Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Some historical facts to give you some context - aka why I decided to make my own dress

As with many things for little girls, it all comes back to what my mother taught me.

My mum and dad got married in 1970 (originally, I wrote 1969 but - oops - have since been corrected. Some daughter I am). In the wedding photos, she looks like Cher - not 80s, power-ballad, gun-straddlin' Cher, and not scary, immobile-face, do you believe in life after love? Cher - but natural, beautiful, long black hair Sonny-and- Cher.

Her dress was a beautiful, empire-waist, long, long-sheer-sleeved perfectly sixties number. It is perfect on her (once I steal a pic of it to post, you'll see). She used to have it in the house (she threw it out one year in a big clear out. I didn't find out 'til later and am still gutted) and I remember oohing and aahing at it when she first showed me. And you know what? She made it herself - as she never fails to remind me, for £5 out of curtain fabric. You would never guess, looking at it.

Another thing I remember from being young is a very specific sound. It's the sound you get when you cut a piece of fabric with the scissors against a wooden table and it's just about one of the greatest sounds in the world. It reminds me of watching my mum create our Hallowe'en costumes.
We would visit Remnant Kings in Cumbernauld Town Centre - an absolute treasure trove of different materials, stacked in long racks which towered above our heads. I would walk through, eyes wide at the colours and sparkle on display.

Back home, Crruuuuppt went the scissors along the table as she carefully cut along the lines. She would run it through the machine and suddenly out of a bolt of otherwise boring brown fabric you'd have a cloak for Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars being a lasting favourite in our family, my mum found herself making the same costume for my brother when he was six, as when he was 24).

A few years later, she taught me how to do it myself - how to cut a pattern, piece it all together, and stitch it up. Then three years ago she bought me my very own machine and I went nuts.
It can get a bit addictive, this making your own stuff thing. Imagine being guaranteed that your outfit is a one-off and there's no chance that someone else will show up in the same thing. And imagine that your clothes were all measured to fit you, perfectly, and suited to your style and body shape. What more could a girl want on her wedding day?

Anyway I always just kinda assumed that if and when the day came, I would follow in her footsteps and make something of my very own. So that's what I'm going to do - or rather, what we're going to do together.

Of course, we always add as a big caveat, if we mess it up, we'll just go out and buy one.

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