The Oath of Finished Uglies
I, the undersigned, swear to hereby clear my make of all crimes against fashion or wearability. I promise to love it, cherish it, and allow its inner beauty to shine. I will not banish it to a cupboard, take it to a charity shop, do the dusting with it or gift it to a friend. I will learn to love my Finished Ugly…
June was such a full-on Me Made month that I decided to give your eyes a rest from the regular Ugly Amnesty feature. But here we are in July and it’s time to rediscover the sheer joy of seeing sewing gone badly wrong.
Put your sunglasses on. Adjust the brightness of your monitor. Tamsin of Pimp My Curtains has been sewing with fabric that puts the ‘Zing!’ into zippers and the ‘Pow!’ into peplums. It’s a colour choice that makes me think of sherbert dip – and eye-wateringly fizzy sweets are probably not what Tamsin wanted to conjure when she set out on this creation.
This isn’t a recent make. Tamsin made this dress 15 years ago and has kept it all this time. As a salutary lesson? A warning? A threat to her family? Two things amaze me:
- She can still get into it after all these years. Go, Tamsin!
- The colours haven’t faded. One. Little. Bit. Ouch.
Let’s hear all about this dress from the woman who knows best – Tamsin herself.
Hi Tamsin, thanks for joining us today. First of all, where did you buy this fabric and what is it that made you think of the perfect dress? Is it a seersucker?
Hi Karen, umm, unfortunately the mists of time being somewhat misty, I cannot recollect quite where I got this fabric from. My husband is convinced that it was a pre-marriage creation, whereas I think it was a post-marriage, pre-children make. I would have chosen the pattern because it was the only dress pattern that I owned at the time, I felt like making something and the fabric was ‘summery’ – it is, as you suggest, seersucker.
Have you ever had your colours done, Tamsin? When they suggested acid yellow and tangerine to go with your skin tone, did you ask for your money back?
Even further back in those misty mists, in a short period of my life where I belonged to the local Young Farmers club, we had a visiting speaker from ‘Colour Me Beautiful’. Yes, I had my colours done and no, these delightful colours were not among those in my colour range ( I think she said I was an ‘Autumn’). In fact, I’m not sure that these particular colours appeared any where on her colour wheel!
The pattern itself looks very flattering. Which pattern was it and would you recommend it?
I do still have this pattern, I ordered it from a magazine, and I can tell from the address it was sent to, (it didn’t have a pattern envelope, so I kept it in the one that it was sent in) that I got it in 1989/1990. There were two views – the one you see here and also a v-necked version. I have just checked and the magazine was called Prima and the pattern number was 20590. [Note from ed – anyone else have this pattern?] I believe that it might be a nice dress, if it wasn’t quite so…. tight and in a different choice of fabric. I did make the other view of the dress when I was a student, out of a very cheap furnishing fabric. Some time after its completion, I wore it to a pub, where I found that I did actually blend into the soft furnishings. On the whole, I think it was a reasonable dress, just bad experiences.
Did you ever wear this out, Tamsin? On a picnic, perhaps? (That cotton would make a very nice picnic blanket.)
Er, no, this dress has never been worn. The hem is not finished, and the corners of the neckline and the bust darts still have the tailors tacks in them. I think in all honesty, a picnic blanket would be too good for this – I cannot for the life of me think why I purchased this, let alone made a dress out of it….
What do you think you’ve learned in the 15 years since making this dress?
Not to make anything out of bright orange, bright yellow or any combination of the two!
That’s it. I can’t do any more; I need to make an emergency appointment at the optician’s. Thank you so much to Tamsin for sharing her ‘Help! You’re Blinding Me!’ Dress with us. I didn’t need my sight anyway.
Don’t forget – if you have a muddled make, a disastrous dress, tragic trousers or pathetic pyjamas you know where to come. Don’t be shy. It’s good to share.