Weekend Summary

Since Friday, I’ve been dogsitting for my friend Catalina. Her dog, Frida Khalo, and I have been hanging out together in the sewing / TV room bawling our eyes out over Surprise Homecoming and  Say Yes to the Dress while discussing the debt ceiling crisis. If you’re wondering, yes. I would absolutely love a dog. But, I only want a toy breed and couldn’t  bring myself to purchase one when so many animals need homes. The small ones at the ASPCA, etc are the first to go and just about impossible to get if you don’t know someone on the inside. So, I’m satisfying myself by dogsitting. Kind of like being a grandparent and spoiling the heck out of the kid and turning them back over to the parents hopped up on candy and Frappes.

While Frida and I were spending quality time together, Liz came by to take her first stab at machine sewing a dress. You see, she used to hand sew garments when she did historical re-enactments at Ft. McHenry (home of the Star Spangled Banner (the US National Anthem) and right here in Baltimore). She’s liked my sewn garments but not enough to try sewing herself.  It was the Burda 6/2010 #123  knit sack dress that sent her over the edge. Can you stand a third version of it in one week? Clearly, I need to enter this in to the one pattern, three looks contest.

We picked out the material last week at G Street in Rockville. Can you imagine they had a Groupon? Woot! Woot! Her main concern with sewing is that she’s too much of a perfectionist. She thought it would drive her bananas if it wasn’t absolutely perfect and would get frustrated. You know what takes the frustration away? Sweet Tea Vodka while you’re sewing.

Mom. Don’t freak out about Frida on the sofa. I gave her a bath, brushed her and vacuum daily while she’s here. 

She has more material to make a second version. But, not bad for your first dress, right? We even matched motifs on the side.

I had her sew with a knit because the beginner fear of sewing with a knit boggles my mind. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re not told something is hard, then you won’t think it’s hard. I believe in Fearless Sewing. Then again, I only made French seams this year and still haven’t done a rolled hem.

Oh, also sews on a Kenmore 1040. She had a Wal Mart Special that jammed every third stitch. This absolutely led to her irritation with sewing. So, when I was in Tampa buying my Singer 301, I found the Kennie and brought it home for her.

Oh. She was also blown away that I took 50+ photos for one blog post.  And, got a little tired of it near the end 😀 I just would not let her get away.

I feel like an idiot. Stop taking pictures.

I have no more poses. Stop.

Seriously. Isn’t that enough?



  1. Cidell, you are being defeatist!

    I went to Petfinder.com, searched for small young dogs in Baltimore, and right there on the first page I see several dogs in the 5-to-15 lb range. Yes, including an actual 5-lb chihuahua.

    Don’t give up!

    • Well, for full disclosure. I currently have a housemate who is a bit intimidated by pets and most certainly does not believe dogs should live in a house. So, I wouldn’t really be able to have one for a while.

      • On the news the other night was a story about a chihuahua who chased off two burgars and chased them right across the road ! Don’t tell housemate about that one ! LOL

        Frida is a cutie-pie (being owned by both a chi and a pom, I’m not biased at all !) and looks like she made her place in your house pretty easily. Be careful, they worm their way into your affections before you even know it.

        The only place our two are not allowed is our bed and the spare room bed. Leathere couches are a GOOD thing. Little dogs are great for cuddling in front of the TV as I’m sure you’ve realized.

        Oh and those are all great dresses, every one you post makes me want one a bit more !

  2. I love how the purple thread on the Kenmore is practically all gone. Successful effort!

  3. About the dog – My sister adopted a miniature pinscher from a rescue organization. Her dog, also named Frida oddly – was rescued by a miniature pinschur organization after she developed some abdominal problems and was no longer needed by the puppy mill. My sister got her through that organization. She did need surgery to correct her hernia but is the sweetest little dog now with no other health problems. If you are wanting a small dog, you might see if there are any rescue groups in your area and get one through them. It won’t be a puppy, but you will be giving a dog a loving home who has thus far had a miserable life.

    • Cidell,

      I second Amanda’s suggestion. I work with a pure breed rescue organization, and we have flown dogs around the country in crisis situations (it hurts the pocketbook, but sometimes we don’t have a choice).

      You’ll also usually have a better idea of temperament through a pure breed rescue as they foster dogs for greater periods of time than shelter’s generally can.

      We would place you on a waiting list and when a pup gets to us that matches your specifications (sex, size, health issue restrictions, etc.) we contact everyone who has indicated interest.

      I have three dogs myself, and can’t imagine life without one. I hope everything works out the way you want and need.

      Thanks for sharing.

  4. Cute dog with a cool name! Love the dress, hope it will get Liz as addicted to sewing as the rest of us. Now I understand why your photos look so good and mine look so bad, I lose patience after about 6!

  5. Awesome first dress! And I thought I was the only person who thought Vodka Sweet Tea was a good idea.

      • Ummm, have you ever tried it with Simply Lemonade? It’s an extremely enhanced Arnold Palmer…lol

  6. I’m with the first commenter, Petfinder is the way to go. If you can’t find a dog, maybe a nice kitty will want to come home with you. I know that black cats are especially easy to find, because of those stupid superstitions about black cats and bad luck–Bah! (And you won’t have to walk a cat in the heat/cold…)

    Anyway, awesome first dress on a real sewing machine. I can’t imagine sewing much of anything by hand–I don’t even like to sew on buttons by hand! And maybe 50 pictures is the trick to getting a good one. I get a maximum of three–no do-overs, and that’s usually the number of views that I want….

  7. It´s funny…I never thought about that dress when I got the magazine, after seeing yours and Trena´s I had to make one myself and I also think it will look good as a top.

