After all the friends, family, picnics, and pool days of the past month, my girl and I spent a lovely, quiet past couple of days inside, in the air conditioning, doing not much. Not much at all. My very limbs were limp. I pushed the ottoman over to the chaise lounge and made a day bed. Why didn't I think of this before? We rolled around there for hours. She took her nap there. I watched this documentary (I think it was on Xfinity on-demand, maybe?) while she slept beside me and was moved to tears by it, remembering things. I knit this very pretty little sweater in the prettiest color (I think). I fretted about all the work stuff I have to do (fast-paced shallow breathing here). I decided instead to order many vintage toddler dress sewing patterns from the '70s on Etsy, because I have these ideas. My pickiness about the exact lines I want to see in a toddler peasant dress has reached epic proportions. It's weirdo. I've thought about it a lot. Which is weird. I was starting to panic a little bit. Over toddler dresses. Stress-shifting. Pant pant. I thought about designing something myself and laughed out loud. I thought about splurging on some French patterns (the cuts, oh the cuts!) but the French were on vacation and wouldn't ship soon enough. I looked through the contemporary-designer PDFs I've bought, and the big commercial pattern books, but no. My brain tightened around these certain shapes and wouldn't let go. Then I started browsing the vintage patterns (hundreds! hundreds!) and — you guys — things got all f l o w y and r e l a x e d. Chillllllllllled. I swear I felt all those millions of blobby wrinkles on my very brain start to melt out. Yes, those were the dresses, and the shapes. There they were. Relieved sigh. Down, girl.
When I was a child I spent hours — a lot of hours — browsing pattern books at the fabric store with my mom. I always loved it. When I got older, in high school and college, I did it by myself. I always had a lot of ideas. I always needed time to think about them. I always wanted something that wasn't exactly in the book, or a fabric that wasn't exactly on the shelf. Much like now. What is that? Such a curious phenomenon. When I had a lot of other stuff I needed to do, I would still be making things up in my mind, working on a plan for something. I find it impossible to surrender the impulse, no matter how busy I am. If I don't have that little space — just a little space to dream of shapes, before I fall asleep at night I see them in my mind — I am unhappy. If I have it, I am happy. There isn't much else I really crave doing, when time is tight. I find the dreaming even more satisfying than the sewing (which I don't actually have much time to do). I thought of making a notebook with the line drawings of the dresses, and swatches of fabrics and trims, and color combos. Then, when I do have a few minutes, I'll be ready.
My pet peeve about contemporary indie patterns: Many don't include line drawings of the dress, and they are made is such bright, colorful fabrics that I seriously cannot seeeeeeee what is going on. I SO very much prefer the old patterns, with drawings instead of just photos. I really seem to need the cover drawings and the line drawings, myself.
(Her little pillowcase dress was a gift from my mom from Camp Hollyhock.)