Let me be clear about what "sewing with Ani" really looks like. There is, in fact, not a lot of sewing by Ani (despite what she tells everyone upon their arrival home). There is, instead, a lot of sewing at the instruction of Ani. The youngest of five and our only real-deal extrovert, what this little one really wants is my total and complete attention for as long as possible so that she may talk to me. And at the end of it all, to have a pretty new dress to wear. At the sewing machine, in my studio, she's got me quite captive for all the stories she'd like to share with me, and there are so many stories to be told! She likes, very much, to be in charge of things too. I get that. Coming from the youngest who so often doesn't have quite the say that the bigger kids do, or is brought along to their activities more than she'd probably like. And so this day is hers. To lead the way, to be in charge, to have me all to herself, and to talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.
She does, however, help with the sewing here and there. She loves sorting through the patterns and selecting one (and I should mention that I tried desperately to make a long-sleeved dress but she was certain she didn't want that. Still, at the end I was worried about her being cold and made a quick pair of fleece pants she could wear under the dress. No go with those either! I guess having a Great Pyrenees to snuggle will keep her plenty warm). She is always eager to pick out buttons and play with those. And a broom and a dustpan to clean up fabric scraps and threads on the floor keeps her feeling satisfied and busy with her job as well. Of course the fabric selection is hers, and the music too (happy to have even more sound in the room than just her voice and the sewing machine, oh this girl!). When she gets restless, she grabs some paper and colored pencils and plops a sheepskin down on the floor to resume the conversation while her hands are busy. And 'popcorn and a glass of milk' (her favorite snack) are brought in as well. Sometimes she'll roll out the yoga mat and practice her yoga (while still talking). And thus, a day is spent in the studio with Mama, and a dress is made.
Ski days are long, and it seems we usually finish a dress just a little after lunch. Though she'd like to go back and make another, I can usually talk her into something else - stories, walking outside, practicing her writing, or snuggling by the fire. By the time I need to start preparing dinner, her voice is usually fading slightly and we have some quiet moments. That is, until the door opens with hungry, happy, tired skiers to which she has a new dress to show and her day's story to share, as they share their own. The twirling that she does to demonstrate each new dress at the end of such a day, brings me so much joy. And that may be a little bit from a handmade dress, but even more so because I can see just how full her cup is from our time together, so much that she glows. And I feel it too.
Oh, and this dress! It's another Geranium Dress, this time with the ruffled sleeves and a notched neck that I love. The top fabric is an older Anna Maria Horner print (I think from Field Study?), and the bottom is a Robert Kaufman Denim Dot that I think is so handy and versatile a fabric to have on the shelves. In searching for these fabrics with her, we realized that my stash - though the shelves are full - is rather low on larger pieces of fabric suitable for dresses. And so this Tuesday, we spent a little bit of time online browsing at Alewives for some replacements. They arrived yesterday, much to her delight. Let ski (and dressmaking) season begin!