The stack of unworn dresses in my wardrobe fell over tonight.
This is hardly surprising. There is a two-foot high stack of slippery synthetic fabric nestled precariously next to my iron and, on the rare occasion I have cause to open that cupboard, it makes a bid for freedom.
I never intended to be a dress hoarder. Like most habits formed in my teenage years, I blame this collection of couture-to-be on Dolly magazine. Specifically, on a spread they did in about 2002 featuring a now forgotten Home and Away star modelling a series of creations crafted by Australian fashion’s finest from things they found at the op shop.
It seemed so simple, and I was a pretty good seamstress – I mean, I got three A’s in textiles. So I started to collect weird pieces of clothing that I could ‘remake’. Read: purchase, occasionally hack into and forget about until I moved to university.
Most of these purchases got re-gifted back to the Salvos after two years spent festering next to the jodhpurs. And I moved on from my dreams of fashion design with the realisation that dress making contains a lot fewer Italian men and a lot more measurements, failure and frustration than Jenny Humphrey would have you believe.
I started opp shopping again with zeal about two years ago now, and for a moment there I was very sensible – only buying things that fit well enough to be worn now. But then I started picking up pieces that only wanted a shorter hem, or a capped sleave, or maybe a nipped-in waist, to be perfect.
The dress stack grew.
In truth, most of these dresses are a quick fix – one hours work would see each one ready to wear.
But my zeal for sewing remains stored up for sporadic six-hour bursts, so the steady trickle of new dresses becomes a series of flash -floods, months apart.
A while ago I mused upon a more ambitious project. Forgetting my rule to only buy what I can wear or fix, I bought a large sack because I liked the fabric. I thought it could be remade to a nice 50s-style tea dress, which it in no way resembled. Clearly beyond my sartorial capabilities. Nevertheless, tonight The Dress has begun.
In short I want to turn this:
So far I have unpicked the sleeves. It took two hours.
Please don’t judge me.