Making a dress is less about sewing material and following a pattern, and more about getting through the mental stumbling blocks we put in our way. Well, that's how it is for me anyway.
You've found a pattern and you've researched online how other people have interpreted it. You've seen the dress made up in the horrible purple sunflower material, but now it's your turn - surely you can do it better. You have a vague idea in your head of what kind of pattern you want. You visit the fabulous haberdashery near you which, when you haven't got a project in mind, has the most amazing choice of fabric. You get there and... nothing jumps out at you. You spend an hour browsing. You spend another hour not being able to make a decision between two fabrics, and then you see a third fabric, and have to leave the shop. You have a coffee, and go back with a decision - you'll take the first fabric you saw. You get to the cash till and quickly dash out of the queue to change your mind. You'll take the second fabric. You come out of the shop and instantly regret not getting the third fabric choice; the one you've bought looks like something your aunty's dog was wearing at Christmas.
2. Pattern tracing procrastination
So you have a great pattern, questionable fabric (but you're past that now) and all you need to do is trace the pattern out. You look at your sewing space in dismay, and realise that you need to declutter the area before you start anything. Where did all those dirty wine glasses come from? The television suddenly gets interesting, you find yourself contacting friends you haven't talked to for years, you cook that incredibly time-consuming three-tier cake you found in a magazine, all the washing needs doing instantly, you invite all your family and friends to stay for a week, and you find you've adopted a puppy and two kittens.
3. Fear of cutting
You finally get a grip and return the animals, friends, family and washing to where they all belong. You've traced the pattern out and need a stiff drink - hell, you need a knighthood! So now the cutting. You hold the scissors and stop. You take aim and begin. You stop. You have a coffee and make a phone call. You have a word with yourself and start cutting. You're disappointed with how blunt your dressmaking scissors are, but maybe that's because you keep leaving them on the kitchen table where everyone uses them to open food packets. You make a mental note to buy some new ones and get on with wonky cutting.
4. The dust settles
You've done the cutting. It's not perfect, and that material is looking worse by the minute. But, you feel good, you've made a start. So you leave it for a day, and then another day, and then a week goes by. You find yourself browsing other patterns and, unbelievably, ordering a few. Finally, you give yourself a good talking to and a hearty slap across the face, and you gaze on your neglected dress now covered in a bit of dust. Get on with it, you say eating the last of the three-tier cake you've managed to make once again.
5. A little misunderstanding
So now you're full speed ahead. You're blazing. You've imagined yourself taking the sewing world by storm with your amazing skills. Hey, maybe you should enter the Great British Sewing Bee! And then it goes a bit wrong. You've read the instructions wrong and sewn two pieces back to front. You're livid with yourself, and have to be talked down from the garage roof by a patient relative. You feel like throwing the whole lot in the bin, but worry what the bin-men will say about your awful choice of material.
6. Unpicking exhaustion
After a Hobnob you calm down, apologise to your household and search through the whole house for that tiny implement that unpicks stitches. It takes a while but you retrieve it from under the skirting board, and start. It's demoralising, and the only silver lining is that you're not having to do it in front of a nation of Sewing Bee watchers. Thank goodness, you're not good enough to get on the GBSB.
7. Rushing to the finish
Mistake rectified and panic over, you're on the final stretch and all enthusiasm has gone for this project. You rush everything, not stopping the machine if anything goes wrong. You reason that nobody will see the tiny mistakes; a hem that's not straight or the puckering neckline. Again, you thank yourself for not entering the GBSB. Well done you!
8. The unresponsive response
It's finished at last and it's not too bad. You try it on and it fits fairly well (your boobs don't look too great but, to be honest, they never do). You try it on with every accessory and shoe combination you can think of, and finally settle on something that looks alright - the wedge sandals that you wear with everything. You show it to your nearest and dearest with a smug grin... nothing, no response. You prance around a bit... nothing. You point out the finer details... nothing. You ask if they can tell that the hem is wonky... they shrug a bit. You get up to their face and growl, pointing aggressively at the dress... they say it's very nice, and then nothing.
9. Indecisive outings
So it sits in the wardrobe and you want to wear it, but daren't. You think about wearing it to every coffee date or birthday barbecue, but you just stick to the same old tried-and-tested dresses. Then, a month goes by and you find it again. You've forgotten about the wonky hem and the puckered neckline. I'll wear this, you say. The material is a bold choice, but it looks fun. You go out in it and feel a bit of an idiot. The hem is all over the place and the arm holes are a bit tight. Your aunty turns up, and you really are wearing the same outfit as her dog.
10. Getting bored
A year goes by and you get some perspective. You find yourself wearing the dress a lot, it's had a few washes and so it's more comfortable, and you feel pleased that you made it. You do seem to wear it a lot. It does go with everything though, especially those wedge sandals. You seem to wash it every other day. Actually, you're a bit bored of it now. Maybe it's time to look at those patterns you bought a year ago, and the best bit... you can go to that brilliant haberdashery with the amazing range of fabrics. It will be so much fun. Now where are those dressmaking scissors?