so much depends

on a blue dress hanging behind the attic door

very plain blue dress

Nicholas likes this shade of blue. I made this from the Friends pattern, but made a one-piece bodice with a placket at the neckline. This saved some fabric, because I had bought remnants to make this.

blue dress with black tunic apron

This little tunic-style apron is so easy to make. The pattern called for edging it with bias and lining it, but I used a single layer of fabric and turned the outer edge and neckline. It’s a good choice if you need an apron quickly – since it uses a little more than a yard of cotton fabric. The ties are bias tape stitched down. I will add pockets at some time. I cut this from a vintage seventies-era pattern; I remember my grandmother owning this one, but I don’t remember that she ever wore an apron. She was quite the fashionable lady!


22 thoughts on “so much depends

  1. Hooray! Well done! I have been waiting to see these! Perfect!

    I have been waiting to get to sewing again at some point. I love some of the homespun fabrics that are available online. I did make a dress I was really pleased with once – had a tiny pocket for my rail-ticket for when I was crossing London, so it could be just there handy when I went trhough all the automatic barriers.

    You have inspired me! The apron looks great too.

    • I had to jury rig a pattern piece for the front bodice – I cut one too big, had to pin it down to a smaller size.

  2. Lovely dress, Magdalena. One thing — IF you have the fabric — is to make an apron reversible by cutting two and sewing right to right and then turning and finishing. I remember that because my grandmother used to do that and then when company came calling she would quickly flip it around to change to the clean apron side. ; ) Of course, that was back when you sort of ‘expected’ unexpected visitors. I guess back then we were all at HOME unless we ourselves were out calling. ; )

    • I guess that’s why aprons were made reversible – and the French ladies in the st. John River Valley used to wear two aprons – a work apron over a dress apron for the same reason. I suppose the work side of the apron could be just about anything, and then a dressy side for show. People don’t visit anymore; I wouldn’t dare just drop in on anyone, because they act as if it is so inconvenient – the house isn’t clean, there’s no coffee, the kids are watching television. Or everyone is at work and out on activities. So then they complain about lack of community!

  3. That reminds me of how I have had to adapt to people here in this tiny town of 800 rural, people. I came from Indianapolis and things were different. My husband grew up here and I moved here when I married him 28 yrs ago. I suffered with extreme loneliness for years because people here are “to themselves”. Most people belong to a clan( most of the churches consist of one or two clans), then there are the drinkers and druggers who gather. Noone needs anyone, it seems. I found my social outlet for years at our local cafe. I walked the wheels off the kids stroller and everyone here “knows” me/us, but noone would call me or come over and they would feel weird if I did it. As a christian I am even more… not wanted. I try to reach out and be kind to all and I know this is part of being a christian ( to be avoided). Now, the only place I can run into anyone is at the post office or bank. I am used to being without friends here now. I can’t say it is ideal, but I am used to it.
    I do get visits now and then from our friends who are not from here. They don’t always call and so it seems my house is always a pit when they arrive, but I do my best to forget it and focus on them. They come back now and then, so I guess they are not too put off!!

    • We are having “Back to Church” Sunday at the end fo the month, and I honestly know no one to invite. The few people I know by name are in the church already, and I have met no one else here at all. In a year, I have been in one house besides our own. I don’t even know the neighbours’ names. I beleive we “outsiders” will just have to all move somewhere and be “insiders” together.

  4. Oh, I forgot to say I like the dress and apron. I wear black aprons almost exclusively and they go with everything. The electric blue color is lovely. I think I have said here before I like to have a few aprons that do not cinch the waist and are really comfy.

    • I like the look of a white apron, but they spot so quickly! this is a very Amish blue – ad my husband’s favourite colour. Since I developed fibromyalgia about fifteen years ago, I don’t like anything binding aroudn the waist. The tunic apron covers a lot, is very comfortable, and I hardly notice it. It’s hardly figure-flattering, but I don’t dress to be flattered!

