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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Namirembe dress

The garment-a-month challenge I set for myself in January (inspired by Annika) is working out pretty well even though I am two months behind. I would never have finished five garments in six and a half months without this self-imposed motivation!

 

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Reading—okay, *pretending* to read— Virginia Wolf at the read-aloud picnic last Sunday. Photo by Anne.

 

And of course, the more I make the more compliments I get, which gets me even more psyched to start on the next project.

 

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On our Uganda/Rwanda trip back in August 2013, Kate and Elliot and I spent a good bit of time at a craft market in Kampala shopping for fabric. They’d just bought their house and were looking for an eye-catching print to hang on the wall, and I was hoping to find something fun but not too “busy” for a dress project. As soon as I saw this subtle and vaguely botanical print (are they berries? squash? nuts? acorns?) I knew three yards of it were coming home with me. Kate convinced the shopkeeper to cut a six-yard swathe in half (they wanted me to buy the whole thing, but I knew the three extra yards would only sit in my stash for years)—she is so good at bargaining, while I’m still working on doing it despite my discomfort.

 

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A zoomed-in view from the minaret at the mosque in Kampala, looking out at Namirembe Hill—see the Anglican church at the top?

 

I think of this sewing project as the Namirembe dress because “Namirembe” comes from the Luganda word for “peace,” and it’s a popular name for girls. The story goes that the first Namirembe was a great benefactress in the Christian community.

 

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Kate having yet another “I can’t believe she’s a lawyer” moment atop the minaret. I also have a video, which I will post eventually. Good thing my sister’s full name never appears anywhere on this blog, HA HA.

 

Apart from the fabric origin, I don’t have much in the way of notes on this project; it’s the same mash-up as the unicorn dress, Mary Adams + Simplicity 2591, but this time I included the pockets from the Simplicity pattern. The practicality is so worth the extra sewing!

 

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Photo by Mackenzi.

 

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With Madeline Miller, Debka Colson, and the JP Reads flash fiction winners (Ryan Bradley, Tanya Bogaty, and Marika McCoola) at a reception at the Loring Greenough House on May 9th.

 

As you can tell by the photos on my news page, this has been my go-to gussied-up-authoress outfit for the past month and change (I finished it just before my NYC event on May 6th). It is flattering and funky and I get appreciative looks and gentlemanly compliments every time I wear it. My favorite comment came from my friend Jaclyn’s roommate, who asked if I’d ever lived in Africa while I lounged in their hammock at a recent tea party. She’d lived in Kampala for awhile, so she recognized the fabric.

 

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I need a dress form so I can get bodice close-ups without feeling like a perv.

 

I lined the bodice with black batiste left over from the cathedral dress, but I haven’t lined the skirt yet. I really need to do that if I want to be able to wear this dress through the fall and winter. (Otherwise the fabric clings to my stockings. Slippy acetate/rayon lining = free movement.)

I have to confess that when I’m almost finished with a sewing project, I get lazy. I haven’t actually sewn in the bodice linings of either this dress or my unicorn dress, just basted them in place so I could wear each of them ASAP. I also had to re-sew this zipper. I showed up at Kate G’s office the day of the McNally Jackson event and heard the ominous sound of snapping threads as I took off my jacket. But literary agents help you out with all kinds of things, not just book deals, haha—Kate put in a safety pin and I was good to go.

 

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You can see my slapdash bodice lining peeking out on the left side! Photo by Jake G. Panda.

 

More sewing projects to blog about soon!

 

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Mackenzi and our friend Emily Martin are reading one another’s ARCs at the same time. There is even a hashtag, #MreadsEm. Alas, I did not manage to filch this galley. Photo by Becky.

 

4 Comments to Namirembe dress

  1. July 16, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    It looks great! I love the fabric.

  2. July 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    So great to meet you!!! That fabric is so great! I can see why you had it earmarked for a special project.

  3. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    July 16, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    You’re so fancy with pockets! Looks great and every time you where it you can think of good times 🙂

  4. Ang's Gravatar Ang
    July 17, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I love the fabric and the dress!!!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.