Make It Work, Designer.

Dress forms in spaaaaaace... Image: Wikipedia
Dress forms in spaaaaaace… Image: Wikipedia

I have entered into a relationship with a seamstress.

Right now, even as I write, Barb The Good could be in her workshop pinning pattern pieces and slicing through my fabric with heavy steel shears. I see scraps and paper and bits of feather and fur all over her floor. I see a bird in an ornate birdcage for some reason.

Barb and I met in Washington state about a month ago and got to talking. She makes clothes, I design fabric. One of the patterns in the McCall’s-produced Mary Fons pattern line of garments and bags* is a dress that I am ashamed to say I do not yet possess and Barb said she’d make it for me.

NOTE: Don’t take me not having my own dress yet as a vote of no confidence in the pattern, which I assure you is fabulous.  The task just kept getting pushed down for reasons that are dull and involve words like “email” and “invoicing” and “figuring out AirBNB.” 

I’ve always wanted to have a seamstress of my very own. I want a Bentley, too, but I want a personal seamstress more. Do you realize a person can just go to a place that sells patterns and buy a Vogue pattern for a few bucks and go home and make a dress that was in Vogue? Not all designers sell their designs to pattern companies (Calvin Klein, yes, Alexander McQueen, no) but I’ve seen many Vogue patterns and many of them are great, especially if you pull from the 1980s and early 1990s patterns because everything is cool when it happened thirty years ago, including Hammer pants. I’m 100% serious as long as you don’t go completely insane with the fabric choice.

It’s funny to think about having a “serious relationship” with a seamstress, but maybe it’s not so far from the truth. When a person measures your body cross, back, front, around, etc., you skip some of the early chit-chat needed to get a relationship going. I mean, Barb has my wrist circumference: we can move onto talking about sibling rivalries immediately. She’s got my bust size — my actual bust size — so it’s like, tell me about your worst breakup ever, Barb. We’re close, is what I’m saying.

Barb has the fabric, she has the pattern, she has the measurements. I guess I’ll have my dress within a few weeks and yes, Barb’s done work for people who could not be in the same room with her for fittings. I’ve seen her portfolio and I feel good about this.

When I realized that the second half of the word “seamstress” is “stress,” I told Barb there was no stress allowed in this project. She promised she wouldn’t stress out and I promise to post a picture when I get my dress and am sure I have the proper shoes to go with it. Tim Gunn, who I met a couple years ago, would be proud.

*Available at your LQS and online retailers like Missouri Star Quilt Co. 

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