  5. It is strange how we are all scattered about. I know of several families who went through so much to move states away to try to form a church or go to one already formed and it was a disaster. Not at first, but it didn’t take long. I don’t know if they didn’t ask enough questions or wanted it so badly to work out that they sort of ignored some issues and jumped in, but after living in the same house for 23 yrs now, same street for almost 29 we would would have to be so convinced to even think of it. And we just couldn’t do it financially now unless someone knocked on the door and offered me more than the market says my house is worth.
    I sort of think God purposely wants us scattered for now? I don’t really know. OUr churches here in town have dwindled down to almost noone. We have lost one church in the last 10 yrs, a Nazarene one, and we have 5 left in town ( one is our first Quaker meeting.) and a bunch of Quaker meetings dotted about the country side. Most of them have so few – we are talking 25-30 people in these places is the norm. Most of them consist of one or two families as well. The United Methodist Church here is the largest and has maybe 50 to 80 people.

    • it takes time to see if soemthing is a leading or a notion! I have moved so much in the last five years that I want to settle somewhere permanently within the year, even if it looks to be less than ideal. Bloom where you are planted! No, I’m not really recommending some mass migration from the four corners to the outback to start some fragment of society!

  6. I started remembering my own childhood in a small town in nothern Sweden. To be honest, I hated living in that town and I am still not that found of even visiting it but one thing I miss tremendously is the culture of how people visit. There it is quite normal to just go and visit someone you know without calling or making an appointment. If the person you visit seems busy you just enquire about their health and if everything is OK and them claim that this was just why you visited and leave. It really demands social skills that I do not feel that people who live in other parts of Sweden get. R found it very strange that I wanted to visit my brother despite not having called. “What if he is away?” “Well then obviously we cannot break into the house.” “What if he is busy?” “I am his sister, no one is that busy that they cannot say hi to their sister and her man”.

    I remember as a child going on visiting trips in the evening if my parents were bored. They decided on a person to visit and then on one or two alternative people to visit if that person was not at home. If all of them were not at home we went home or made an impuls visit to someone else. That was and is perfectly normal to me but even were I live now, about 300 km south of my home town that is ‘exotic’.

    • I lived in Swedish communities in the USA. I think one of the reasons that they still visited was because they were all related, and still depended on each other for help with farm and woods work. But even there it was disappearing, with women taking jobs outside the community and people getting satellite tv and the internet.

  7. Hi Elin,
    I Know Magdalena will have a reply, but I just wanted to say hi and comment HI!! ( just me being silly). I think the visiting culture of the town you grew up in is not all that unusual. There are pockets here and there of people who do that in the US and definitely some Plain people do that. The way your culture was seemed quite acceptable and appropriate, since the visitors took into account the state they found their host or hostess to be in and making the visit very short and to the point if they were busy etc… . I think that sounds wonderful. Come to think of it, I HAVE in the past done some impulse visiting myself. I might have had something small to ask or discuss with some mom of one of my kids friends and rather than call I knocked on their door and stayed outside unless they invited me in. Usually they did and I had a few nice visits. I think they enjoyed it, but everyone in this day and age is so busy, busy, busy – moms and dads working and there just is no time to enjoy much. Anyhow, my husband definitely is not like me and as kind as he is he is aware that he has a tendency to be a loner. It rubbed off a bit on me, but I still feel desperately in need of a sit down and cup of tea with a sister in Christ. What a precious blessing!!

    • I blame television, virtual living (the internet and computer games) and an increased sense of competitiveness in society in general. I love visiting, remember it from my childhood and my young adult years, and I was so surprised that it had pretty much disappeared even in the North.

      • In the area I grew up in, despite TV, videogames and all other aspects of modern life, people do seem to keep up this tradition.

        To Joanie

        Yes, you need to be considered to the person you visit otherwise you are doing something called ‘våldgästa’ which means violent/forced visiting which is of course a bad thing.

