While I was in Italy last month, I took a trip to the open-air market, a massive (by the town’s standards) affair that takes place every Tuesday and Saturday.
There were several stalls selling haberdashery and trimmings, but only two that sold fabric. One had interiors fabric for a ludicrous 6 Eur/metre, made even more ludicrous by the fact that it was double width (about 280cm /110in wide).
But – the man was impossibly rude. I waited patiently for my turn for about 15 minutes because, well, I have lived in Britain for the past ten years. And when it was my turn he deliberately chose to serve someone else, so I politely said goodbye and left.
I do this on a regular basis whilst in Italy, because if people aren’t rude then the shopkeeper / stallholder will be, and they feed off each other’s rudeness.
What is amusing is how this baffles both the proprietor of the business and the other customers. There are only two options in Italy for being ignored in a queue: a.continue to wait patiently or b.shout and have an argument. My choice of c. say goodbye in a normal tone of voice and leave
just fills Italians with all kinds of wonderment.
Well, tough. I have obviously lived up here for way too long.
(No I haven’t! I love it here. Let’s make the second decade as much fun as the first!)
So I said goodbye to interior-fabrics Rude Dude and returned to the other stall, a mixture of remnants and bolts, all very expensive but some of them rather pretty.
I picked up two remnants, one a pale blue with a rose print and one a heavy knit that resembles denim:
According to the stall holder both remnants were two metres long, because he charged me 10 euros for each one. Compared to my usual Abakhan prices this is simply insane, but I really felt it spoke to me (in a Paul Weller kind of voice) and it was a nice, heavy fabric that I think contains some cotton.
I put the fabric in my Pinarello bag (I had just bought a present for a triathlete friend) and moved on to Pescheria, where I was due to meet Mum for a rather decadent lunch of seafood and Prosecco.
Whilst on my way there, I realised I was going to walk past the second best newsagent in town after the one in the train station. If there were any sewing magazines I hadn’t bought during my stay, they were bound to be there.
And they were! The man sold me a copy of Modellina Facile Speciale No.2:
This is actually an offshoot of Moda Diana (originally Diana Moden), which I bought during the same trip, only the patterns are even simpler.
The cover claims all patterns are in sizes 42 to 52, but the truth is that each one comes in three sizes: Italian 42/44, 46/48 and 50/52.
Not that you would want them to have more sizes, because this is what one and only pattern sheet looks like:
Someone posted one of these on Pattern Review with the title “And you thought Burda was bad!” and I can only agree.
Most of the patterns appear frumpy at first, but that’s down to them being executed in atrocious prints and very simple. They’re actually not that bad, especially when you are a beginner like me.
Whilst I waited for Mum I fell in love with one of dresses. I thought it would look great in a de-frumped version in the very same blue knit that I had in my bag.
As the plan took shape I started thinking Mod Generation: The Who, A Town Called Malice. I told there was some Paul Weller somewhere!
As Mum and I sat down to lunch, I showed her the overview page in the magazine and asked her to guess which one I liked.
She picked it out straight away:
After lunch -and a lot of coffee- I decided to woman up and face that pattern sheet, and traced the dress pieces. I traced the 50/52, because it was the closest to my hip measurement, but I knew full well that the 46/48 had enough ease to fit me. Still, I am fairly new at this game and it made sense to me to cut the bigger size and be able to take it in later.
Fast forward a good three weeks, and last week I spent a lot of time tracing different patterns from various sources, but very little sewing was done. In the end I remembered about the dress and the fabric, so on Wednesday night I set out to cut out the pattern pieces.
I was right about this being big – it’s sized for a 1970s DDR javelin thrower, if you know what I mean.
The pattern has no seam allowaces, and yet I didn’t add any, although I did use a 1cm guide on my machine instead of my usual 1.5cm (5/8″).
The fit of the skirt turned out great, the bodice -which was adapted to take into account the narrower skirt- still had to be taken in a whole extra inch on each side. I went to see an amazing band called Alabama Shakes on Thursday night, meaning that this was finished on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.
I wore it for the first time last night, to see Mike Kiwanuka at The Ritz:
The hem is not that wonky at all, it’s a mixture of my posture and my friend holding the camera in an, erm, interesting fashion.
I love this dress and I am completely chuffed with how this turned out! Want to know how chuffed?
This morning I pulled out one of my favourite RTW dresses – knit fabric, below knee, short sleeves. I noticed that the top of the neck needs to mending, but since I was in a rush I wore my brand-new me-made dress instead! When I realised what I had done I smiled to myself all the way to work.
This is my “Stop dreaming of a quiet life” Mod dress (have I mentioned I love Paul Weller in the last two hours? No? That’s just remiss), my Diamond Jubilee dress (red, white and blue) and somewhere there is a picture of my Grandma B. wearing a blue pinny with red trim. I cannot find so you will have to take my word for it.
Click here for the PR review.