Well I had hit Sewer’s Block. I just didn’t know what to do. I looked at my pile of folded up material and it did nothing for me. I bought some more fabric. Folded it twice, maybe three times then added it to my pile.
I couldn’t even blame my tools. My family had bought me a wonderfu new sewing machine last year. I had to use it.
I put the material near my sewing machine, pins, scissors and the most important pattern at the ready. Yet where as all my materials were ready to go I – still- was not.
And so I sought inspiration on the web. And, miracle of miracles, I found it on the Dolce and Gabbana website.
There, dazzling me with their beauty , were sweet sundresses in bright florals, a very stylish, fitted black polka dot dress with bow shoulder straps and colourful skirts in blossom prints.
Looking at the website became my guilty secret for several weeks.
Whenever Gabriel asked me what I was looking at I would quickly open the tab on how to make a Spanish dessert (?!).
I became obsessed with it. The Oleander print sundresses, ‘Blossom Babe’ , ‘polka dots rock’. I would even watch the video of the Spring-Summer Dolce and Gabbana fashion show. Again…and again…and again. As for the online shop, I would trawl it for many an evening looking for what I would buy. If I could afford to. Needless to say it led me to wondering just who exactly could and did…
Then it came to me. Yes. Why not? (please don’t cry out here if you’ve seen the finish of my handmade wardrobe – threads dangling, hems jauntily jaunty, darts not quite matching, zips off-centre). I started to think that I could make my own D and G inspired garments. And given my poor sewing skills there’s no way that they would look too similar to the beautiful garments that had inspired them and so earn me the accusation of plagiarism. No, the influence would have to be far more to do with the colours and the patterns of the fabrics than with haute couture. Indeed, I think I epitomise more the spirit of basse couture (if such a thing exists).
And so off I went, in search of black polka dots and pretty blossom prints.
Both proved to be harder to locate than I had anticipated.
The blossom print was particularly difficult to find. The nearest I came to it was an Amy Butler material – lovely, fresh, blue sky with a white blossom motif (called ‘Fairytale’). I managed to get it in FloJo’s fabric shop on the Gloucester Road in Bristol where it cost £14 a metre – more expensive than my usual £3.69 a metre fabric it’s true but a snip (!) when compared with the material handspun by virgin goddesses fed on honey, peaches and milk on a desert island owned by Dolce and Gabbana.
A poor-not-even-imitation perhaps but it’s the closest that a mere mortal with limited sewing skills such as myself could get to that D and G feel.
I quickly made it up into a summer pencil skirt with bright green lining.
I now need to find a top and shoes that go with it…
I think that I’d rather green!
As for the black polka dots, I was confident that I would be able to pick this up at my favourite Fabricland. I mean, black polka dots! How difficult could it be? Cotton black polka dots! And that’s where the difficulty arose. In the cotton. I managed to find navy cotton, purple cotton, pink cotton. But no black. I kept looking, just in case I’d missed them – after all polka dots can do funny things to one’s eyes.. It had to be there. .I checked the ‘cut to be put back on shelf’ pile just in case there had been a run on it by other women desperate to create a little piece of D and G-inspired magic .
I went back to devour the polka dot selection with my eyes. Still not there.
It had to be because everybody had seen the D and G ‘polka dots rock’ dress and wanted to make one. I mean, when once seen who would not want to have one?! It seemed so very obvious to me.
Dejected, forlorn, I did a once-round-the-shop, my usual valedictory gesture . Just in case. And then I saw it. Black polka dots. In a panic I picked up the roll ready to fight off the imaginary hordes of women who were looking for black polka dots too. But as I picked it up and read the label I noticed that 1) the material was more expensive ( £4.99 a metre) and 2) worse still, was in …chiffon!
Now the £4.99 was not a deal-breaker at this stage. After what I’d gone through emotionally in the previous 10 minutes I would have been prepared to pay, well, £5.99 if pushed. However, the chiffon. Now that was a different matter. The pattern would be different ( I had decided to try Sewaholics ‘The Cambie’ pattern again – this time making the skirt length longer. Surely it would suit me then. Also, I was worried that I would look too D and G and get ‘done’ for copying too well… never let it be said that I am nothing if not delusional!). But the material? Chiffon? I always sew in cotton or polycotton. I have never sewn with chiffon. Could I? Would I? What do you think? I’d come for black polka dots and I was bloody well going to get black polka dots, chiffon or otherwise. I would buy lots of black lining and take it slowly. And I did.
The chiffon frayed easily but I managed to turn it into a dress. Perhaps not quite on a level with the Dolce and Gabbana ‘polka dots rock’ dress. But I like it.
So near yet so far. What’s that Oscar Wilde quotation about looking at the stars?
Now that I’ve discovered my Muse I’m not going to let it slip away. I am currently trawling through the D and G collection for Autumn for still more inspiration. Interestingly it features keys , big, old-fashioned latch keys, as a motif. Now that could be tricky to get my hands on….
Very ‘Game of Thrones’.