Tuesday, 23 August 2011

the sad occasion dress

At the risk of turning this blog into a soap opera, we've had another week of dramas around my house.  Last Wednesday my grandfather passed away, which given he was 93 was not unexpected but still rather surprising since the last time I saw him a few weeks ago he actually looked healthier than he had in a while.  But it is also a relief that he has finally let go - 93 is a long life and he had been rather sad, anxious and in despair at his failing body.

But that is not the soap opera part.  My rather obnoxious uncle had organised the funeral in the hours between my grandfather's passing and him informing the rest of the family of my grandfather's death.  So not only did my uncle exclude the rest of us in organising the details, he organised it for 5 days after my grandfather's death despite knowing full well that my parents (my grandfathers only other son) are in the desert of Western Australia somewhere on a holiday.  For those of you not familiar with Australia, Western Australia is far far away from Sydney.  He would not change the day either even though we could not reach my parents.  Luckily two days before the funeral my parents finally came into a small town, got some mobile reception and finally heard the news.  Several flights later on very expensive air tickets they managed to get back just in the nick of time much to the feigned relief of my uncle.

But that is not the end of the soap opera part.  The exact same thing happened when my grandmother died about 4 years ago.  Yes, the exact same situation.  My parents were on another holiday this time in the Cape York bush (again far far away from Sydney) when my grandmother passed, and my uncle once again organised the funeral a few days after her death without consulting anyone else.  And again my parents had to rush home to make it in time for the funeral.

The annoying thing is that my uncle was not even that close with my grandparents, and yet he felt he had the right to try to exclude my parents from being able to farewell them. My grandparents were actually living with my parents before they went on their Cape York holiday, and my grandparents had gone into respite care for two months only while my parents were on holiday and afterwards my grandfather continued living with my parents until recently when he was moved into a nursing home.

But this is a sewing blog, and despite a glimpse into other people's family politics being fascinating in much the same way as driving past a car accident, let's have a look at the cute dress I made for Anna to wear to the funeral.  I ummed and ahhed about whether to take her, but I did in the end because the service was held an hour and half away from her childcare and I didn't want to be in a rush to get home to get her in case things went too long.  She behaved herself well though, sitting quietly through the service and then being cute and bringing some much needed distraction and levity during the wake.

Since all of her clothes are brightly coloured in typical toddler fashion I thought about making her an old fashioned style black dress with a white lace collar but was worried that would look too Wednesday Addams! So I made view 1 (the black dress) from this vintage Style 2168 pattern, which is from 1979:


from this fabric which is actually a maxi skirt my mother made and wore in the 70s.  It's a lovely brushed cotton with a pretty floral and graphic print and suits the dress perfectly:


The fit is spot on too, which surprised me since I've found that commercial sewing patterns, especially the vintage ones seem to run large but this one was perfect.  It has an ultra cute peter pan collar, bell sleeves which are cinched in at the wrist with elastic and puffy shoulders. 





Paired with some purple stockings (my choice) and a leopard print jacket (her choice) it was the perfect choice for a sad day.



And now I hope to get back to some regularly scheduled posting. Life without dramas is always best don't you think?

36 comments:

  1. I love the dress and the jacket is just right. I deal with dressing a three year old often and she must pick out what she's wearing. One day her mother left a cute outfit for her to wear and her comment to me was, "No, I want to wear something nicer!" Happy sewing.
    Gita

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  2. So sorry to hear about the family drama. My grandmother's funeral saga still makes me cringe when I recall the "drama" of 25 years ago. Definitely about siblings having their own power struggles, jeesh. But what a lovely dress you were able to sew despite the turmoil.

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  3. Sorry to hear about your Grandfather... and the family dramas. Everybody's got one! (sibling like that I mean)
    Wow isn't Anna growing up! Her dress looks lovely and I love the pop of colour in the stockings - good choice.
    (much more interesting reading your drama than doing data analysis!)

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  4. What's with people anyway? My mother wanted to be cremated. I her locality that could not happen unless all of her immediate survivors, i.e. children, signed off on this. My siblings had decided not to tell me she had died and used the excuse that they could not locate me. I have a surname with a very unusual spelling so that didn't fly with me. Ultimately, they "located" me only because they needed my signature. I too have discovered that vintage childrens' patterns run large. It causes me probs when my granddaughters are not handy to be fitted and their mothers specify a particular size. Oh well, they grow into them, I guess.

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  5. So sorry for your loss. The family drama only deepened your pain at losing him -- my sympathies to you. You were wise to take your daughter to the funeral, imo. Children need to learn that death is a part of life; and learning how adults behave in public at a funeral is a valuable life lesson. She looked adorable and completely appropriate. Sewing up that darling dress was surely a needed distraction for you, as well.

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  6. Im so sorry for your lost and you & your family have my condolences. I hate how people can be so inconsiderate when a calamity like death touches the family.
    Nevertheless, I love that dress pattern and it turned out lovely.

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  7. Sorry for your loss and the uneeded family stress.
    However,your little girl looks darling and the dress was so appropriate,
    Terry

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  8. Her dress is perfect and I love that you refashioned it from grandma's skirt. That seems very appropriate. I' sorry your uncle was so difficult. It's interesting what difficult times will do to people. Not so good, in this case.

