Writing left handed

Totally Sane Sewing

I made this sucker by HAND. For my senior thesis. I was THAT awesome.

This is how things went down:

“I’m going to make my wedding dress,” I announce.

“Oh good,” says my dad. He doesn’t even try to veil the sarcasm.

“What’s it to you?” I demand. “You’re not the one making it.”

“No, but your sewing projects always end up involving innocent bystanders.”

I give him my best “I don’t know what you’re talking about” look even though I know exactly what he’s talking about and it’s not pretty.

Technically speaking, I’m a good seamstress— a great seamstress even—but emotionally speaking? I’m a hot mess.

I also have a habit of leaving pins all over the place, even though I try really hard not to.

And when I still lived at my parents’ house, the dining room table was frequently sacrificed to my various sewing projects.

There were the matching red, white and blue flapper dresses that my 4-H besties and I made in high school…

The prom gown I wore sophomore year (my mom bought the fabric for me at a high end boutique in California and told me I could never, ever, tell my father how much she’d spent)…

The Victorian-inspired fiasco that should have been my junior year prom gown…

The vintage strapless t-length dress that I made for my senior prom and later recycled for several subsequent college formals, dance department concerts, and Fringe shows…

The green corset and matching skirt I made for the Oxford Union Blenheim Palace Masquerade Ball (we had to wait in line overnight for tickets to that one); this gown served double duty for a fundraiser at the Union League here in Philadelphia as well…


I didn’t have a date but I had a great dress.

And that’s not even including my historically accurate costumes: Elizabethan, 18th Century (both lower and upper class), Regency, 1920s… plus a whole host of 17th century outfits when I spent two summers interning at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, and those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

I made this sucker by HAND. For my senior thesis. I was THAT awesome.

I made this sucker by HAND. For my senior thesis in Baroque dance. I was THAT awesome.

Suffice it to say, I have long history of making great dresses. But they don’t always come together very easily. In fact, they never come together very easily. The only thing that has changed over the years is that I now know more curse words with which to express my fury.

Perhaps its time for Plan B.

8 Responses to “Totally Sane Sewing”

  1. no longer her landlord

    It wasn’t THAT much money, but certainly more than we had spent on just fabric up to that point and it was an awesome gown. It was at: https://www.britexfabrics.com/ which is like a candy store to textile freaks like us. If you are ever in San Francisco and love fabric, it is a must see, I dare you to walk out empty handed 😉

    • Kat Richter

      I can’t believe you remember the name! But yeah that place was amazing. I’m glad it is not nearby or I would be totally broke.

  2. staceyprickett

    Britex is a brilliant place, what memories. And having someone make your wedding dress is a special kind of magic! x

  3. The Prof

    Do you know that the costumes at the Globe in London are all made by hand? We hosted a young woman, theater costumier in training who had an internship there , and every buttonhole, every stitch is by hand so obviously you were well trained!

    • Kat Richter

      Yep, I’m not surprised 🙂 I used to be HUGELY into costume history (spent many a day at the V&A when I was in London)– am a bit less obsessed these days but you should see my closet 🙂 I got to meet the woman who did (or does?) the costumes for Hampton Court (if my memory serves me correctly; it might have been one of the other sites) and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! My first internship at Plymouth was technically in the museum education department but I kept hanging around the wardrobe department and they eventually took me on 🙂


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