Dress E from Yoshiko Tsukiori’s ‘Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom’ caught my eye for many reasons – not least the opportunity to utilise nursery rhyme themed fabric, sourced from Heavens to Betsy’s stall at Eroica Britannia.
For the dress fabric proper, I went on a fabric trawl in Abakhan Manchester with my friend and fellow blogger Twinks. Buying by the kilo proved a temptation too far, as my instinct was to pile my basket up, enticed by high quality remnants at a fraction of the usual retail cost.
An hour in to our epic shopping adventure, I had a re-think and returned the majority of my magpie finds. Inspired by the clean lines realised in Yoshiko’s patterns and an increasing yen to streamline, I restricted myself to fabrics for which I had a pattern in mind and picked up over 2 metres of Vintage Farmhouse by Kim Diehl for Henry Glass & Co for a mere £6.
Whilst organised is my first, middle and last name, this quality always seems to get lost during sewing preparations, with my compact and bijou flat soon becoming a pin-strewn health and safety hazard. So for this project I adopted a new approach, making sure I had everything cut out and to hand before embarking on a sew-off.
My continuing adventures in stitch have had unforeseen consequences.The propensity to create has usurped the desire to acquire and whilst consumerism has by no means released it’s grip, more and more I am questioning the value of things.We are constantly being urged to move on to the next level – expand, make money from our creative endeavours, compete and gain accolades. I’m regularly asked when I’ll be making clothes to order and applying for the The Great British Sewing Bee. The inferred compliment is most welcome but I also feel a resistance – is the simple joy of creation not enough?
Two dresses in and there’s no prospect of me escaping my Japanese smock loop for the foreseeable. I’m hooked on their simplicity, elevated by signature details – in this case tucks, gathering and for me the pattern deal breaker of patch pockets. Having cut my teeth on Dress T, I was prepared for the succinct instruction and execution was straightforward. My only adaptation to dispense with the capped sleeves in preference for a bias binding finish.
A series of unfortunate events with a friend of long-standing tenure has caused me to reflect further. What and whom do we hold on to and why? Whilst I’ve always heralded loyalty, I’m increasingly appreciating the need for that which we surround ourselves, to enhance our day to day. And sometimes, longevity alone isn’t reason enough – some relationships need calling time on.
So, I’m cleaning out my closet in more ways than one – uncomfortable and cathartic in turn. Which brings me back to Dress E … unexpectedly beautiful from the inside out … an aspiration for any future acquisitions.