It doesn't take much to deduce that there's very little that's coherent about my blog posting; it's plainly all over the place. And it would be pointless to deny that it well reflects how, in everyday life my brain too veers off at (seeming) tangents, appearing to constantly fall victim to distraction. But I like to think I am "Distracted with Purpose". I remember Russell Grant's affirmation when speaking of Aquarians (he's an Aquarian himself I've discovered) that, "There is method in their madness", a statement which time and again has pretty much summed up my life choices. So with this explanation in place, I'll skip back to wisteria season 2015 once again, when the pictures for this post were also taken, and show you the 4th dress I made in my ongoing quest to master Sewing Stretch Fabrics.
It was the glowing reviews which attracted me to this pattern, Vogue V8615, out-of-print now but still available. I wanted to put the CustomFit to the test, and as I would be using a stretch fabric, I decided to follow reviewer's recommendations to omit the back zip as well and make it pull-over.
To be honest I wasn't convinced that this would be a "me" dress at all, but the pockets were nice (I know, weird to choose a pattern on the strength of "the pockets"!!), and, as with everything else I've sewn since I began again after a 20 year break, it was more about the exercise and the learning process, than about the finished article itself. I bought my first ever ponte knit fabric for the bargain basement price of €3 a metre, and set to cutting out the size 14. I allowed the width of the regalia pattern to dictate the skirt length (which ended up midway between views A and B), and I cut the 3/4 sleeves.
Ponte knit on the roll had never thrilled me. It always brought to mind crimplene, a fabric I'd shunned in teenage horror many years ago, but after having so recently grappled with slithery stretch fabrics, I found myself feeling very grateful to this stable knit, which on first glance looks like a woven. I imagine the term ponte, meaning bridge in Italian, was coined because the quality of the fabric spans many qualities both of wovens and of knits.
As I sewed, that iconic quote from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, burgeoned on my thoughts ... "Ah, chrysanthemums. Such serviceable flowers." That's it! I can't love ponte, but I must acknowledge it's serviceability. But by now, with this project still unfinished, I was bored. I'd set out to teach myself how to handle various stretch fabrics, and I'd more or less succeeded. I didn't like this dress. I hadn't made a toile to correct the fit in advance. I hadn't bothered to underline it. I'd been dubious about its outcome from the start, having just knocked it up as an exercise. But I was brought up with the WWII slogan "Make Do and Mend" regularly repeated by my grandparents, and waste is an anathema to me. So I dashed to finish it at least, and (although it's far from perfect) I'm rather pleased I bothered.
I didn't like the thought of a thick self hem, so I bound the bottom edge with a fabric from my stash which was a great match for the greeny/yellow of the pattern. The bodice is too wide at the shoulders and my sleeve insertion is horrible,
but with a vintage contour belt to cinch in my (pre WWW) waist and a green fox fur collar, I wore it to a lunch party held for Marco's birthday - one of the gorgeous boys who run B&B casapiù in Porcino. "O guarda" they exclaimed, "è arrivata la Tsarina!" (Oh look, it's the Tzarina !), and from that moment my horrible dress and I received nothing but compliments all afternoon. Thank you boys, how could I not love you?
The "Tzarina" is not amused
Oh, hang on .... Yes she IS!!!!
If I ever made this again, I'd forget stretch and use a woven fabric with a zip. I'd make a toile to improve the fit, and this can then serve as the underlining (Ha, just picked up that thrifty tip from the Demented Fairy!!!). I'd probably change the neckline by raising it at the front and deepening the back V; and I'd add a waist stay to better define the waist and help support the weight of the skirt.
With the neckline being so wide I virtually had to treat this as an off-the-shoulder number and find a suitable bra. Enter the Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless in which I'll allegedly be able to dance through the night, and most of the next morning, without once having to hoik it up. So I put it on and twirled and danced ...
..... and danced and twirled
This shot just cracks me up! The thing is, I'd read on Oonaballoona's blog (do go and visit it - you'll love her too, I guarantee) that shooting photographs upwards makes you look taller, so as my daughter Cami was my
unwilling photographer on this occasion, I instructed her to follow Oona's advice. I'm not sure I appear taller but what this shot does reveal however is the PHENOMENAL anti-gravitational force of my "wonderbra" and now's the moment for me to let you into a little secret ...
This bra has been engineered to incorporate the spectral hands of an able shotputter who untiringly hoists and thrusts the whole time I'm wearing it. Bloomin' marvellous, innit?
On behalf of my Wonderbra I'd like to clarify here that the small protuberance you see on my chest is the result of a lack of underlining, coupled with my haste in wanting to finish this dress. It should NOT be mistaken for the impression of a nipple. No no! I'll wager there isn't a nipple in the world (however well toned, and however crippling its "Look at ME" complex) could make its presence felt (or seen) through the wonderously constructed, impenetrability of "The Wonderbra".
Now, just as a closing thought, and returning to my unsubtly mis-spelled title. Does anyone know who it was that thought it'd be a good idea to purloin the English word "gay"; a word that wasn't yet redundant; which hadn't passed out of common usage; a word which was still gainfully employed as a delightful adjective and girls name? Seemingly out of the blue it was imbued with another significance!!! I wouldn't mind so much but it seems such a waste of an opportunity to enrich spoken English, (which could really do with some help in counteracting the leaching that's become the norm: such as the pervasive use of "like", mindlessly slotted into conversation every ten words, and the generally misused "awesome"). Other languages aren't suffering a "dumbing down" of the same proportions. Take Italian for example. While Italy has embraced the now international term Gay, it has however maintained the translation of "gay", which is Gaia, both as a name and an adjective. See what I mean? For Italian it's been a win-win situation with no losses.
Now, I don't personally know anyone who at birth was named Gay by her proud parents, but there have got to be hundreds of thousands of Gays in the world, and just as many Joys, Hopes, Belles and Glorias! I'd be interested to know what it's been like to live with the name Gay in modern times. (Interestingly the significance of the noun "gaiety" has remained fairly unaffected, and I think Gaiety actually makes a very pretty name).
You know what?... yesterday I invented a word, and I used it in my post. It's a verb - To strot. And for simplicity's sake I think it should be a regular verb :)
Strot signifies that stiff-legged gait, something between a strut and a trot, that women employ when they feel too self-conscious to break into a full-blown run, but they know they need to get moving.
So similarly, since "gay" in it's modern guise is mainly applied to homosexual men; and as all the homosexual men I know are beautiful and creative (or they aspire to be), I can of course feel another word coming on here. This time it's the noun, "Beautive". Go ahead and google it and you'll find it doesn't exist yet. That's because I've only just invented it!!!! hahahahahahaha :D
OK, enough of my musings. I think I'd better run the above past that beautive Master of English Language, Stephen Fry and see whether he'd like to be officially endorsed as "The Original Beautive". I'll let you know when he gets back to me :)
And on a very final note, I just want to show you my greenish fur collar which I got for €8 in a second-hand market.
I removed the tatty brown lining, then washed it in the bath a couple of times in the hope of enabling it to take the green dye better. Although it didn't turn as full-on green as I'd hoped, it has a definite green tinge (more so than is visible here) which has lifted it from dull and confirmed middle-age, to slightly more youthful and quirky. I relined it with shot silk shantung from the stash which I hemmed and sewed in by hand. I added a silk strip sewn diagonally across one extremity, and I can pass the opposite end through it if I want to wear it as a scarf. And in the winter I want to wear it as a scarf A LOT!!
Ooops! Mustn't keep the Tzar waiting! Just one quick coffee and I'd better hoppit!
This Blog is pro-autism
Thank you, Sallyxx