A few weeks ago I bought the parts for a dress.

A woman in the state of New York had purchased an old, Victorian house and moved in. On arrival though, she found her new home to be packed to the rafters with the former resident’s things. A mammoth cleaning operation ensued and the goods were listed on ebay, including pre-cut pieces of a 1950s dress patern, made from a lovely grey wool-weave fabric. And at the princely sum of $1.99, I figured, ‘what the hell.’

So yesterday, the dress arrived and I set to figuring out how the parts fitted together. There were some instructions about constructing a skirt, but on closer inspection, I found that they were for a different skirt altogether…

I haven’t ever made a dress before – unless you count stitching straps and a sash to an old gypsy skirt so I could wear it as a little knee-length frock whilst at the beach – so my knowledge of which-bit-goes-where is rather limited. Still, I love a challenge, especially one I’m not qualified to undertake, and before too long I was faced with something dress shaped. And three extra parts.

I’m telling myself that they’re just suspiciously pattern-shaped off-cuts and leaving it at that. The real problem isn’t my excess of parts though – it’s that the dress is ten inches too big for my waist. I’m not sure what to do now, though. With my limited skill and my 115 year-old sewing machine, I’m a little unsure on how to best proceed in taking the dress in? Am I best to unpick the whole thing and recut the patten shapes, or simply sew something akin to a dart along the waist line to nip it in?

Dilema, dilema.

Aside from making antique dresses on ancient sewing machines, I’ve been entering a lot of writing competitions lately in a bid to make lots of money and have publishers falling over one another for my novels. Alas, I did not win the Bridport, nor the Fish Publisher poetry and flash fiction prizes… or the Sid Chaplin short story contest. Still, things can only get better from here. I did get runner up in a poetry competition for Forward Press and hopefully I’ll do well in the Fish short story prize and Glass woman prize. We shall see. At present I’m writing for these guys, though as my tale is a woeful one of teenage angst, I find myself in the mood to listen to dire power ballads and wear black.

The trials of being an artist, eh? Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some 3 Doors Down to listen to at ridiculous volumes in my darkened bedroom…

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