I love to plan parties, and although most of our South 'n France parties are done on a small scale (10-16 people), from time to time I get to plan a bigger event. This time, the big party was a surprise in honor of my mother's sixtieth birthday. Mom is a talented seamstress who has spent years working for local community and professional theater houses, the film industry, and her own collection of independent customers. We thought it was only fitting to organize her birthday party around a sewing theme. The first task was to send invitations depicting this cute seamstress to everyone in her address book. The custom-made invitation was inspired by a sculpture called The Fiber Artists; I bought it from janusdesigns on etsy.com because she looks a lot like our Mom! Of course, we asked guests to keep their lips buttoned so the party would be a surprise. We also began planning a special fashion and talent show that proved to be a real stitch!
Decorating with sewing supplies was an obvious choice. We purchased hundreds of tape measures and used them to make curtains reminiscent of a beaded walk-through curtain. Yarn balls on knitting needles formed our centerpiece "bouquets". Eleven hot pink double curtain panels were hung from the rafters to create a canopy ceiling. And thousands of buttons in shades of pink, green, red and purple were strewn on tables and in the vases that held our centerpieces. Unbeknownst to her, I raided my mother's collection of hundreds of sewing patterns, where I selected about forty vintage patterns in shades of pink and green. I then made oversized photocopies of the images to create a pattern-inspired wall collage.
Cath's Chair Covers provided the gorgeous chair covers and pink satin bows that just happened to perfectly match those curtain panels I had found. Cath personally tied every bow on every chair herself! We rented the round tables and lime green tablecloths from Party Suppliers. When D-Day (Decorating Day) arrived, I was on pins and needles because I knew that transforming the venue would be no small task. Thankfully, I had enlisted a tight knit group of family and friends to help make my vision a reality. Pascal spent the entire day climbing up and down a 10-foot ladder. Our friends Anne and Mary painstakingly ironed all of those silk and organza curtains. Our two "Marthas" (friends so talented they could be related to the famous one) created the wall of patterns and made bows to decorate "fabric trees". Even my Dad (who has not a crafty cell in his body) got into the act, sorting knitting needles and turning them into the stems that created our yarn bouquets.
By the end of a very long (and warm!) day of decorating, we were all pleased with the seamless transformation of the austere hall we had rented. The stage had been set for a fun birthday celebration that was simple, yet oh sew chic! Our Mom was very surprised, especially when the fashion show started and friends and family who had traveled from as far away as Canada, upstate New York, Virginia, and Texas came out to model her costume creations. As for the party planner? I loved piecing the entire event together, but two weeks later, I'm still on the mend!