Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rick Rack and Retirement

In late November, after  32 years  of service, my husband decided to retire from his job as project manager with Dominion Resources.  When he started with the company it was called Virginia Power. He submitted the retirement papers at the last minute.  Not giving me much time to sew something new to wear to the retirement party.  The party was at the site of the project where he has been working for the last three years, in southern Maryland, a three hour drive from our home. It was a dinner in a very nice seafood restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay.  I was the only female, as his work team is all males.  I knew I would be a bit overdressed, but I wanted to sew a dress because I now have very few occasions to sew and wear dresses,  and  will likely have even  less opportunities to do so  in the future.   This pattern and fabric for this dress were chosen based  on what was on the top of the piles in my sewing room, using the Last in-First out method of inventory management.  The pattern was Vogue 8949 one of about 20 current, unused Vogue patterns my sister found for $1.99 at a thrift store.

and the fabric, a dark floral printed Italian wool crepe, recently purchased from Emma One Sock.  

I picked the sleeveless version of the dress. I would have like to have had a small sleeve on the dress but the combination of me buying the minimum yardage of an expensive fabric and the vendor cutting the fabric length on a  slight angle to the selvedge wiped out that option. Sleeveless it was. This dress has an inset band located  1 inch above the natural waist.   If I was going to sew these extra seams in a fitted dress,  I wanted to highlight them in some way.  And I decided to use…  Rick Rack.  Yep the old wavy braid that has been around since 1870, but is often associated with children’s clothing and Little House  on the Prairie skirts. I have a collection of pictures of designer garments featuring rick rack. I created a Pinterest board rick-rack-designer  so you could see  them if you are interested.   I thought why not use a coordinating rick rack to both highlight the seaming and echo the curving lines of the floral print. I hand basted the rickrack to the neckline and  insert seams  to make sure that when I sewed the seam by machine, the rick rack extended evenly beyond the seam.

Rick Rack basted to neckline
Rick rack basted to Inset Seam

Wool crepe is a  dream to sew. I did interfaced the top with fusible weft for a bit of structure. The dress was fully lined in Bemberg rayon fabric.  I made the size 14, with  my standard alterations for upper back curvature, and square shoulders.  I  lengthened the skirt by 2 inches so the hem hit just below my knee.

Vogue 8949 on dress form ( with arms)

Rick Rack at Neckline



Wreath Hat?

Early in my husband’s career with the power company, I gifted him with  a table lamp incorporating an actual working electric  meter. The kind of meter that used to be affixed to every house. When I was a child,  a meter reader would come around every two months, read the numbers on the meter and send us a bill. When the lamp is on the meter actually runs! The meter was set at zero when I bought  the lamp.  Over the years my husband turned  on the light  when he arrived at work and turned it off when he left for the day.   On his last day at work,  his teammates had a fun time figuring out the number of hours it had ‘run’ since the day he got it ( a variable being the size of the light bulb) .

I plan to work a few more years, even though I was eligible for full retirement several years ago. DH was all ready to dive headfirst at the" Honey Do" list.   Unfortunately his next task  was not originally on the list. We found extensive termite damage in my mother's house over the Thanksgiving  holiday. So his first job, post retirement, is back in Maryland, supervising the replacement of all the floor joists, floors and kitchen in my mother's house.