Some years ago I bought a summer dress on sale; simple, round neck, sleeveless, no shape, one size too big, perfect for hot summer days when one doesn’t wish to be constrained by clothing. I no longer like the fabric, but still like the style, so I decided to embark on a dressmaking endeavour. Not a new adventure as my gorgeous Nanna had taught me some dressmaking skills in my girlhood. All that was required was to bring them to the fore of the memory. The one thing I wasn’t sure of was making a pattern from the dress. So I called on the professional skills of my friend Maree who helped out…..well actually she drafted the whole thing!
Armed with a lovely Japanese fabric
After sitting quietly and working out in my mind the order of the steps involved in the making, (with Nanna sitting on my shoulder), I wrote out some instructions for myself, then started.
Fronts darts were the first step after cutting out. The voice of Mrs MacNeill, my high school home economics teacher reverberated in my brain. “Remember girls, nice smooth darts please, no pig sties”. As her student, I pondered the association of darts and pig sties, while trying to repeat her demonstration on my fabric, and could find no correlation, until she repeated the message after looking at some poor hapless student’s work. Then I realised; pig’s eyes, not pig sties! But forever after, my darts are made without pig sties! See?
Then it was back to it. I remembered how to do the facings, trimming the corners and clipping the curves. Do you know, I think this turning tool is probably from my high school days!
While sewing I remembered lovely times spent with Nanna as “we” made clothes for me; the outfit she made me for the Little Miss competition when I was about 7; watching her skills as she wielded her shears, cutting unerringly into the fabric; the chats and laughs we shared as she guided me through garment construction. Happy memories!
While Mrs MacNeill may not have given me an A+, I’m very happy with it and I reckon Nanna would have been too. So thank you Maree, Nanna, and even Mrs MacNeill. This could be the start of something…..