Traveling Red Dress Update

I know, it’s been way too long since I updated everyone on my progress! The beginning of this project seemed blessed by the gods themselves, as the exact amount of money I needed for the exact right fabric just seemed to appear exactly when I needed it. (See posts here, here and here for those stories.) And then, it seemed to have acquired a curse.

The pattern I chose took forever to arrive. Someone stole it the first time around (I think–I’m not actually positive she remembered to send the darn thing, but someone does steal stuff from our lobby regularly, we have now learned). She sent it again. It took a long time to arrive. Finally, it came! And it did not include instructions. I kid you not. It included only pattern pieces. And this dress is not the most intuitive pattern I’ve ever seen. It’s simple, but it definitely requires darn directions.

I emailed. And emailed. And received replies of “soon” and “tomorrow” and “later” and still, this seller insisted that she was working on it but couldn’t get the instructions to me. Why? This is her backwards system: use a giant scanner to scan a pattern’s instructions in color, so that buyers (who get traced pattern pieces, by the way, in order to preserve the vintage pattern–I love that, though, I always trace my patterns to preserve them in case I want another size later) can download an image of exactly what the original looks like. Ok, I get that. But what confused me was why this file was not readily available to the seller. She keeps them all on the scanner, which she couldn’t turn on because it was in her new brick and mortar retail space, which did not yet have power. I won’t go into all the reasons why it is incredibly stupid not to have all these files on a backup drive of some kind. What bugs me is that I ordered the darn pattern weeks before this big important move disrupted her life–why didn’t she email me the file?

Oh, yes, there was one other problem–the week I needed the instructions was the week she redesigned her website. Did she tell me this? No. The note that I got with the pattern pieces simply said that the instructions were downloadable from that site. I went there. It was basically blank. I emailed. And emailed. The scanner story finally came out as the reason. Still, did I get an email with the file attached? Maybe even an email letting me know it had been uploaded to the website? Nope. I had to refresh the page obsessively until it appeared. Yes, I am still angry. The whole debacle put me just enough behind schedule so that not only was I pregnant, but I was pregnant enough to be exhausted. All the time.

If you’ve never been pregnant, take it from me–the first trimester seems comparable to having a sleep disorder (as a friend so eloquently put it). I am pretty sure that I spend more time sleeping on any given day than I spend awake. Weekends, I pass out for 14 hours at a time and also take naps. I thought that being pregnant would mean I had to sew fast so that I could wear the dress before my waistline expanded. Turns out, the real challenge is getting off the couch. I have no idea if I’ll be able to zip the dress when I get the photos taken, but the photographer and I will work that out, even if I have to hold it together with huge safety pins.

Before the exhaustion took over my brain, I did manage to make the muslin version of this dress, with help from my wonderful mother-in-law. Here’s where I plug an Etsy shop I DO love. The lovely and generous Kim, whose muslin arrived well ahead of any other supplies, for free, runs the Busy Beehive, purveyor of all sorts of lovely surprises. You can find everything there from sewing supplies to costume jewelry. It’s a lot of fun! Go there now! Buy something!

I do have pictures for you of the muslin version of this dress. Notice the seams–I can’t wait to see how they look on the thicker, shinier red cotton sateen. The bodice is just gorgeous and ingeniously designed.


One Comment

  1. Christie O Tate said:

    I love the dress and cannot wait to see it in red. I hear you on the fatigue factor. All I could do in my first trimester was eat Mac and cheese from the couch. Keep us posted on the dress project.

    April 7, 2012

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