Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On the Joys of Anachronism

On our trip to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, Jules really wanted to get a ridiculously expensive Native American dress. They wanted $40 for this dress, and she had her own money. I talked her out of it, reasoning that we could make one for just a third of the money that would be even nicer. That if we did that, she could keep her money to spend on something else. She wasn't convinced.

Her father offered to take pictures so we would remember exactly what it looked like. That helped a bit. I promised we would make one, that we wouldn't forget or get too busy.

By the time we got to photos of the back of the dress and had a chance to talk about accessorizing the dress, she was a bit more on board with the idea, as you can see. Accessories always sweeten the deal, and it wasn't too hard to beat the lame fabric paint on this gift store dress. She settled, instead, on a Native American necklace for $9.99 that would go well with the dress we'd be making.

The first weekend we were home, true to my word, I took Julia to the local fabric store to see what we could find. We found a great faux suede fabric that was already fringed. Perfect! We brought it home and set about designing the dress, what we wanted it to look like, how we'd make the pattern, etc. I finally finished it yesterday, and it took maybe an afternoon, at most. Thinking through the different parts took longer than actually making it, and for the same price as the dress in the gift shop, we got enough fabric to make her dress, a dress for Em, and a pair of fringed pants for Sam. I, of course, happily picked up the tab on this one.

Here's the finished product, minus the cool shell beads that Jules will add herself:

She looks pretty darned pleased, doesn't she? She hasn't taken it off yet to add the shells, so I'm guessing that's a yes. Em braided Julia's hair for her and is looking forward to finishing both her Indian dress and the new Colonial dress we're working on that didn't get finished for our trip. Ah well, there's always Mt. Vernon.

Another cool aspect of this has been the kids' interest in learning to use the sewing machine. Here's Julia learning to sew, wearing her Indian dress. Not terribly period-appropriate, but way cool. ;)

She's been practicing all afternoon on different scraps of fabric and even made time to show her brother how to use the machine: