I made a deal with myself many moons ago (well, okay, not actually as long ago as that implies, but never mind…) to make my own dresses and create a wonderfully glamorous and practical wardrobe. This is all fine and dandy; I’ve made skirts and cloaks in the past. I’ve even made a bag before (it wasn’t the best, but I was still in primary school at the time. Goodness that was a long time ago!). I’ve loved nice swishy skirts ever since I read one of Enid Blyton’s books about the group of kids who run away and live on an island. There was a later one where they end up in a robbers’ den and the girls have beautiful skirts with lots of layers in blue and silver. Anyway, my love of clothing was born there, and deepened when I began to read Georgette Heyer’s historical romances and her descriptions of all the clothes, men’s as well as women’s. (I think that mostly taught me to beware anyone who can’t dress with propriety or in colours which suit – the slimy characters always seemed to dress in a manner which offended the eye or taste…)
This love-affair with dress means that period dramas are right up my street. All the traditional ones based on Nineteenth Century stories (Austen and co.) and the current batch of Twentieth Century ones. And okay, I can take or leave late Regency period dramas – I always think those Grecian-style dresses make them all look pregnant – but the written descriptions are fantastic. I’ve always felt it was a shame that Heyer’s books were never filmed, but then, they would never have been done properly…One or two were made…I wouldn’t recommend them…
Anyway. To clothing and fabrics. To swooshing and swirling.
So I duly found myself a dress pattern. Best to start simple, I think, so I found one which doesn’t involve anything much more complicated that a buttonhole. I have Butterick’s “Walkaway” dress, so-called because, apparently, you can begin it after breakfast and be wearing it by lunchtime. The pattern does indeed look remarkably straight-forward, and the instructions simple. I have hope.
The first snag, though, comes when I can’t find the bit where it tells me how much fabric I’m going to need is. I can find the types suitable, and the sizes and measurements, but not the amount. My friend can’t find it either, but she offers her advice as a more experienced seamstress and suggests that three metres should be ample. Because I’m a student and lazy and this is only a first attempt, I go to eBay and find cotton in emerald green. This arrives a day later, and it is a lovely colour. Normally I’m very picky about fabrics which I use and how they feel. I expect I’ll end up lining this dress, mostly just because I like lots of layers of material swishing about my legs.
However, here I must end, because I have no sewing machine. It’s true I could hand-sew it, which is what I’ve done in the past, but I’d really like this dress to last, and for the stitches to be strong. So I have a pattern and cloth, and they’re ready and waiting for when I get a machine. And okay, they’re probably more use than a chocolate teapot, but I need to use up my chocolate, so I’ll make one of them instead…Maybe I’ll find a use for one…Any suggestions?