What day is it? What month is it? I've lost track of time!
I blame this interminable winter. Not only does it feel like time is frozen (literally), it also puts a person in a particularly vituperative mood. For six months. How does one cope? Obviously, we can bundle up and hide away, like the typical stoic Minnesotan. Do you know that when I first came to Minnesota and turned up in school with my black wool coats and fancy scarves and berets, my professor laughed and said, "Oh, we don't bother about fashion here! We just care about keeping warm!" And then tucked his hands into the pockets his Columbia ski jacket, pulled on his unmatching beanie and stomped away in his waterproof winter hunting boots. Very depressing. I mean, there are only two reasons for which a person would live in a place that's an icebox half the year - skiing and winter fashion. Well, one out of two isn't bad, I guess. I did go skiing. Dressed unfashionably, but warm as toast. I'd assimilated.
Or we could fight. Like Kate's preschool teacher, who went to the bottom of her driveway and threatened the big hunk of ice with boiling water, shouting, "Begone! Begone!" She's got spirit.
Or we could live in perpetual denial. I do that. I walk around the house in shorts, tank tops and the pathetic tan that's left over from Singapore. When people ring the doorbell to deliver packages, frozen groceries and the odd sled that got left in someone's backyard, they stare at me in shock. I stare back. So what if I have goosebumps to rival sandpaper? So what if the cold has gotten into the very marrow of my bones so that I don't think I will ever be warm again? I will not yield. Last month, the children and I got our season passes to the waterpark. So what if we were wearing sweaters in our mugshots? People need something to look forward to.
Last week was spring break for the kids. So we drove to the fabric warehouse and bought summer fabrics. Yes, all four of us. We may be winter fashion disasters here in the upper midwest but, by gum, we were going to make a splash in the other, unfrozen months of the year.
Sometimes when you have a particular fabric in mind, you need to forgo the convenient chain stores and wait till you can get the right stuff, in this case rayon that's tie-dyed indigo. Drapey, weighty, unstretchy (i.e. unclingy, especially to wet skin) and with a print that camouflages wet patches in embarrassing locations.
I very seldom sew by draping. I much prefer drafting because it is faster and more precise, but sometimes a person has to do whatever it takes to get the fabric to do whatever it needs to. This is my practice-run dress, incidentally - it has bad straps, exposed selvedges, slipshod rolled-hem armscyes and boxed-pleat armscye darts. And -worse - I didn't iron it. Shudder.
The next version should be nicer - it's in a loose-weave chevron knit in the colors of the ocean. I must remember to do proper pleats, bias-bind the armscye and shape that side hem properly.
Well, it's a start. I have to believe that spring isn't just a myth. And that, in the summer, that breeze whipping the skirt about will actually feel nice.