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Last night a miracle happened.  I finally got around to starting work on my bridesmaids dress for The Duchess’s wedding (I’ve got six weeks – that’s plenty of time, right?).  I started, like every good seamstress, by cutting out a muslin – a trial run in cheap fabric in order to test the fit.  Some of you may recall that the last time I made a bridesmaid dress, I think I went through three rounds of muslins and much profanity before I got something that fit.  This time, however, I sewed the muslin pieces together, went up to my room, tried the bodice on and it just about fit.  I think I could have got the zipper closed, but it would have been just a little too tight.  So I went downstairs, resewed my seams just a bit shallower, picked out the old seams, tried the bodice on again, and lo and behold it fit.  The sleeves were perfect, the back neckline lay nicely against my neck, the waist wasn’t too tight, yet appropriately tight for a 50s era dress, and it didn’t pull across my bust.  It was a miracle.  The only change I’d made to the pattern was to lengthen the bodice 2″ (I have a long torso), but otherwise I’d cut the pattern size.  And it fit.  No cussing, no recutting pieces, just a muslin that fit on the very first try.  I’d put this off so long because I was dreading the long, drawn out ordeal I was sure it was going to be.  Instead it went together so quickly and easily that I still had time to make a big batch of homemade granola before I went to bed.

Wonders will never cease.

However, I think the reason why my dress is (so far – keep your fingers crossed) coming together so easily this time is because all the bad dress karma has transferred onto The Duchess.  She had been sure that her dress was going to be easy, since she’d had it even before she met 007.  Her dress is a gorgeous, lace covered vintage dress she bought at the thrift store years ago for $2.50.  The only thing she needed to change was that the long sleeves were much too small.  (For reference, they fit perfectly on Fleur’s arms.  Fleur’s eight.)  So The Duchess’s idea was that the sleeves could be cut off and turned into lacy cap sleeves, preserving the gorgeous lace applique that extended down from the neckline.  This would get rid of the tightness, and update the dress a little.  She asked the woman who made her bridesmaid’s dress for Sae’s wedding if she could do this, and also bustle the dress.  The woman said that she could.  Except, when she got the dress back from her, after cancelled appointments, unexpectedly raised fees, and lots of stress, what the the woman had actually done was cut the sleeves off at the worst part of the upper arm (exactly at a point that somehow made The Duchess’s arms – plenty slender, let me tell you! – actually look kinda chubby), not bothered to finish the raw edge, and instead applied a band of cheap bead trim that not only didn’t match the dress, but made the tight sleeves even tighter – so tight that she couldn’t zip the dress anymore.  This was exactly the opposite of what The Duchess had asked her to do.  Oh, and the bustling that The Duchess had asked her to do?  She didn’t even start.  And for this she was trying to get The Duchess to pay double the original estimate.

The first I heard of this was at the first bridal shower this weekend, when someone asked The Duchess about her dress, and she started crying.  The next day, at the second bridal shower, someone got The Duchess to show them the dress, and she ended up showing all of us how the seamstress (whom I think doesn’t deserve the title) butchered the dress.  Both Indy and I examined the dress, and decided that we could totally fix this.  I had my sharp scissors in my knitting, and Indy had her embroidery kit, so right then and there we got them out and started work.  First we removed the horrible bead trim, and then we basted up a narrow men, and trimmed around the lace applique.  It wasn’t the finished sewing, but super basic work that took myself and Indy less than an hour to do.  And just like that, we’d done more than that woman (see, I can’t even call her the seamstress anymore) had done in months!  There will be some fiddly hand finishing work to do (some of which is necessary because of even more awful things that did), but when we’re done, the dress will be beautiful.  Plus, when she wears it, The Duchess will be able to actually raise her arms to dance.  (Bonus!)

Besides various dressmaking adventures and bridal showers, the weekend was mostly full of babysitting.  On Friday night I went out to babysit Hello Nurse’s firstborn, who I think I’m going to call The Happy Baby.  We had a good time together.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a child so excited about peas!  When I was feeding her dinner I put a few of them on her tray so that she could feed them to herself.  She put great effort into picking them up and ferrying them into her mouth, and then would exclaim, “P! P!”  I would reply, “That’s right!  Peas!”  at which point she would throw her head back and laugh hysterically.  It was pretty awesome.

On Saturday night, however, I had a total Babysitting Fail.  I was babysitting for Hot Josh & Pixie Girl for the very first time ever.  They have two children: Little Miss Stinker, who is now an awesomely precocious two and a half year old, and Baby Bear, who is eight or nine months.  While Little Miss Stinker has the reputation of sometimes being quite a handful, Baby Bear is one of the most laid back babies in the world.  He came with his mother to the bridal shower earlier that day, and had a great time crawling from woman to woman, flirting his way shamelessly through the party.  When I got to Hot Josh & Pixie’s house, it seemed like he was quite content, in his laid back way, to have me there.  Even when his parents left, he barely blinked.  I spent a little time with Little Miss Stinker getting her settled in with the movie of her choice, and then went into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

However, when Baby Bear followed me into the kitchen, he realized for the first time that his parents hadn’t just gone into another room or something, they had really left the building.  This realization rocked his little world so hard that he stopped right where he was, threw back his head, and howled.  And kept howling.  And howling.  He was outraged at the immense injustice of the world, and he was letting the world know about it!  I picked him up, and bounced him.  I sang him songs.  I offered him food and drink (this seemed only to outrage him further – how could I expect him to be hungry or thirsty at a time like this!).  I checked his diaper.  He did need a change, but even after that was taken care of, he still howled.  At about the 45 minute mark, when his tears of rage showed no signs of abating, I threw in the towel and called his parents.  They had just barely sat down in their movie theatre, but when they heard that their laid back son had been throwing a fit for 45 minutes they got right up and headed home again.

And you know what?  Maybe I should have waited a little bit longer.  Soon after I called, Baby Bear started to have small pauses between his screams.  The pauses got gradually longer.  I realized that he was crying himself to sleep, and fighting it every step of the way.  By the time his parents got home, he had cried himself into a deep sleep, still snuffling little soblets in his sleep.  If I’d had the nerve to hold out just ten minutes more, his parents could have enjoyed their movie.  Sigh.  And then do you know what that child did?  He woke up when I passed him off to his mother, nursed a little, and then, cheered by his nap, proceeded to smile at me as if I were the sun in his sky, and flirt with me for the rest of my visit.  Maybe he’s the one I should be calling a stinker!

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