  8. Magdalena is right, at least that is how I see it in my neck of the woods. Hey, you forgot the phones. Oh the phones!! I am waiting to see a toddler using one soon. These kids are all texting constantly ( adults too) and Bruce commented today on the fact they don’t practice proper spelling in this. I read this book recently how the internet has changed the way we think and that most college LITURATURE students AND professors who are heavily into the internet cannot read a classic book anymore due to the fact their attention span has been changed by the busy format on web pages. If you read something online it is usually punctuated with highlights for related stories and people have been proven to jump to those and abandon the story they were reading.
    Elin, if I could only pronounce that word!! I love to collect new words. That is wonderful to hear that the tradition goes on despite the technology stuff. I do hope it never stops.

  9. Joanie

    According to an online dictionary it is pronounced something like this [v’ål:djes:tar], the å is similar to the a in walk, a kind of slide between the Swedish pronounciation of a and o. I had to look it up though, you are very blind to your own language sometimes.

  10. In the countryside in Ireland neighbours go visiting in the evenings.They just walk to the back of the house, rap on the window and walk in.

    However those who are not Catholic get less of this because non-Catholics are viewed as outsiders.Catholicism became tied up with the Irish nationality in the bid for freedom, and of course the English invaders were largely Protestant.Catholics like to mingle at church and Irish sport events.Protestants like to mingle at church events and English style sport events.Protestants tend not to drop in on neighbours asc casually as the Catholics.

    This means that the Protestants, and any other non-Catholic Christians are labeled as outsiders.Irish Protestants are scattered and few.Unlike Northern Irish Protestants they supported the liberation of Ireland from English rule but they have a siege mentality as they are a shrinking minority group.Most Irish Protestants are Anglicans and they despise those who are Christian but neither Protestant or Catholic- mainly the likes of me.At a Protestant school they made their feeling about my church very clear.At the same time they were fine to the Catholics.The Catholics saw me as Protestant and treated me in the same way; kindly if bemused but not quite accepting us into the community despite my ancestors’ presence in the area for at least 120 years.

    Because family is neither Protestant nor Catholic, the Protestants do not visit my family despite them knowing us and only some Catholics do.And the church my family belong to rarely visit because most of them live in the Protestant Northern Ireland where the Protestant majority accept them as Protestants. They think my family live in a heathen country…

    One time a Catholic came to the house wanting money to improve the community & to build a playground.Money was given and not much thought was given.Days later a Catholic friend came to the house to complain that so other people in the area were hassaling her for more money for the church.They implied that she had not given enough and she was receiving letters in the post requesting more “donations” to enlarge the Catholic church.Another Catholic neighbour mentioned the same complaint.A huge sign was then put beside the church demanding several million.Yet the Catholic fundraisers who went from door to door “forgot” to mention the money was for their church and any leftovers for a playground to my family and to the local Protestants.In the end all of the money went to the Catholic church and the playground was never built. Some of that money could have been given to the crumbling Anglican church which was in more need than the Catholic church but the Catholics didn’t bother.They took Protestant money, deceived Protestant neighbours in the community and used the money for only the Catholic needs.The Catholic church now is very fancy but if they had kept it plain like all churches should be they could have helped their Protestant neighbours.It’s telling of how Catholics view non-Catholics, of course at state (Catholic) school the priest and bishop were lovely to me and at private Protestant school I was left suicidal by bullying from Protestant pupils and a Protestant teacher- and the Protestant headmaster would not help.

    So Joanie I understand how things can be.

    • I am continually frustrated by the lack of good faith between the branches of my Irish family. I have ancestors from both sides of the aisle. I just wonder when the past will be past; continuing the divisions seems foolish, counter-productive and unChristian. Ithink Lucy’s steps toward an openly Plain life are healthy not just for her but for the whole society on the Isle, and I hope and pray others will follow her. The psalms tell us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. For some of us, Ireland is a Jerusalem, the home from which our own cultural diaspora began. Pray for the peace of Ireland.

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