The pattern was Vintage Vogue 1084, for anyone who wants their own Hell Dress. It looks gorgeous; I love Vintage Vogue. The dress is sweetness and decadence combined. With a dress like this, surely even oafish me can't fail but to float down the street on a mist, with elegance, poise and a classical tune emanating from somewhere intangible around me?
Wading in minus toile safety net was clearly my own fault. But I'd never needed to adjust anything before. And the urgency with which I needed such a creation forced me to take risks. I could hear the pattern whispering to me, hypnotising me, pulling me recklessly onward. Onward, it seems, to doom. They say hindsight is an amazing thing. Already The Dress was at work, spinning its evil spell; avoiding the toile wasn't really my fault at all!
The Dress went together amiably enough, masses of fabric making it feel luxuriant. I had pictures of wondrous swirling skirtage in my head, and dreams of ballrooms. But issues became evident. By fault (clearly not of my making, The Dress made me do it), or oddly-drafted pattern design, the top was determined to be way too large. And I do mean hugely too large. Massive, in fact. I made some tweaks and shrinkages but it was adamant it wanted to be for someone two sizes bigger, with an FF-fitting bust rather than the conventional pattern format of a B or C cup.
Undeterred, I did all I could to shrink it. Better too much than too little. And there was the rather marvellous design feature of a centre-front seam, which was ridiculously convenient in disposing of much of the frontal excess (mental note: any phrase involving the word 'frontal' makes a great band name). Plus another couple of panel seams. But the back needed to lose its centre peep-hole, leaving the tie somewhat homeless, before acquiring some additional dart-style top-stitch fashioning.
Thinking about it now, breast augmentation might have been a simpler resolution.
Eventually it made a semblance of fitting. Except...
Except I found I had an overwhelming lack of confidence wearing it. I came to fixate on the fact that it still made me look way 'broader' than it did in my head. I'm not usually given to overly worrying about such matters, but the dress was there, working its evil into my brain, telling me it shouldn't be worn, that it should just exist to taunt and plague me, haunting me from the depths of the wardrobe. The Cenobyte in the closet. (This may have just been in my head, but I doubt it.) I decided to take up arms again. In an effort to narrow its appearance - and placate its underworld murmurings - I came up with the notion of giving it a narrower focal point by adding a couple of buttons at the front, to bring the waist in. They helped marginally but it's still not the frock of my dreams. Except...
Having come to terms with these niggles, last week I made an effort to dust off the dress and wear it again. Finally.
I approached brandishing a white scarf of peace; it stepped up its reign of terror. In the mere act of putting it on, The Dress vindictively found a small area of still-damp deodorant to catch on, to mark its side. I swear the deodorant had had hours to dry and that The Dress magicked up its own mark, but I still try to be generous when tempted to condemn it. (Like the errant child it is, one day it will recognise my love and realise it loves me in return.) Naturally, I didn't notice this mark until I was already at work. I will never know whether this was to the chagrin of The Dress Possessed, as it meant I couldn't change it and leave it alone to rest in peace, or to its joy, as I was then thinking how I hated it for this situation and I would never be so foolish as to wear it again. Once more, I gave it the benefit of the doubt and attempted to gently sponge the mark away. Lovingly.
What kind of response could the tenderly-made creation have for such patience, kindness and respect? Surely we had emptied its immediate arsenal? Foolish, foolish girl. There is no such thing as karma in the Universe of Creeping Mould from whence The Dress emerged! No! Its gratitude for my gentle ministrations appeared in the form of a loosening of the seam in a small area by the waist. Just a small hole; nothing too noticeable. But it was there, in my waking nightmare, taunting me as I found myself helplessly imprisoned in its blood-smear-patterned embrace, escape still hours away in an ever-lengthening day. The Dress was letting me know, beyond doubt, that I would never feel good if I insisted on utilising its wares.
What it didn't know is that I would go home that night and re-sew it. And this battle of wills will not cease. In the end, in this abusive relationship, somehow I will conquer and The Dress will be worn. And worn.