Measuring. Pinning. Pricking my fingers. Unpinning. Re-measuring. Bending ’til my back hurts, cross-legged on the floor. Watching the rain pour into my garden, fill the pots, drown the shoots struggling for air. A claustrophobic day. Fiddling tiny dress with tiny pleats. Expensive, heavy, buttermilk silk; it stands without support, its bell skirt, imagining a small body inside. A dress for a bridesmaid.
This is the easy one, the one that will be enjoyed just because it’s big and swooshes. It could be made of anything: tin foil, old net curtains, plastic bags. It doesn’t matter because the imagination of the small girl wearing it will prevail.
The next one won’t be quite so free of scrutiny: the one for my daughter. I showed her a photograph of Dior’s duchesse satin ‘Zemire’ dress (1954). A mistake. Curses. Blast.
This is what she’d like. Please. For her bridesmaid’s dress. I smiled and said, “of course, darling girl” and kicked myself hard in the shin. In essence, it’s not really more than a tight bodice and a full skirt and she has a point: it is the most lovely dress and not overly sophisticated. A pretty good choice for a fledgling young woman. And the expensive, heavy, buttermilk silk will look a treat….