  8. The dress looks wonderful!
    I am so surprised that the Kenmore is a plus! My mom had a Kenmore (back in the 60s) and it was HELL to sew on. It did not have variable speed control, so when you pushed the foot pedal, it was full speed ahead or stop. I guess it was good in a way–I made sure everything was either basted or pinned exactly right so I wouldn’t mess it up. I’m sure Kenmore has improved much since the late ’60s.

    You are a wonderful ambassador for sewing! (and your house is so pretty!)

  9. What a great dress. Attending to details, like carefully matching this kind of print really makes a difference. I love the print and color for her as well.

  10. Love the dress. When you’re ready for a dog, try to keep an open mind. I went to a shelter with a specific idea of look and breed, and came away with another breed entirely. It’s fine to prefer a breed, but in the end I think the best pets choose Us, instead of us choosing Them.

  11. You’ve finally brought Liz to the Dark Side! I hope she stays – her dress looks fantastic on her! That ‘s a great color on her & I really like that print. Brava, Liz!

  12. Liz did a spectacular job on her lovely dress! If I were as photogenic as Liz, I’d say, “Snap away!”

  13. Cute little dog! My daughter would love one like that 🙂

    The dress turned out great too! I hope she’s hooked on sewing!

  14. I think it’s great that you are teaching your friend to sew and helping her approach it fearlessly! Love the dress she made! And 50+ photos is alot…I usually only do 30-35 to get enough for a blog post!

  15. Liz looks lovely! Great job!

    Also, did you find her another Kenmore 1040? I love mine! I just wish I had the extra plate thingy on the left and the front cover thingy. Yes, I have an excellent vocabulary this morning! : )

  16. I love Liz’s dress!

    For getting a cute small dog, check out breed rescues in your area (many breeds have rescue groups.) You can get on a waiting list if they don’t have a dog right then.

    My friend have two pugs they got through the Pug Rescue Group and now they usually have a third foster dog as well (which means Mega pug snuggle party!!! wooo!)

  17. Just one more shot, pleaaasssee!
    Great sewing, on to the next dress.

    I remembered the first time my mother came to visit and we had our dog in the house, a big husky collie mix….I don’t do small dogs….my mom freaked, silently….I was watching her face! Of course, being from the Carib. dogs are NOT allowed inside the house….she got used to him being inside eventually…lol…he wasn’t allowed in the living room nor upstairs in the bedrooms so she was ok with that I suppose.

    • Oh, yeah. When I told her I was watching the dog, my mom said, ‘In the house?!!’ Dogs are most definitely not allowed. My housemate is from Latin America and dogs don’t come inside there either. She’s being super patient 😀

  18. ooo, gorgeous dress!! I’m still trying to put Frieda ‘Yes, this IS a uni-brow and I DO wear flowers in my hair” Kahlo together with this little doggy. Not seeing it but cute nonetheless. Another way for you to find a dog (and this is how we got a wonderful Aussie) is to get together with your local rescue groups for specific breeds – that way, you are up at the front of the line. Most rescued dogs are not rescued because they have behavior issues – ours was rescued because his family was getting a divorce. So perhaps that would work.

  19. Great first dress Liz! I might have to consider this one come summer, having seen so many neat versions. And Cidell what a great friend you are mentoring and creating another sewing addict, let us know when she starts blogging…!

  20. My 200 pound English Mastiff has offered to go to Washington to mediate the debt crap. That would scare everyone into some sense, right? Glad you got to enjoy a dog for a little while; they are fabulous company (they never talk back). And Liz’s dress looks good! Hope she tries again, soon.

    • LOL – Thor might not – but MY two do ! The smaller the dog the bigger the attitude. My Chihuahua thinks she’s the Queen of England, I think ! 🙂

  21. It’s Frida “Kahlo.” Would have sent an email, but I didn’t see an email address. What happened to her unibrow?

  22. Such great fabric. Frida Kahlo is such a fantastic name for a dog. I would happily have a little Yorkie named Dolly Parton if my husband would let me get away with it, but he thinks that we can only have dogs the other dogs won’t make fun of because of their size. Boo. I’ll get a dress form instead and name her DP!

  23. Love the dress. Especially the darker border and positioning of the print. C’est parfait madamoiselle!

  24. What a super dress! She did a great job! You’re a super friend – dog sitting and instructing sewing in the same weekend.

  25. I am *so* not a fan of bag dresses like this, but I think you’ve just changed my mind. In this print, especially, it’s just amazing!

    PS — Love that little Kenmore. I’ve got one, too, and did all my early sewing on a 1030 (even the incredibly advanced stuff). They are wonderful machines.

  26. That is a lovely dress and a stunning tribute to your teaching talents that THAT is her first machine-sewn project! Talk about sewing motivation. No one will believe she made it since they know she doesn’t sewn, she’ll be twirling all over town telling her tale.

    Here there’s a campaign to donate cat food to feed a cat in the the animal shelter for a week, bet you that could be your way ‘in’ to getting a toy breed dog. They are wonderful creatures, and Cidell, you deserve a doggie of your own (who deserves a loving mum like you too). You know dogs increase happiness and longevity? Do it for the health benefits, that alone… I had a Pomeranian and he was the apple of my eye! Also widened my contact with the neighbours since everyone oohed and aahed over him out on our walks.

  27. Great beginner project! Don’t know how you “just happen to find” all these sewing machine gems – not that I need another machine 😉

  28. I missed this post, but I love the dress…it’s hard to find fabric with panels like this! Okay, I take that back sort of…dress fabric with trendy panels like this. Oh, I have a white couch, no animals and lots of stains.

  29. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a weblog website? The account aided me a applicable deal. I were tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided shiny clear concept

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