a staple and a stash-eater.

What to do with Dolly?!

My Mister gave me this t-shirt after a Dolly Parton show last year in Chicago hours before he gave me an engagement ring. Holy gee, does it get any better?

t-shirt-dolly concert

He even knew to buy me the biggest size so I could make it cute.

t-shirt-dolly concert back

And since May 8, 2008, it’s been hiding in my closet, waiting for inspiration to strike. I thought I figured it out, with a pattern from a trusted south suburban thrift store, for “Gorgeous tops” as the previous owner wrote.

Pattern-McCall's 3994

Her patterns were individually wrapped in plastic bags, as if she had been marketing them for sale? Her notes are all over this one.

pattern-McCall's 3994 notes

Pattern-McCall's 3994 back

I tried one in red knit I thrifted. Pulled it way in since the original pattern was too big. And shortened the sleeves, too, so they were… cappier. 

It was just waiting for a bottom hem. Only now I can’t find the darn thing. Or any pictures I may have taken. 

I remember, though, it wasn’t the one. The search continues for the Dolly top.  

Crafty Mister

My Mister asked if I would marry him. And he asked me after the Dolly Parton show in a photobooth of a Chicago bar where we (and Dolly) have some history. And it turns out he’s super crafty, having made a fantastic ring from one belonging to my grandmother AND having timed the proposal so the photobooth flashed while Promises were being made.

I am a happy, lucky lady. I have a fabulous man who’s mine for, as he now likes to snark, a Lifetime. And he gave me a token of that Lifetime fits me perfectly.

My father told me my grandmother also married in her 32nd year. Like me.

And my Mister’s grandmother’s advice was, “Never take the ring off. Ever.”

Done and done.

How to… cut a top from a bad fit

Remember this mess of a fit handed down from a cousin?

Boxy cut is too big in all the wrong places, stretchy fabric catches on tiny front hooks, red square sequins a bit much for most uses.

But it’s precisely those red square sequins that made this an irresistable keeper.

Enter Dolly Parton concert for inspiration. Dolly has no fear. She grew up dirt poor. She married at 20 and stuck it out. She takes all kinds of risks. She laughs it off when people are rude and tacky to her. And she loves to show off a bosom.

So take her moxie to heart, and give a big chop of something you know fits really awfully a try. Here’s how I did it (and it was a long time in the making):

1. REMOVE SLEEVES. I sliced through the shoulder seams to remove the sleeves whole. I also cut off the tiny hooks and eyes meant to hold the front closed because they caught on the fabric.

2. PULL IN SIDES. Fit to your body, pin and stitch well. What were boxy shoulders now are effortless cap sleeves.

3. CUT OUT A NECK. The front used to close all the way up – I wanted a loose V-shape, so I had to cut off the excess fabric from the original neck. Also meant pulling off, one by one, the sequins that line the edge.

4. FINISH NECK. Hem the neck by hand or with a binding. I sewed in grosgrain ribbon with the machine, then hand hemmed it over.

5. CLOSE IT UP. Tried a bunch of things to make this a top rather than a cardigan. Wrap-style with ribbon ties looked silly. Pinned the sleeves like a band to the bottom to hold the wrap felt too bulky. Finally – since I knew I wanted the sequins to stretch out into a design – I sewed two big snaps on the bottom corners.

The first set was sewn to the inside and a corner,

the other to the outside.

6. PULL OUT THE BOOTS AND GO. I’ll add a tiny ruffled cami top underneath, and a fitted denim skirt on bottom before going out in public.

and back

Dolly! This week!

She‘s coming this week and I’m all set.

View cinematic oeuvre (9 to 5, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, Steel Magnolias, Straight Talk). Check.

Check out old interviews on the Tube. Watch new video with Amy Sedaris, old musical specials on DVD. Check.

Learn words to Hard Candy Christmas, To Daddy, Tennessee Mountain Home. Check.

And now my bosom is ready to shine! I finished my fabulous TOP the better to sparkle along with the lady Dolly.

Lucky my Mister was stuck at work covering the Indiana primary until very late this eve, freeing me up to think about how to get this refashioned bugger to work.

If you recall, I started out with a giant boxy stretchy red cardigan jacket, handed down from a cousin. And I ended up with the Hottest Little Dolly Top in Chicago.

As always, there’s a How to… right here.