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  9. Every family has some type of drama during times of loss. It is hard enough without the drama, but it always seems to come. My condolences to you and your parents.

    The dress you made was the perfect choice.

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  10. Sorry for the loss & the ensuing drama. It's really too bad that you can't choose your family, isn't it?

    The dress is lovely & very appropriate for the occasion you made it for. Anna is adorable in it, as always.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss. Your daughter looks darling in her new dress, she is growing up so much.

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  12. sorry to hear about your loss and the family quarrels. The dress is beautiful and I am sure your grandpa has appreciated your thought. Take care

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  13. I'm so sorry about your loss. I'm sure everyone was glad to have Anna around. When did she get so tall?

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  14. I'm sorry for your loss and family drama that you had to deal with. Sigh. I've experienced similar drama during deaths in the family and while my feelings were hurt/trampled on, I do try to remember that the other parties were in mourning, too. It's a weak explanation, but I do take some comfort in that thought.

    I do like your daughter's dress--very charming and appropriate for the occasion.

    Rose in SV

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  15. Sorry to hear of your grandfathers passing and all the drama that came with it. I'm sure that he is up in Heaven tisk-tisking your Uncle, but having a very wonderful reunion with your grandmother!
    Glad that your parents were able to make it back in time. We found that if/when we have to make flights to attend funerals (at least family funerals) that the airlines will generally give a discount. Just a thought.
    Anna's dress looks very cute... and there is nothing like a cute little child to lighten the mood at a funeral.

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  16. Sorry to hear about your grandfather and it's sad that it happened this way. Even when you know it's about to happen, the death of a loved one packs a punch. I'm dealing with my own share this week, too. Anna's dress is lovely and I am shocked at how big she is now! I'm sure your grandfather would appreciate how lovely she is.

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  17. Sorry to hear of your grandads passing. We lost our grandad age 95 3 weeks ago,and am still annoyed how my brother and I found out. My thougtless cousin posted it on facebook! Your daughters dress is beautiful, I love the colours. Keep up the great sewing.

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  18. My condolences with your grandfather, but even more with your uncle that is so insensitive during a difficult time. The outfit for Anna is so cute - great job there.

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  19. Sorry about your grandad; sorry about your officious uncle. I hope your parents are coping with the events.

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  20. Kirsty: 'Oh Uncle, I have sewn you the most wonderful suit'
    Uncle: 'mumble, mutter, splutter'
    Kirsty: 'What's that Uncle? Houdini style suits with chains, locks, zips and ties are all the rage'

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  21. So sorry to her about the death of your grandfather and the "drama" inducing uncle. My thoughts are with you and your family.

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  22. Sorry to hear about your dramas - funny thing is that I hear that a lot about weird funeral arranging behaviours - I really don't understand ... anyway... totally gorgeous little dress!!!!!

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  23. Sorry to hear about your Grandfather's passing and the family issues. It would be lovley if you didn't need to deal with that at such a sad time. However the dress looks lovely especially with the stockings and was pretty and appropriate for the occassion.

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  24. The dress for the little one is adorable! You did very well.

    I hate family dramas, because in my family we say it isn't a Grand funeral or wedding without a fight. Sad, really. I'm sorry your parents have gotten stuck out on the cold twice now - and that your Uncle did all of the planning without you. It makes a difficult time that much more difficult. My thoughts are with you and your fabulous parents.

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  25. So sorry for your loss. Prayers to you and your family. Your daughter looked beautiful and growing up so fast.

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  26. sorry to hear about the drama! and my condolences on your grandfather.
    nice job on the dress.
    may sunnier skies be ahead!

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  27. I am sorry to hear of your loss. :( I do think Anna's dress was perfect. Girlish but sober, and I am sure the moments of levity she brought were much needed!

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  28. Sorry to hear about the loss in your family and the family saga! I think everyone has a family member that makes situations very difficult. I know i do!

    But taking a look at your gorgeous daughter, and realising your nearest and closest family members is a true reminder of what's really important.

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  29. Sorry to hear about your grandfather and your badly behaved uncle. Anna is such a darling.

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  30. Sorry for your loss and the drama that follows...
    Anna is growing into a lovely girl, really.
    In my chilhood, about when this pattern was made, my mother always bought or sewed me dresses that were at least one size too big, so that I could wear them several seasons. I guess the same applied to the patterns...

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  31. So sorry for your loss. And, most families have someone similar to your uncle - I do! The dress is so cute and those tights are perfect.

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  32. So sorry to hear your sad news and the drama that came with it.. Our prayers to you and yours.

    Very cute dress for Anna.

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  33. Connie (Grandma C)31 August 2011 03:56

    Anna looks beautiful in her new dress. Sometimes darker colours suit children and can be quite dressy looking. Good choice - I love the classic style of a long sleeve peter pan collared dress!

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  34. Very sorry to hear about the passing of your Grandfather and the family issues. I hope things are starting to get a bit more centered for you.
    The dress is beautiful and so appropriate for the occasion and her age. Great job!

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