Friday, May 10, 2013

Miss Babcock’s Mystery Pattern, a failure


Remember this?  This pattern is from something called Pattern Department.  I know, right?  I mean, isn’t that just so evocative?  It is style 4652.  It was mail ordered at some point in the past—there is no date on the postmark—by a Miss Babcock from Wellsville.  She sent away for it through an ad in the newspaper, and then never made the dress.  I found it in the thrift store for 95 cents. 


Isn’t it cute?  Oh, I was hopeful.  I had in mind a lovely little thing, fitted in the bodice with well-placed darts and a full-ish skirt, and I would trim it with vintage buttons, maybe some lace at the armholes.  Imagine white gloves, a pillbox hat.  Wicker purse.  American Church Picnic, c.1958.  What happened instead is that I spent the whole day on it, something like seven hours, and the house got completely trashed, you know, as it does when one sews, when little bits of thread and pieces of ravelly fabric get cut loose from their moorings and then cling to your socks and sweater, and pins are on the floor, and I hunched feverishly over the machine--my beloved Miss Kastner, who has never led me astray—and we toiled over this thing, sussing out the bizarre vintage instructions and making our own bias facing with no help at all, just the words, “make a bias facing.”  I even installed a zipper, for crying out loud.  And then, it was just a shapeless sack.   It was so awful, every part of it was ugly.  I couldn’t even laugh.  Wearing it, I looked like a bunch of raccoons trapped in a sleeping bag.  Not one dart was in the right place.  It hung listlessly.  It looked like it was wet.  The fabric was thrifted too, probably some kind of rayon, so who cares about that, but a whole day, gone.  I peeled off the horrible dress and flung it away, cursed the wasted precious hours, and mopped the kitchen floor, sweating and furious.  That always makes me feel better, and now I do feel better. 

There will be a finished blanket, soon.  Those don’t have to fit a person.  You know?  Moving on.