Two autumns ago I enrolled in a dressmaking class. It seemed like a good idea at the time and very much in tune with the zeitgeist, besides I had a treasured length of fabric bought aeons ago waiting to be turned into a dress. I spent an age flicking through pattern books before selecting one for a very tailored dress.
I passed the first class pressing the fabric, cutting out the dress,and marking the darts on the cut pieces. Then I hit a wall, the pattern had reams of complicated instructions and I was totally lost. The teacher poured over them for a while before suggesting that it might be best if I started again with a simpler pattern.
So it was back to the fabric shop and this time I found an easy pattern for an a line skirt and bought new fabric to make it up in. I didn’t take long to cut out the skirt and I stitched it together quickly, in truth it was sewn at breakneck speed as the fabric unravelled at a rate of knots. It was not my best effort and for reasons that I cannot now recall I abandoned the waistband and I used some petersham instead. I have never worn the skirt but I also made a simple summer dress before the end of the term and as I took more care when making that dress I have worn it on a few occasions.
If I were to tot up the costs of the two items I made (classes, patterns, fabrics, and a sewing machine I bought while attending the dressmaking lessons) I am sure I would find that I could easily have bought a to-die-for-item from a high-end designer’s range for the same amount of dosh. Never mind I have plans to use the sewing machine again – patchwork is on the agenda.