Or summer dresses, or whatever you like – I’ve had to resort to making my own this year as the wheel of style has turned in the fashion world, and it has turned towards colours that make my eyes vomit and styles clearly aimed at people who do not remember 1995 with the clarity and horror that I do.
Number one was Simplicity Sewing Pattern 2917 BB, which looked like it would be a pleasant fitted dress with princess seams, designed to flatter the form without clinging too extensively.
And what actually happened, when I’d followed the pattern exactly and done all the interfacing and ironing and seam clipping as told, and all of the understitching and the edge zigzagging and the fiddly rubbish, was that it turns out that Simplicity and I have different ideas about how big my waist measurement is, and I should therefore have cut the pattern size down from the one that I used, because – despite having measured myself pretty thoroughly beforehand – the clothing company decided to lie about how loose-fitting to that measurement it was going to be.
Et voila: a lovely well-ironed spring green cotton sack with princess seams. In theory I could take it in a little, I suppose, but in practice it looks like a sack, and the pattern pieces in a couple of places are build in such a way that I can’t even just cut the smaller version of the pattern. Thanks, Simplicity.
On the other hand this ribbon was cheap from Walthamstow (from a shop called Ribbonz) so I thought I might as well jazz up the armholes. Not a sentence you hear very often.
Number two, on the other appendage, was cobbled together out of an undersized coat pattern, some extension panels, and a full circle skirt worked out with maths that I didn’t trust and then should have trusted, plus an extending overlay at the back because it turns out that a full circle skirt only really works if you have a completely flat arse.
Also, this was the world’s most irritating fabric to work with and would not stay where it was put and yet somehow the end result is significantly less sack-like:
I’m beginning to believe that success or failure in the field of dressmaking has less to do with whether you follow the pattern properly or prepare the fabric or take measurements or anything else: it’s just down to whether the evil malignant god of the sewing machine decides to smile on you, or shit on you.