Monday 20 March 2017

A red Turner, and Dress Yourself Happy

I've been struggling a lot lately, as you probably know. It's been hard to get excited about sewing, or wearing the things I make, I haven't wanted to make statements and I've been trying my hardest to be completely unnoticeable. However, I'm also sick of that. I'm currently trying every avenue I come across that might help me get better, and I know that in the past, I've been able to make "I'm too self-conscious to wear this" go away by hitting it backwards. If I'm wearing it, I can't possibly be too self-conscious. I'm doing a Dress Yourself Happy on Instagram for the next month (I don't know if that's even a thing, but it was a pre-existing hashtag so I'm using it for my own ends now) to get me wearing only things I feel good in. And to help that along, I made a red dress.

This is not the red dress from my spring sewing plan. I've had a thought that that fabric might make a good Kielo, but I'd want to toile that first (I've bought toile fabric, so that's happening soon). This is some red marl jersey that turned up in one of my packages from The Textile Centre, as part of an order I'd made at 1am. I have absolutely no memory of ordering it or what I thought I was going to do with it, so it sat there for quite some time while I considered my options. Originally I thought of a layering piece, but it's just slightly the wrong colour and didn't quite go with any of the things I'd want to wear it with. Eventually I went with another Cashmerette Turner because a) I wanted to try out my fitting adjustments on a less annoying fabric than last time, and b) it's a super simple pattern so I wouldn't have to worry about anything other than having a nice red dress. 

This is my third Turner, and the fit is much better on this one. I made a size 12 G/H and lowered the waist by an inch, though I think it could still use a little more. I went for short sleeves even though it's March; I wasn't keen on the thought of long sleeves in this fabric and since I'll probably wear it primarily for dancing, the shorter sleeves will be more versatile anyway. The lining is a scrap of red jersey I had left over from my Coppelia, which I thought would feel nicer next to my skin.

I haven't had a red dress since the very first one I made. I'd got it into my head a while ago that red was too... something, I don't know. Too much, maybe. But as soon as I put this one on I remembered that I actually LOVE the way I look in red. Why don't I have more of it? Note to self: more red clothes. 

As you can see in this photo of me fishtailing about because I couldn't think of another way to pose, the skirt is somewhat see-through. I didn't notice that until I tried the dress on, so to keep it on the right side of decency I partially lined it with a scrap of that terrible jersey I keep complaining about (it's nearly all been used on lining and toiles now, so I'm almost free of it). I don't mind if the outline of my legs is visible, but I'd rather keep my pants to myself, thank you very much.

 (Fishtailing out of shot because I am a professional and totally have awareness of where I pointed the camera. Also my camera definitely isn't wrapped in Sellotape to keep the battery compartment shut.)

This has reminded me that no, I really do know what I like, and I'm starting to feel a tiny bit better about things. I've got solid plans for my next few projects (that I really need to get on with because my boyfriend has started to give my fabric box a look whenever he walks past it) and I kinda sorta feel like I vaguely know what I'm doing again. Amazing what a red dress can do. Let's hope it lasts. 

And finally, from the "It was on the camera, I can't explain it, let's put it on the internet" files: 

I can see into your soul now. I apologise. 


  1. Take out that Note to Self and read it EVERY DAY! Red is so perfect on you. This is an especially nice shade of it. The fishtailing pics ... I see your personality in those. Well, at least the personality I'm imagining that you have (a good, funny one in case you were wondering).

    Don't be unnoticeable ... you are witty, funny, smart, awesome, gorgeous. All meant to BE noticed. Embrace yourself. Sorry, didn't mean to sound all preachy but being close to twice your age (on calendar not in mind! haha), I've had more time to learn many things the hard way and one of the biggest things I wish I knew in my 20s/30s is to STOP worrying about other people's opinions of you. They really don't care even a fraction as much as we try to give them credit for. Do what's right for YOU and what makes YOU happy and the rest falls into place. It really does. Well, as long as you're not an axe murderer or such. Ahem.

    Also, love those shoes.

    1. What a lovely comment, thank you! I'm working on my hang-ups and there will definitely be more red incoming once I've used up at least some of my terrifying stash tower.

      The shoes are my dance shoes. Good for photos and socials, not so great for everyday life because the soles are covered in suede (or at least the unspeakable mess that suede turns into if you grind it into floors for two years).

  2. Beautiful dress and a great color on you!!! Looks like you got it to fit you really well!

    I'm trying to move away from being-unnoticeable to being noticed for who I am. Why blend in when you were born to stand out? - Dr.Seuss

    1. Thank you! I think I've got the adjustments down on this one now.

  3. That red is gorgeous on you. Hope things get better very soon. Debbie is so right BTW!

    1. Thank you! It's been a difficult month but I think it must be heading towards improvement...

  4. You look fabulous in red! I'm so glad the dress, and the colour, have helped you feel better.

    And you know, most people are far too absorbed in their own lives to give much thought to you, or yours... The exceptions being those who love you. (And random strangers on the internet who have grown to care, because you write so well, and so honestly about your process, creative and otherwise.)

    At mumble50, I too have learned the value of not caring about what random strangers think, and like Debbie, This is a thing I would have liked the younger me to know. I struggled a lot with sad and difficult feelings that left me feeling quite raw about being around others. Recognizing that they truly couldn't see right into my brain (and were not arsed to look, even were that possible) helped insulate me a bit. And having a creative life, being able to make stuff I wanted and enjoyed, has helped a good deal more.

    I think you really do shine in your posts - not afraid of being yourself, genuinely funny, a witty writer with a well-developed voice. Perhaps, like many of us, you pay closer attention to the things you don't like about you... But know that from the vantage point of mumblecoughmiddleage, I've wished I had been kinder and more compassionate to myself ages ago - because it's made my life infinitely easier and more fun.

    1. Alerina, You did a much better job of saying what I meant than me. Could you write all of my comments for me please? :-)

    2. Thank you! The most frustrating thing is, I KNOW that I feel worse when I dress to be unnoticeable, but depression and anxiety combined with unfortunate circumstances can make you do some strange things, even when you know full well how unhelpful they are.

      I'm working on it. I've been in better places, I can get back there again. Your words of support and encouragement mean a lot, so thank you for commenting. It's much appreciated.

    3. Oh you are so very welcome! And Debbie, I've enjoyed your blog for ages, since the cover stitch days of yore - but thank you for your kind words! I'd write for you anytime :)

      I relate, as I periodically struggle with these hard places. I think the key is to know that life will take us there, and the skills we develop to cope and to work our way out are so key.

      Have either of you heard this lovely interview about Georgia O'Keeffe and sewing? Apparently she was quite the master seamstress!

      This is the sort of thing that helps me cope and remember how much beauty there is the world... Especially the kind we create with our own hands.