Thursday, 13 November 2014

Rising from the ashes

Have you ever come across some fabric that was so destined to be yours that to not buy it would be an insult to the Sewing Gods?

Photo credits go to the lovely Dreamstress. Thank you!
That's this fabric. I found it in late 2012, after my Grandma passed, and clung to it in the store with a fierceness that other fabric hasn't experienced. You see, poppies were my Grandma's favourite flower, and the seams of life as I knew it - life without her, and filled with a scary monster called NF2 - were tearing apart, and the poppies meant something to me. I rushed it to the counter, and as the lady at the counter unrolled it while asking how much I wanted, the last of the fabric fell off the roll. Without hesitating, I took the lot - a meagre slip -  just over a metre.

I took it home, intending to make a paperbag style skirt. Why shall forever remain a mystery, because it's much too pretty, and sadly, after making it into one I was disappointed beyond belief, and was unable to wear it out. It was too short, I disliked how I'd inserted the elastic waistband, it was just. a. fail. It was stuffed, along with the scraps, into my fix-or-finish basket and abandoned for a year and a half.

Lately I've struggled to find the inspiration to sew new things, but the overflowing fix-or-finish basket is commanding my attention. And so, one Saturday, the failed poppy paperbag skirt found itself in my hands, and I admitted to myself that the fabric was too precious to let languish. It was time to revive it with the Papercut Patterns Miss Chalmers skirt. The lovely Kat gave me the pattern after my surgery last year, and I struggled to find the right fabric. But while contemplating my poppies, I thought that the two would make a happy pairing, provided I could unpick the failed skirt nicely enough to salvage it.

Carefully, carefully, the process of resurrecting my fabric started. I was lucky that my failed skirt was just a rectangle with an elastic waistband, and there was still a good, wide-ish length of scrap left over, so, with some creative placement, I managed to squeeze a new skirt out of the ashes.

My Miss Chalmers is longer than the original pattern by about 10 centimetres and slashed and spread to give an a-line shape. This is to accommodate my personal preferences, and also because the fabric deserved it (gotta take advantage of the silken swish, amiright?). The sewing was quick and easy - unlike the insertion of the elastic for the failed skirt, which was just a battle.

And now I have a skirt that I love. But I love it for more than just the fact that it's a pretty skirt, I love it because it's a skirt that embodies me. After two years of hell, of fear, grief, with an unfamiliar, terrifying thing called body hatred and of fighting some fierce battles, I finally feel like I'm coming back. I triumphed over an imperfect skirt, over imperfect genes, and I feel like I am me again. Grandma knew what she was talking about when she chose poppies as her flower, because the two of us, and the family she left behind, well, we bloom after a battle.