Hold on to the seat of your pants because the process has started … slowly. I pulled the pattern out of the sewing box that lives under the bed in the spare bedroom. Do you want to know what the face of terror looks like? See right. This is the McCalls 5815 pattern – the one that makes a grown woman want to weep.
So I retook my measurements just to make sure that I really had bought the wrong size pattern. (To remind you, I’ve bought it a size too big.) I simply don’t understand what’s going on here. According to my bust measurement, I should be a size 4. A size 4! This is the woman who hasn’t seen a UK size 10 (US size 6) since she was a pre-adolescent. Now, I know everyone will scream at their monitor, ‘But sewing sizes have nothing to do with fashion sizes!’ I hear you, people. But the pattern’s size 4 is the smallest size it’s possible to get this pattern in. Now, listen to a 40-year-old woman’s logic: I’ve never been the smallest size in anything. Ever. This just doesn’t make sense. So what to do? Bodge it! I’m cutting my edges out a wee bit smaller than the smallest edge on the pattern. Hey, I’m making a muslin. How wrong can it go…?
As I sat down to cut out tonight, I could see why this part of the process is crucial. It piques your interest. I’m cutting out these weird shapes and thinking, ‘So how the heck do these all go together?’ I get curious. I’ve been presented with a mystery and the sewing investigator in me comes worming to the surface. I morph into the sewing equivalent of Miss Marple: I want to know who the murderer is or, more exactly, how murderous it will be to make this thing.
Below is a final shot of some of the pieces cut out, with that wonderful doorstop-I-mean-book propped up in the background. There’s still a lot more cutting out to do. But I’m as interested as I am scared now. I might even be feeling a little bit excited. Which beats terror any day.
I leave you with a photo of me gardening yesterday lunchtime. We’ve had a long, hard, unremitting winter here in the UK. Yesterday was one of the first sunny days we’ve seen in a long time. Here I am, in my little front garden outside my little Victorian terraced house in the not-so-little city of London. I love my patch of urban garden. My window cleaner came to chat to me as I planted out some daffodils. I knelt with a fork in my hand, and we talked about his fishing, our sunshine and the £3.50 I owed him. You can’t beat conversations like that.