Bewitched and Be Stitched
Posted Saturday, 2 November, 2019
Hello crafty people,
I hope that you all had a lovely Halloween for those of you who celebrate it.
It has been interesting to see it gain traction in Australia recently. I can’t help but get invested in all of the hype and ghoulish pop culture we see at this time of year!
For our part, we tend to keep things pretty low-key, but I’m sure that this will change as Flynn gets older. For the time being, I love to plan our simple outfits, bake something themed and watch some spooky (but not very) TV shows. I can’t go past old Addams Family episodes. I grew up watching the black and white reruns and always loved Morticia and Thing. Morticia, because I thought that she was so elegant and confident, and Thing because it was just cute!
Another favourite that I always loved watching is Bewitched. Though, even as I mention it, I feel I must caveat my adoration for the cast, costumes and mischievous antics with this observation: I loved Bewitched as a child, but never felt comfortable with the fact that Samantha had to suppress her powers to pass as mortal. I know that it was fundamental to the show’s storyline and have read articles arguing for and against feminist representation in the series etc. It’s just something that I reflect on now and again. I still love Elizabeth Montgomery’s character (Samantha). She’s intelligent, stylish and quick-witted. We all know that she’s the one running the show! I love Endora too (played by Agnes Moorehead). She always stirred the pot (fitting for a witch, no?), but she knew her (and her daughter’s) worth. Also, her eyeshadow was always next level!
Other picks include Sabrina (old and new series) and of course The Nightmare Before Christmas. So, no truly gory or scary favourites there, but I am just a sucker for happy stories and bright florals generally. That’s not something you get too often with dark tales. I prefer playful and spooky, rather than actual scary things. My imagination goes pretty dark without any coaxing, no additional horrors needed!
This year, I wore my Take a Bite brooch from Erstwilder’s latest seasonal release. I also opted for my current favourite dress, the Popover Dress, from Gretchen’s latest book Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses, sewn up in a cotton poplin from Gretchen’s own line at Spotlight (I had a quick peek online and couldn't see it available, but perhaps check Etsy if you're keen?)
My cherry/gingham fabric is so special to me as I have been saving it for ages. A couple of years ago, I attended a workshop taught by Gretchen in Brisbane and hosted by Kristina of Needlefruit. Gretchen made an example dress from this fabric and I didn’t realise until later that it was one of hers. There’s just so much to love about cherries and gingham.
As an aside, if you ever do have an opportunity to attend a sewing workshop or retreat with Gretchen, I highly recommend it! Reading online and learning techniques independently is one thing, but to go and meet likeminded people and learning from a sewing renaissance woman such as Gretchen is truly a gift. I won't pretend like it wasn't nerve-wrecking. I was so terrified of attending both days, even though everyone couldn't have been lovelier. It was just my own timidity (yes! I know. It's a surprise to those who know me, as they forget that I am terrified of meeting people). I was so afraid that I wouldn't make a good impression and that held me back. Years later, I'm still proud of myself for going, even if I was a shaking, nervously chattering mess...who I'm sure was very questionably perky. Fake it 'til you make it folks!
Although I cringe to think of how achingly uncool I was, I would 10/10 do it again. There's something so special about making sewing connections.
A word to the wise though; wear a nice bra when attending sewing and fitting classes. You will be required to (discreetly) get fitting assistance at some point. While I'm sure your instructor, like Gretchen, will be a consummate professional, my daggy brassiere choice still haunts me! I'm totally going to be one of those nanas who reminds everyone to wear decent underthings in case they get hit by a bus!
- I sewed my dress according to the pattern. The only alterations that I would make next time would be to hollow out the underarm piece a little for comfort and take a little of the height off the shoulder length. As it is, it’s completely wearable.
- This really is a Jiffy Dress. I didn’t time myself making this, but the construction was simple with minimal pattern pieces. I was so excited when Gretchen announced this book as I love the vintage Jiffy Dress patterns that I have in my collection. It’s great to have this book for reference and inspiration.
- The Popover Dress would be a lovely beginner project. There’s no closures or difficult techniques but the overall effect of the dress is lovely. I wear mine without a petticoat, but for extra drama and structure this style is totally compatible with foundation garments (as modelled by Gretchen in the book and online).
- Also, a tip for when you're wearing the dress - you can use the little ties to join your bra and your sleeve so that you don't have to deal with stray straps.
My final bit of Halloween to share is that I am so pleased that we were able to continue the tradition of carving a pumpkin for Flynn and setting him up in cute fancy dress. This year’s photograph didn’t reach the comical heights of Flynn’s inaugural pumpkin encounter (see here) but it was so sweet to see how much he enjoyed spending some time outside with his little witch’s hat and gourdy friend. The hat was a big hit! I wasn’t expecting him to love it so much but he found it hilarious.