The Handcrafted Wardrobe: Fern Green

“…I must wander off here to remark on the self-hate involved in those descriptions of ordinary human body parts.  In primitive cultures people get old, and when they get old they wrinkle and sag and get wise.  And their wisdom is recognized as adding value.  And I’ll bet you that old women in those cultures don’t look at their upper arms and cry.”~ Excerpt from Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life and Vegetables by Joan Dye Gussow

My big boys surprise me with the first ferns to venture out of the snow each spring, like Jem traditionally bringing the first may flowers to Anne.  They know that by winter’s end I’m desperately craving green and growing things, so they scout out a little spot they know of, a sheltered space, tucked under a cliff.  When they were younger there were clumsy attempts at secrecy that left me surreptitiously averting my eyes and feigning obliviousness.  As they have grown in maturity and discretion, a vase or two does just appear for me, seemingly out of the blue.

This is not the first time that I’ve undertaken the making of a custom wardrobe for myself.  During my last pregnancy I worked to compile a nursing-friendly wardrobe.  The pictures in this post are from that time.  Keep in mind I am 3 and 6 weeks postpartum, respectively, so do be kind in your thoughts.

This shade of green was an experiment for me.  It’s not one of the usual core colors that I gravitate to, but I felt like it had the potential to be.  I didn’t think I could know for sure until I tried.  It’s a keeper!  Part of why I’m posting this now is that this shade is popping up in many places in my life right now.

Having done this five times now, you would think that I would remember that perfectly innocent tops very quickly become outrageous to the point of near indecency.  With Mairi I remember popping on a formerly benign dress, looking down, and feeling a bit scandalous, going to seek a mirror.  On my way I encountered toddler Galen, who looked at me with hands on his hips and asked, “Why your na-nas stickin’ out?!?”  No mirror needed!

This was the first time I wore this green dress after having given birth and I very quickly (though clearly not quite quickly enough!) realized that a camisole underneath was a must.

It was made just like this dress*, only longer.

Things I liked about this dress:  The color!  The length.  Ease of nursing.

Things I hated about this dress:  The 4-way stretch fabric!!!!  It was murder to work with.  I’ve never had such a frustrating time with cutting out in all my life.  And it shows every single little bump, bulge and roll, up to and including panty lines and every bit of that required cami.

I had enough of it left that I managed to eek out a second dress….

Which you can’t really see!  It’s just like this one, only green.  Both the blue and green versions succumbed to too many days working in the garden, but they were pretty much my summer uniform for two years running.

  Lesson learned; keep the color, ditch the fabric.

What’s your go-to color palette?  Do you ever try to branch out?

*Looking back at that post I am laughing at myself, having just gone through a phase where I was making everything in blue, followed by an all-brown run, followed by a splash of green.  Apparently I’m ridiculously predictable!










3 thoughts on “The Handcrafted Wardrobe: Fern Green

  1. mamaashgrove

    Melody, that green looks beautiful in you. You look like a blossom with your rosy cheeks!
    I once tried seeing with 4 way stretch fabric and I will never do so again… what a nightmare!
    And my goodness, perhaps it is because you are a petite woman, or perhaps I am remembering my 6 pound birdie (and i am opposite of petite), but seraphina looks huge for 3 weeks!

  2. Melody Post author

    Probably a combination therein! As noted, I am pretty tiny- height-wise anyway- but I also tend to have giant babies. Seraphina was on the smaller side. Even so, she was 2 1/2 lbs bigger than Birdie at birth. But my babies also grow incredibly quickly. I hear lots of jokes about making nothing but cream. By three weeks she was probably close to 11 lbs. I think all of my babies were over 13 lbs by 6 weeks. Her medical chart from around 4 months says something like, “Seraphina is GIGANTIC (emphasis theirs!), but mother made assurances that all her children were” lol Believe it or not, teeny-tiny Elijah was the biggest baby of all!

  3. Zena

    We can be our own worst critics. You just look so beautiful and elegant in that dress. The fabric sounds horrendous to sew though. I was looking at the Christmas album at my in-laws and was surprised, amused and slightly embarrassed that every Christmas morning my breastfeeding breasts are bursting out of my tops. Not that I have anything to worry about this year (a bit disappointed actually) but it does mean when I feel better this Spring I will have to find patterns to suit my smaller upper body and bigger lower body. My body has had huge size changes over the childbearing years.

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