1. A mountain of Lurex.
I decided to make a dress suitable for wearing to a friend's wedding and as I had recently had delivery of just over 2 metres of bargainous olive green dupion silk, I thought that some sort of sophisticated cocktail dress would be in order.
Step forward Vogue 5942.
And a bow! How I love a bow.
As my fabric was so lovely and I had a whole weekend with no plans I decided that I should do the right thing and make a toile first. Am I glad I did.
When I opened the pattern I noticed something amiss. The pattern pieces had no printing on them! Just plain pieces of tracing paper with holes in them! This meant a lot of referring back to the instructions as regards cutting out etc. I was tempted to give up there and then. But I persevered and managed to work out what pieces went where - eventually. Once the actual sewing started things seemed to be going well, I made the bodice and it fit beautifully. I made the skirt, this too seemed to fit nicely. The problem arose when I put the pieces together - if I lined the zip hole in the bodice up with the zip hole in the skirt the seams on the skirt were horribly wonky. If I lined up the seams on the skirt so that they looked like the drawing then the two zip holes were a good 3 inches apart - what to do?
The solution was obvious. I had a glass of wine and gave up for the night. I'd been working for about 7 hours on it by now and my patience was pretty much exhausted.
The next day I started afresh - with a bold new plan! I would sew up the stupid under-the-armhole zip-holes and put a good old-fashioned back zipper in! There was a centre seam down the back of the skirt and I could just add a bit on to the bodice. I decided to test this on the toile and cut that bodice in half, ripped out some of the back seam on the skirt and (badly) stitched a manky old spare zip in. Success! The results looked pretty good (if you didn't examine the actual quality of the sewing too closely).
With renewed enthusiasm and a spirit of derring-do I set out to cut the pieces out for real.
Maybe 'enjoying' is the wrong word. Yesterday I was utterly bemused by the sheer number of Peter Pan collars in New Look. They are everywhere! In fact, if you enter 'Peter Pan' as a search on the New Look website there are no less than 65 matches!
And all this before you even get into two more of my favourite things; huge bows and stripey t-shirts. There are some lovely-looking (from a distance) '60s inspired dresses in there, but closer examination and a price tag of around £30 leads me to believe that I could actually make something, far cheaper, that wouldn't look so - well - cheap! Haven't these people been to Leeds or Walthamstow Markets? Don't they know how cheap decent fabric can be?
Of course the trouble with these dresses is that hundreds of other women will be wearing them (obviously not with the same style and panache as me), I'm still hoping that some of them will turn up in the charity shops in 6 months and then I'll buy them to wear to work. I would NEVER dream of wearing a brand-new High Street dress to a party or club though, the risk is just too great. At least with genuine vintage (or shoddy homemade tat) the risk of seeing a lady in the same dress is very small indeed.