Time and tide wait for no wo man – something I was starkly reminded of last weekend, working at a residential event for young women with secondary breast cancer. During a highly emotive breakout session, focusing on women talking to their children about their diagnosis, one woman volunteered the only positive thing that came to mind about her illness – that it gave her time to put things in order. For most of us, thoughts of death and dying are not at the forefront of our minds as we navigate our way through our daily activities. But what if they were – how would the immediacy of our mortality affect the tenor of our day?
After three days in Manchester, ensconced in a work bubble of event organisation, I woke up on Sunday determined to seize the day and squeeze the value out of every minute. Propelled by this sense of urgency, I set myself the challenge of fashioning an item from start to finish. I’d already done the spade work – it being my third attempt at Jumper Dress G from Stylish Dress Book: Simple Smocks, Dresses & Tops. My first foray with this pattern was underwhelming but I had capitalised on lessons learned with a denim version for a friend.
I found the fabric in the kilo bins at Manchester Aberkhan and my first thought was that it’s stiffness and structure would lend itself perfectly to Megan Nielson’s Brumby skirt pattern. However, it seemed a waste not to make something more substantial from the 2.5 metres I’d bagged for a tenner, so I opted for a final showdown with Dress G.
Having learned that the fabric choice is all important in terms of fit and finish, I graded up the denim version to achieve a roomier fit for my un Japanese-like frame. On top of previous adjustments, I added an extra 1.5cm under the arms at the bodice, increasing to 2cm by 28cm down, to accommodate my bottom heavy figure. To achieve my desire for a Bibaesque interpretation, I chopped 10.5cm off the unextended pattern leaving a 2.5cm hem allowance. I also included my stab at self-drafted pockets and 10 hours later … mission accomplished.
Whilst I’m pretty chuffed I managed to knock up a smock in a day – I did notice my mind becoming more and more agitated, as I raced against the clock to achieve my aim. Working at breakneck speed also had a negative effect on the execution and precision of my chosen craft. I’m happy that my age and work environment, have given me the confidence to spend my time in company and pursuits I find meaningful. But I have to concede that when it comes to my adventures in stitch, there are no short cuts. For my next project, my challenge is to favour process over outcome. Tempus fugit indeed but as the saying goes – softly, softly catchee monkey.