Friday, April 13, 2018

Worth the Wait

I’m not sure what the title of this post will be, nor am I entirely sure of everything I intend to say.

When I left Glasgow four years ago, I was sad to leave Scotland, but I knew that it was important to go back home (Utah) and be with family. That decision has definitely been a blessing. I’ve been able to spend so much time with my mother, and the adventures my sister Beccah and I have had are priceless. Not to mention taking care of my two nieces.

The magical beauty of Kilmory Oib

When I went back for a visit to the UK last spring, I stood in a deserted village in Scotland and listened to the silence one can only achieve when in the middle of nowhere. My heart ached. It’s been aching ever since, and this past summer, I thought I’d found the answer. Do a PhD (involving writing, sewing and Dorothy Wordsworth) at Lancaster University. The stars seemed to align. I took an excellent online course about William Wordsworth. I contacted professors at the university and they were kind, generous and encouraging about my ideas. In late November, I submitted my application, and waited eagerly to hear back.

And waited. And waited. I finally got my answer in early February  (only a little over two months, I know, but it felt a lot longer!). It was ‘No’. I immediately emailed the one particular professor I’d been corresponding with and asked her advice. It was to apply for a masters degree first, then go on to do the PhD. She pointed out that academically and financially, it might be a better deal. I was convinced. So I applied for the masters program she recommended, and which would fit in with what I wished to study and accomplish.

So, another two-ish months of waiting, and I got an answer to my application.

It was ‘No’.

My kind family and friends tell me that something else better is in the wings. And I might still achieve my Dorothy studies in some other way, through another avenue. It is difficult, when o e had such a lovely plan, to have to start from scratch and come up with something new. It isn’t difficult to have your credentials, your references, your writing all politely declined.

Good thing I’ve already become used to rejection from literary agents!

But I have learned a few things from this agonising experience. Life is full of waiting. And I do want to get a PhD and become a professor, something I did not know about myself a year ago. I just have to go about it a different way. I’ll get there in the end, for I also know that anything worth having is worth the effort, worth the work and, of course, worth the wait.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Oh she’s my dear my darling one...Darby O’Gill Dress!

I’ve grown up watching the fabulously creative Disney film ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’(1959). It’s always been a family tradition to watch it every St. Patrick’s Day. If you haven’t seen it, go find it now! It is hilarious and delightful, and a very young pre-James Bond Sean Connery stars in it. What’s more, he sings! It’s magic.

The leading lady, Janet Muro, who plays Katie has a lovely Sunday best dress in the film that I’ve been wanting to recreate for a good ten years.

One of my favourite places to order fabric from is Denver Fabrics. They recently had a sale and I ordered a multi-coloured small houndstooth rayon to use for a Katie dress. Her dress in the film is more of an orange/ brown combination, but I was happy with my fabric choice, and knew I wouldn’t be making an exact copy anyway.

Two close-ups of the Darby O’Gill dress, and the fabric I bought. 

I used a pattern from the late 1930s which I’d used before and knew would turn out well, although I would be altering the bodice a great deal!

The original pattern instructs to cut the bodice on the fold, but I made it two pieces, as well as further cutting the front tabs, which in the original pattern are gathered details on the bodice. 

I also had to insert a panel with pin-tucks, which terrified me a little, as I’ve always avoided pin-tucks in the past. I also had trouble with the collar. My neckline was too wide for a traditional collar, so I ended up finishing it off with bias tape and lace and am quite happy with the result. 

I also made my dress shorter than the one in the film, which is ankle-length.