Friends, have you ever experienced a state of such moral confusion that you found yourself reaching for the bible and you're an atheist? Have you ever felt like you'd gone to bed and woken up in Bizarro World?
How else can I describe my disorientation when, nearly two weeks ago, I received an email from a certain Elaine May -- yes, the Selfish Seamstress herself -- offering to purchase a dress pattern for my cousin Cathy and send it to me as a gift?
Like most of you, loyal readers, I visit Elaine's blog once every couple of months (if I remember) to see what she's up to; usually not much. I've noticed to my dismay however -- and please, let's keep this just between us -- that Elaine has been undergoing a troubling personality shift that threatens to undo all the bad she represents. It started last March, when Elaine began sewing with vibrant print fabrics instead of her usual funereal grays and black. It continued into April, when she organized a boatlift of sewing supplies to a survivor of the Haitian earthquake and, soon thereafter, was captured smiling in photos. Our own little Wednesday Adams had turned into Friday's Child!
This sad transformation has culminated, of course, in the recent announcement of Elaine's engagement to the man I'd thought was already her husband as well as the source of her all-around bad attitude, the ever-affable-on-the-surface-which-is-good-enough-for-me Dan.
So you can understand how alarmed I was to receive the aforementioned email. Wrote Elaine, apropos of Cathy, "I was thinking she'd look great in Simplicity 6672." (!)
WELL! How would you have reacted? Readers, I was brought up always to accept a gift whether I wanted it or not with the understanding that it obviously meant a great deal to the giver. So I said, Sure, send it.
Please don't tell Elaine this, but Simplicity 6672 is not quite the kind of dress I'd have chosen for Cathy for two small, nearly non-existent reasons -- reasons with nipples, need I be more explicit? Look at it. Regardless, I secretly hoped Elaine had just had too much to drink that night, or more thrillingly, perhaps Dan was using her email to send me coded romantic messages via pattern purchases, e.g., 6672 -- I love you.
But I was wrong! I opened my mailbox this last Monday and there it was. It may even have been the reason I tripped on my Monday run and skinned half my body, that's how unsettled I was!
Let's cut to the chase. In a quandary over a rapidly unraveling polyester brocade that seemed to have come with a curse, I decided to switch gears entirely and tackle what henceforth shall be called "The Elaine Dress." Yesterday I purchased a pistachio polyester crepe that is perfect for this 1974 "Designer Fashion." In fact, it may actually be from 1974 given how deep it was buried in the $2-per-yard-last-exit-before-dumpster pile.
Parenthetically, friends, what's the point of calling something "designer fashion" if you're not going to name the designer? I mean, everything was designed by somebody. If you're not going to name names, let's face it, that somebody must be a real nobody.
But back to the dress. I spent a few hours yesterday -- on my own dear mother's eightieth birthday no less -- working on The Elaine Dress. Here's how things stood before I could renege on my family obligations no longer and had to head up to the Bronx, Michael and two chihuahuas in tow:
Loyal followers of Male Pattern Boldness and occasional skimmers of that other blog, what do you think of my decision? Am I doing the right thing?
On the one hand, I don't want to be complicit in what I consider the undeniable softening of our beloved, brittle, little Miss Selfish, but I don't want to be rude either. If only I hadn't had that brocade fiasco, this never would have happened; I'd have sent the package back, "Return to Sender, Address Unknown." I would too have.
The worst part of it is, Cathy is going to love this outfit, just wait and see. And who do you think is going to get all the credit? Elaine!
Drat, that girl!
P.S. -- Do you think I owe her a pattern now and does it have to be in her size?
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!