Tuesday, January 12, 2010
An Indian Summer Dress
In April 2008, My One True Love was invited to present at a conference at the very last minute. He accepted the all-business-class-flights-and-accommodation-at-lavish-hotels-and-meals-and-sightseeing-expenses paid invitation as he rightly should have. How could he not? However, he then made what turned out to be the fatal error, and told me about it.
India! I screeched at him when he disclosed it. Six days in India! Where I have always wanted to go but have never been, I screeched at him. You're! Not! Going! To! India! Without me!
So there I was on a last-minute trip to India, without any time to see the big sights, and without any real time to visit far-flung places (we were only there for six days, three in Delhi and three in Bangalore). And that meant only one thing, naturally.
Fabric. Of course.
I love Indian fabric. Silks, cottons, batiks, damasks, saris, you name it, I love it. Loooooooooove it. And that's how I found myself in a fabric shop in Connaught Place in New Delhi, buying (among other things) ten metres of this astonishing mustard-coloured cotton with a red and ochre flowered print. (Yes I know ten metres might seem a bit much. That's just how I roll.)
It's sat in my stash up until now. When I buy a fabric I really like, it takes me ages to use it, because I'm worried about making the wrong decision/using a pattern that doesn't fit/ using a pattern that looks awful, etc etc. It's so precious to me that I become completely paralysed with adoration, and it takes months for the freeze to wear off.
This Christmas I finally cut into it, after about three months of toying with ideas in my head while I ran on the treadmill at the gym during lunchtimes. Hey, it gave me something to do while I worked out, I got to play with lots of different design elements, and it meant I went back to work feeling all warm and happy and crafty. Which is something I greatly needed in my job at the time.
I wanted to do a long dress, pleated at the empire line - but not pregnancy silhouette - with sleeves. I had this old OOP Vogue pattern in the cupboard (a size too small) and after the months of thinking about the best way to make it, I decided to increase the pattern by one size and just wing the skirt.
So now I'm very proud - I've got a great dress, made out of an amazing fabric bought in situ in a foreign country, I've got the story to tell about the place I bought it from, where the Indian man behind the counter nearly fainted when he saw how much material I'd piled up, and the customs officers on the way back into Australia kind of interrogated me about the apparently "commercial" quantity of the fabric I had with me, and I wriggled out of it because it was seriously all for Personal Use, AND I even managed to find the perfect belt to accessorise the dress in the Boxing Day sales. Half price!
Cool, huh? Gosh I love fabric. And India.It's a fine, fine romance.