Sunday 9 May 2021


 Lately I've been watching Bernadette Banner videos. She creates and recreates historical clothing and produces videos of the process. I had no previous interest in this subject, but lately have found her videos strangely compelling and addictive. Perhaps part of it is her persona: she is reminiscent of  Rapunzel hidden in her tower and endlessly crafting ...and many of us have become a tad Rapunzel-like the past year and a half.

My sewing skills however are limited to making basic repairs and alterations, so I wasn't inspired to try any of her techniques. However, a recent video about lace insertion changed that.

I watched this and thought: That's something I could potentially do. And I had the right material to experiment on: Last summer I bought the girls matching dresses for our 10th anniversary photo shoot. 

AJ really likes her dress but it was starting to get small. So I decided to take it apart and do lace insertion at the waist and side seams to make it a couple of sizes bigger, and possibly also add a lace hem.

I was still teaching in school at the time, although all the students outside our program were at home (yes Covid-19 has upended our lives again).  One of my colleagues has a lot of sewing skills, so I shared my ideas with her and she helped me with the planning and design parts of the project (luckily as I would have approached it far more randomly). I did most of the sewing.  We used a few donated scraps we found around the school sewing room. It was tons of fun.

I didn't take a "before" photo, but this is the identical dress in a smaller size (Dani's)

Finished product

AJ loved it.....she couldn't stop dancing.
(We later took in the sides a bit more as they were originally quite loose.)

I enjoyed this project and it underscored the importance of having something creative and joyful to focus my attention on. I can immediately observe the differences in my mood and attitude depending where I am putting my attention.

I also have more ideas for creation through alteration of garments....though I am working at home now and not sure when I will next be able to put the ideas into practice. Although I did just mend a broken doll, so still have some little projects on the go.

Wishing everyone happiness and outside-the-box thoughts!


  1. That's so cool! I have zero sewing skills (I made a catnip toy once because it was just a tube) but love seeing others' creations. What a crafty way to get more life out of the girls' dresses. And so pretty!

    1. Thanks! There is something very powerful in getting an idea and just putting it into practice. I overthink things a lot I believe and second guess myself. But this was so satisfying.

  2. I love it! It looks like a fun sewing project too, but unfortunately I don't think my boys would appreciate a lace insertion in their clothes :P
    I am similar in needing creative projects these days. I've done all sorts of stuff to my house because I just have to have something on the go or else I struggle with my mental health (working in an MLA's office is not conducive to mental health these days). I miss seeing your posts on Facebook!

    1. Thanks! Yes, probably not much demand for lace insertion in boys’ clothes, unless you made some period costumes. You were reading Treasure Island, right? ;-)

      I appreciate the encouragement to be creative since even though the ability is there, I tend to just aimlessly waste time too. Ditching facebook has actually helped me to spot myself on other ways too. But I do miss some stuff, including your updates and all the cool projects and homeschooling you are doing!!

  3. What a fun idea! It would never have occurred to me to alter one of Mini's dresses that way but it seems like a great way of getting more wear out of something. Would you consider getting a sowing machine and making dresses from scratch?

    1. Thanks! Sure, in theory I would like to see more. Such a useful, creative skill and maybe an outlet for me instead of shopping. Haha. My mom has also offered to give me one of her sewing machines, but I need to declutter some more (basically sell or donate the rest of our baby stuff, plus some generic tidying) to even have room for it. I also (in my case) would have to overcome a tendency to be overly critical of things I make. But a friend and I have been talking about making costumes together so that could be fin. I would be less picky about a costume I think. And kids clothes are nice because they are smaller.