Monday, June 4, 2012

Sewing Ribbons

I went down to my mother's yesterday to take her to Walmart and to use her sewing machine. The walls in my apartment complex are so thin I don't feel like I can use my sewing machine.  It's a cast iron Singer made in the 1940s, very similar to the one my mother had when I was growing up.  I remember how much noise it made.  I wouldn't mind having a Pfaff.  Those are pretty quiet.

I have been in the process of making a new ribbon dress for a while. It took a while to cut out because I wanted to use the long tables in the craft room of an organization I belong to, the Keepers of the Circle.. The first two tries the room was already busy. The third time was the charm, as they say.

Now I have to sew the satin ribbon on the yoke of the dress. I spent most of the evening pinning on the three colors of ribbon in rows around the yoke. I just started sewing down one of the colors. I started having problems so I decided that was a good stopping point. I can see sewing the ribbons will take a while and I'll need patience.

The fabric is a print of pink and purple flowers scattered on an aqua background. I chose bright pink, purple and Christmas green ribbons to use. My mother liked it very much.  Ribbon shirts originated with the Cherokees, and ribbon dresses are derived from them. It is customary to let the ends hang loosely. They replace the fringe that was worn on the pre-contact deerskin Native clothing and represent prayers for the children and elders.

At pow wows I used to wear 18th century style clothing: a long-sleeved shirt, a wool skirt and leggings. I eventually decided the clothes were just too hot for summer and thought it would be nice to have a ribbon dress. I didn't do anything about it until I saw the tie-dye ribbon dress for sale and bought it. I really liked the dress. It was my only one, though, and I wore it so much it faded badly. I really miss the bright colors. I went into my fabric stash this winter to find fabric for 3 more, but alas, none are tie-dye.

I eventually made turquoise deerskin moccasins to go with my dress.  I guess I'll have to make another pair of beige ones.  The ones I had were too big.

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