I made my mum a dress just in time for Xmas. I actually intended to make her a dress THREE BIRTHDAYS AGO [oh dear] as she had admired my By Hand ‘Anna’ dresses. I found some lovely autumnal brushed fabric [her birthday is in November] and ran one up after getting her to try one of mine on.
It didn’t fit. No idea why, I assume it was to do with the different qualities of the fabrics I’d used, but it was no good. When I tried to alter it, the fabric just gave up the ghost on every single seam, and it had to be abandoned. And that, I’m afraid, was that. It sank into the crate of shame, then we moved house, then wifey had an operation, then work got completely out of hand.
Every so often, I’d get a pang of guilt…but did nothing. I am a Bad Fairy.
Mum really admired one of the shirts I made for Dawn this year, the one in the dark brown cotton printed with gold clocks, and I promised to make her a dress from it. I galumphed off to Barry’s, and brought a length. I decided that Simplicity 8014 would do nicely [I already had it, but hadn’t used it], as mum pretty much exclusively wears a typical nan uniform of shirtdress and little knitted waistcoat. Bless.
Now mum is tiny- 4′ 11″ or so in her prime, but now at 79 she’s shrunk quite a bit. She’s the same basic build as me- broad shouldered, slim hipped, and thick waisted, with nice legs [which keep dad happy!] As she’s shrunk, her tummy looks a lot higher, and her back is rounding a little. Finding a waistline is tricky, as it curves up at the front, tucks in under her bust, then reappears…
However, the pattern wasn’t too tricky to fit- most of the tweaking was in chopping off a fair amount of the bodice length at the front, and a tiny bit at the back. I skipped any waistline darts, and made the sleeves a little shorter. That was pretty much it.
Then I found that I didn’t have enough yardage to cut the rather full skirt. I could have codged it, but chose not to, and decided to make up for my shameful delay by doing the job properly. We went back to Barry’s, only to find they had no more fabric. I ended up paying over the odds to someone on eBay selling it at an inflated, fat-quarter sort of rate. Sigh.
I did a final fitting just before Christmas, and mum said she wanted the skirt longer. I did what I could, and ended up making a faced hem, with a contrast bias strip to avoid taking off any length. In a mad rush, I finally finished the ruddy hem and buttonholes just before the annual visit to the parents at tea time on Christmas Eve. Phew!
On Christmas Day, she told me “it’s lovely, but it’s too long and the cuffs are too big.” Ah well. Today, I got her to try it on, chivvied her into putting shoes on instead of the eternal slippers, and saw that it’s only too long at the front. Odd. At the back, the length is perfect, at the front, nearly 2″ too long.
Turns out that because dad’s been poorly over the break, they’ve both lost their appetites and have shed several pounds. On such a little dot, that meant her tummy had reduced, and wasn’t holding the skirt up as much. Awwww.
Here she is, I had to wait WEEKS for them to send me the pics. She says she IS smiling, but that’s as good as it gets because of her Bell’s Palsy. Awwww!
I hope my hair goes as nice and white as this…eventually!