Making my own clothes has rekindled my love for the whole process of dress-making. I always have done, but since I haven’t had the time and have lacked the inspiration to do so for the last five or so years, it has taken a back seat, although I have watched some films and series with envy for the beautiful dresses, like in West Side Story, and High Society.
My home-town was built upon a wool economy. One of the main employers in the town was a fabric factory. The factory shop is still open for business today and it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of fabrics and sewing accessories. I love going into haberdasheries; it’s like going into an old book shop: they have their own distinctive smell and feel. The factory shop at home has a wonderful sort of stillness and quiet in it. I like going in just to look. I don’t need to have a project in mind to enjoy a wander around the stacks of silks and satins, the cottons and linens, fleeces and furs. I like trying to work out what I would do with the fabrics and the colours, deciding which would look good as a dress or skirt.
I have hopes for the green cotton and the simple pattern, which theoretically only takes a morning. I duly lay out my fabric. I’m quite impressed that I have space on my floor, if I move the furniture. I pin the pattern and cut the cloth. It takes longer than I expect, but don’t all these things? Sewing it all together is relatively quick and simple. As it’s only my first attempt, I choose not to worry about using any of the fancy stitches. Just a nice quick, simple straight stitch.
Pinning the bias tape takes even longer, although I’m quite pleased that I don’t run out of pins. But I can see that I probably will when I get to pinning the hem. I find I have minor problems keeping the stitches running straight, but it doesn’t cause any real issues. I just have ever so slightly wavy stitches, but never mind.
By the time I finish the dress, it’s several days later. Now, admittedly, the pattern didn’t allow for a lining, which I’ve added, but the simplicity of the pattern means that the lining didn’t add that much time to the making. But it’s still taken considerably longer than the morning that they reckoned. Besides which, reading the instructions, there’s one which says to allow 24 hours to allow the bias to set. So, if you’re following it exactly, it’ll still take longer than a morning, even if you are far more experienced than I am.