Saturday, October 17, 2009

Revelation #3: It 's Sew Barbie

Yes, I'm actually old enough to have had one of these penitentiary striped beauties. (Whose idea was that look??) It was my first Barbie and this is what she came wearing.

A bag. And some kind of wierd bathing suit.

No frills, no sparkles, no...shuuushh! So being a fashionista-in-the-making, this is where my allowance money went, toward Barbie clothes.

I bought this one. I loved this one.

And this one. Very Marilyn. Sparkly!

Apparently, I had a powerful, Cinderella fantasy going on.

But all these Barbie clothes were expensive and I was...well, eight and broke. Besides, I'd seen the patterns in the fabric store where my mother loved to shop. I had a sewing machine of my own. Of course you had to hand-crank it and it was seven inches tall, but that didn't deter me. Did you have one of these, too?
I decided to learn to sew so I could outfit my Barbie appropriately. Or at least economically.

And that's where it started. My love affair with sewing. Many little, eensy seams later, (Hey if you can sew an eensy seam on a Barbie pantleg, A-line skirts in Home-Ec are a piece of cake.)

I got a bigger machine. Clothes, though, were never my thing. I'm more crafty. I made baby quilts later when my kids were born, then little blankies for every baby I knew, long before they were the thing. This one I made for my first-born, my daughter, and in a few days, I'm giving it to her first-born, my grandson.

As my daughter grew up, I graduated to fabric purses and made a ton of them, just before they were coming into vogue. I gave them away.

Then everyone started selling them. Everywhere. I was behind on the selling curve. But I love figuring out how to make something complicated.

Then, because I was still broke and I began apologizing for my perfectly good-except-for-the-way-it-looked couch, I bought yummy Italian Chenille in downtown L.A. for dirt cheap, and a big, flannel sheet and made myself a pattern. I thought, how hard can a slipcover be?

Uh, it had me slapping the floor crying "Uncle!" by day four.

But here it is in all its flawed glory. It required quantum physics and jigsaw puzzle expertise--neither of which is part of my particular wheel house. That it actually fit the couch in the end was something of a miracle. But at least it feels delicious to sit on!

I'm not an artist like my sisters, so I have to settle for construction. But I've learned to live with my artistic limitations. I'm not sure what I'll try next, whenever I have a minute. But I'm sure I'll come up with something to drive myself temporarily crazy.

Do you sew? I know its a dying art, but I know you're out there! I'd love to see what you create.


Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Oh Barbara, I knew you were a kindred spirit!

My mother sewed all my clothes when I was growing up - and they never looked home made. I learned to sew as a teenager and made a lot of my oldest daughter's clothes. But 7 years later when my second daughter was born, I just sewed for essential repairs. I'd had my fill. I did sew my own wedding dress and it was long, lean, elegant satin brocade and fit like a glove and everyone asked where I had purchased it.

My mother handled the quilts and cushions - so never got into that. YOUR purses and quilts look amazing. And I would have lost my little mind trying to make a fitted, slipcover - bravo to you!!

I'm enjoying getting to know more about you like this. :)

Snap said...

I think sewing is just as creative and artistic as painting or ceramics or sculpture and all the others. You go girl!

stregata said...

I had a Barbie of that era - mine had wigs. She's a collectable now - of course, my mom gave her away. Oh well, that's life.
So, why do you think you are not artistic - how do you define artistic? Do you mean creative? I believe everyone is creative. We just express it in different ways. You are a writer - so you are creative and I do believe writing is one of the arts. There is a muse for writers, isn't there? I do sew, although I didn't pass sewing in home ec. Just not very much anymore.
Sorry for the lengthy comment.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I did have sewing lessons, but I didn't stay with it. I'm so envious of those who can sew, especially decorative things like quilts and hangings. And hooray for Penitentiary Barbie! Look where she led you!

A Palmer said...

I remember that Barbie! You also had the Ken doll. If I remember correctly his hair was this black fuzz glued to his head - not very attractive. You were always dressing your dolls in the pretty clothes and mine were riding in dump trucks in their original bathing suits. Eeek! Not an artist? Number one, you did a great job on the couch. I never would have attempted all. And you are an artist with your words - truly. It is your gift.


Sherry Byrum said...

Oh I had that very barbie. And my very first one was the black short haired version that is worth quite a bit now. LOL I always wanted the black evening dress. Thank you for bringing to mind such wonderful memories, when I was just a girl, and had not a worry in the world!!

Thanks for stopping by mine, I think I missed the idea of "party" but there's always next year.

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Not an artist? You aren't fooling me one single bit! Anyone at the age of 8 that can sew teensy Barbie clothes has it in spades. And then, let's talk about the way you write. Definitely an artist there!

When I was growing up, my mother always sewed our clothes...even the guys pants. It was such a big deal for the back to school days to head on out to the fabric store, gaze at patterns and then walk the rows of bolts finding just the right fabric for her to make into some gorgeous dress. We were all given a sewing machine when we reached 8th grade and unless we wanted to wear our last years frocks, we figured out right quick how to sew. By the time I opened the couture line for little girls dresses, I could do just about anything with that machine. I love to relaxing and such a great feeling when you can turn a piece of fabric into something no one else has. Unfortunately, I would have said more than uncle trying to cover that couch...gorgeous I don't have the patience if something takes me longer than a day to create..HA! That just might be another one of your revelations...patience!

challee said...

Those purses were a the best!! My friends and I all loved them! I used to love picking out the fabric and have you whip one up! I wish I was better at construction. Somehow I missed the boat on that talented

Barbara said...

Alicia--LOL! Patience....well, ask my husband how patient I was by the fourth day of that puppy! I'm like "Why the &@#! did I even start this??" He's like, "But look at it! It almost fits!" Argh...

Wow, a couture little girl's dress line??? I never knew this about you! How amazing! Someday you'll have to put up some pictures! I'm so glad to know you are one of 'the peeps', Alicia. :p) So glad to get to know you better. xo

Barbara said...

Challee--Oh, my sweetie. Thanks. I had a lot of fun making those purses for you and your friends. And speaking of talent, what about that gorgeous jewelry you're making?? You have a great eye and a talent for making it all work together. Simple and elegant. That's your style. I'd say you got some of the construction genes going on. xoxo

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