Ugly Amnesty 6 – The Surrey with the Fringe on Top

Whilst Karen worked hard in New York, Detective Didyou was pounding the streets, looking for another likely candidate for Ugly Amnesty. Oonballoona may have broken his heart, but not his spirit. Soon, he’d found the perfect interviewee and Karen was able to snatch a spare half hour to do her journalistic best, finding out about a dress that will turn you green with envy … or just green. Read it and weep!

Here are the bald facts about this dress:

  • Michelle was high on morphine when it was photographed.
  • Despite the fact that Michelle’s husband begs her not to leave the house wearing this dress, she ignores him.
  • She has worn this dress to watch a performance of Oklahoma.

So, basically, we’re looking at the type of outfit a drug-addicted, musical star-stalking, husband-hating psycho would wear!

But let’s crack on with the interview. Michelle’s medication will need topping up soon and we don’t want her getting, um, erratic.

Hi, Michelle, and thanks for joining us. What was it about the word ‘gingham’ that immediately made you think of the word ‘sack’? Did you follow a pattern for this dress or just wing it?

One of my favourite dresses as a little girl was a red gingham dress which I apparently used to call a “ginger dress”. So cute. Didn’t last.  38 years later was browsing in Spotlight one Saturday morning and came across this fabric and thought it was a classy piece of work. I mean – the colour! The texture! The seersucker effect!

As for the pattern, I used McCalls 5896  – View A, but with a dress variation. This pattern was supposed to be easy. It wasn’t easy. It was a pain in the tukhas. That neckline was sent to test me, and I ended up doing a terrible job fudging the stitching. (see attachment 7256). I won’t show you the 2 inch view of bra you get at the side when I lift my arms.

Dubious Dressmaking Detail

Overall this is just a really bad fit. For a plus sized pattern to not take into account a larger bust and not grade the length of the bodice accordingly is a crime.  I blame McCalls for this travesty of a dress. It’s all their fault. I had nothing to do with it.

I have to ask – were you in actual pain when the above photograph was taken, what with the morphine and all? Did you sew whilst under the influence?!

The first photo ever taken with this dress, I was indeed in pain and coming down from morphine after a night in the hospital with what turned out to be gallbladder problems. It was a warm day, my stomach was swollen from all the gallbladder gas, and I didn’t want anything touching my skin. Given it was Me-Made-March I had to make an effort didn’t I? All I can say is this – I was delirious, and thank God for the cardigan.

You’re gazing intently into the middle distance. Did you think you’d just spotted Curly McLain from ‘Oklahoma’? (You know he’s not a real person, don’t you?)

I’d seen the horror on my husband’s face while he was taking the photos. I had to look away. And there  –  in the distance, sitting on top of the garden shed – Curly McLain!

Have you ever considered a career in the army? That dress makes perfect camouflage in front of all the greenery. Was that a deliberate background choice? Were you trying to stalk someone?

Yes – Curly. He’s a slippery one.

On a more serious note, I know you’re a faithful member of the Self Stitched March and September clubs. What is it about So Zo’s challenges that you particularly enjoy?

I love the Flickr group and seeing what other people have made. There is a world full of inspiration for a whole month and it’s really a sewist’s dream.

When I do So Zo’s challenges, I’m always surprised by how much I have made for myself, and in such a short period of time. I only started sewing my own clothes again after a long hiatus in January 2010. I also find that the stuff I make, this dress aside, is better quality than what I can buy in the shops, and it tends to fit me better ( except for this dress). And the fabric (not this dress) I use tends to be good quality and unique, something not found in a lot of store bought stuff.

Having said all that – Karen, you’ve convinced me! I shall never wear this dress outside of the house or back yard ever again. And especially not to any musicals that come my way this summer. And because I do love my husband, I shall probably never wear it in his presence again either.


That’s your lot, folks! Sewing and morphine – a heady mix that I never expected to encounter. Does anyone else have medication-related sewing anecdotes?

All joking aside, I’m really glad that Michelle was able to remind me about the things that are great about So Zo’s Me Made challenges. Heck, that’s how the two of us met! I really recommend that you check out Michelle’s blog, Buttontree Lane. She makes some great outfits and I’m always really impressed by how she accessorises them. Michelle writes with a lovely, warm, down-to-earth and honest voice and whenever I read her blog I feel as though I have a lovely friend who just happens to live on the other side of the world!

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15 Responses to Ugly Amnesty 6 – The Surrey with the Fringe on Top

  1. thornberry says:

    Oh hooray! What a wonderful interview. I would have gone to see Oklahoma with you Michelle! I don’t mind some green gingham seersucker….

  2. romney says:

    Most of the world’s problems can be solved with cardigans.

  3. LinB says:

    I must be on some heavy medication, cause I’m really liking the gingham. Not the dress Michelle made of it. I used a Project Runway tunic pattern (can’t recall number offhand) with a similar neckline. But!!! Whlie the shaped neckline looks stunning on the pattern envelope, it was a true beast to construct. Mitered inner and outer corners and a semicircle inserted as a band, and then faced? Merciful heavens. That tunic does have princess lines and is graded for different cup sizes … Might be a way to redeem this U.A. gown (make it in different fabric from a different pattern).

  4. Felicity from Down Under says:

    I must say that that particular sized check would put me in mind of tablecloths rather than clothing but, being the green fan I am, I can see that even as a dress it has some redeeming features. That freshness! (OK, I can’t think of any more at the moment.)

  5. Michelle says:

    Forgive me Aunty Karen, for I have sinned.

    I not only wore this dress yesterday when I got home from work (it was hot and humid!), my husband was in my presence.

    Bless him, he didn’t say a word.

    Please allocate appropriate number of Hail Versaces, as you see fit.

  6. claire says:

    I have that fabric in black and brown… yet to be made into anything though… hmmm

  7. And I thought – bloody hell she looks like….,but she is in England…, but she does look like…, and no, she is in NYC…,but she looks just like Michelle, and I haven’t seen her for ages. But we have made quilts together, and we have sung in a choir together and I DO KNOW HER!!!!
    Geez it is a bloody small world. Go read my blog, Michelle, to see picture of MY belly…Love, Jas!

  8. senjiva says:

    I laughed til I cried. (NOT laughing at Michelle’s pain from hospital, mind you). What a humorous interview!

  9. Tanit-Isis says:

    Aww! This reminds me so much of a dress I had in during my first pregnancy. It was basically a green gingham sack (although it was short, at least). I called it my “barefoot and pregnant” dress.

  10. Tilly says:

    Well at least it looks… comfortable? Moving on…

  11. oonaballoona says:

    wow. our ginghams should hang out together and destroy souls everywhere.

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