Why I want to learn to sew: Reason #1 June 13, 2008 10:23 2 Comments

Vogue_po_1051
Vogue Paris Original 1051 by Schiaparelli, circa 1949

Oh, sure. I could have someone make this. I could. If I lived in the city. If I had a bank balance the size of J-Lo’s. Alas.

So. Since dressmakers are scarce in my small town. Since my apparel budget wouldn’t keep Paris Hilton in pantyhose for a week, learning to sew seems to be the answer. Not an easy one: I’ve attempted to learn sewing before, and the resulting garments were less than accomplished. Let’s see.

There was the Donna Karan bias skirt pattern, so slinky, with a nod to the 1930s. I used a lovely lilac linen. The waist was so big there was enough room for me and my buddy Elsie the cow. Needless to say, it went to the Goodwill store. Immediately. Without even one wearing. Then there was the Vogue dress, sexy, very milkmaid meets Madonna. This one was big enough for me and a Mack truck. Hello, Goodwill.

My last effort was a gorgeous 1950s McCall fishtailed number. Easy to make, teased the pattern envelope. This time, I decided to do things right. I made a muslin. It fit perfectly. It was beautiful. Mr. Gardenia was so impressed with my dressmaking skill. I excitedly cut the fashion fabric, a luscious peacock cotton brocade. I followed the instructions ever so carefully. But something went wrong — a dart. It was off just a tad at the waist. I ripped it out, picking the threads slowly, and tore the fabric! Pelting tears. Heaving sobs. The front and back — unattached — are still hanging in my closet. Need I say reproachfully?

That was a year ago. But I have recovered. I am resilient, if not exactly optimistic. This Schiaparelli ensemble inspires me. It’s the North Star, beckoning, guiding, luring me to try yet again. Can I do it? Can I make something I'll wear this time?