Saturday, March 24, 2012


I'd been putting it off.  A retired seamstress/dressmaker, I know what kind of fabrics give me pleasure in the handling and process of constructing a garment.  Supple, natural fibers that press nicely and release the fragrance of their origins delight me immensely.  Greenhouse fabric is woven plastic, stiff, unmoving except to slide around, and one would not ever press it.  The Things I get to do today must include having Handy Andy dressmaker  build one Big Mama Dress.

Vertical Garden* retrofit with shelves

Last fall one of the Vertical Garden frames I had built was modified to spend part of its yearly cycle as a greenhouse (see "Zippers and Studs" October 15, 2011).  The shelves are spaced for maximum solar benefit and, when the plant-baby season is over, can be removed to  allow growning-up plants a strong support.

"Fabric" 12' wide and 50' long--don't need that much

But the greenhouse comes first.  Out with the plans.  Remeasure the structure and check against plans. Unroll the fabric.  Measure.  Cut fronts (center and sides), sides and top/back. Install the zippers.  Cut vents.  No words are available to describe the sewing process except that it was way too close to a wrestling match.  No blood and no final bell, but I won--pinned that sucker to the mat (sewing machine) and ended up with the enclosing part of the greenhouse--though there was little satisfaction in the process.

How to get this over her "head"
Where is her head?

Amazingly, the "dress" fit the oddly built dame in the garden.

All snuggled up

All farmers know the basic rule "Make hay while the sun shines."  Get the structure up, then fill all the containers  with seeds eager to sprout and sing in the sunshine.

Unzipped to welcome the sun

Unzipped, the front rolled up, the south side provides a perfect setting for seed song.
Recycled lettuce tubs to be filled
with potting soil and seeds

*Vertical Gardening by Allen Fell, Rodale Press.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Lorita. My brain loves to draw plans and figure out how to put things together. That's where the talent comes in--I can see how it all fits.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's been in my head since last fall, nearly exploding to get out and into the garden.

  3. Wow, what a big sewing job! You really ARE Handy Andy!

  4. I am sooooo impressed!!! And thanks for linking up to Garden Tuesday!

    1. Thank YOU. We'll both be even more impressed when the seed babies sprout and grow. It's overcast and rainy today, but still pretty cozy in the Big Dress. I'll let you know how it goes.

  5. That is definitely one big sewing job! I can't even imagine sewing that stuff!

    1. I can't either. Guess that's why it took me awhile to get cranked up to do it. Drawing the pattern was great fun. Unzipping it and checking on the little seed babies is also fun. In between--not so much so. Thanks for dropping by the blog.