are you there, project runway? it’s me, caroline.

Tim Gunn embroidery
Image by Totally Severe via Flickr

So I’m a little strapped for cash. Big surprise. Yes, I know, I make fine money. Yes, I know, I have a lovely apartment. Yes, I know, I eat out too much. But what you don’t know is that the hubs spreadsheet is an evil little bastard. He it gives me a meager stipend with which to live on. I am forced to rely on the generosity of others to see me through month to month. My own mother doesn’t support me. Come to think of it, my own father doesn’t either. They just let me live this way. Like a beggar.

Actually I just can’t stop doing things like spending Saturday afternoons with Yoga Marc to the tune of $100. Or going out to dinner. Or making friends with people who have waaaaay more cash than I do. I don’t know who the hell I think I am. Wait, yes I do. My name is fun loving girl just trying to navigate and gravitate. Jesus. Leave me alone. It costs money to look like this. Or does it?

Due to my impoverished state, or because I have a hole in my head, I decided that I would save money (or just not spend money I didn’t have) by not buying a dress for a gala I’m going to tomorrow night. Sitting in my swiveling chair at work it all seemed so simple: I would obviously just make something.

Now you’re thinking oh! caroline! what a great idea! how clever of you.

Wrong.

What you should be thinking is caroline?! what the fuck is wrong with you? do you even know how to sew? or read a pattern?

You know what the answers to those questions are?

I don’t know. No, I don’t. Negative ghost writer.

For some reason my ego didn’t seem to think that mattered. Buy some fabric. Pin it together. Make clothes. Illegals from coast to coast are doing this for fifteen cents a day. I can make a dress in four days. No problem.

(I am being real with you, reader, when I tell you that it never, ever, not even one teensy time, occurred to me that this was not possible. Like a stupid gnat or something I just buzzed into that fabric store like I was picking out fruit for a salad.)

For starters, Rookie here thought she needed nine yards of fabric to get this done. Nine. I think I could reupholster my sectional with all the fabric I bought. Additionally, I did not buy a pattern. I had a plan. In my vast and capable brain. M.o.r.o.n.

Not knowing how I was going to keep the whole thing together, I bought ribbon, snaps, and hooks. No zippers. Too complicated. And some black thread. Didn’t figure you’d see the stitches and those you did I planned on passing off as “contrast stitches.”

When I got home I drew a picture to try to collect my thoughts. It was terrible. Rather than take this as a clue that I wasn’t going to be a successful designer and seamstress, I thought about how silly it was that I went to art school and still can’t draw a decent picture. (Now you’re wondering how I’m going to express my vision in fabric if I can’t express it with a number two. This is what us literary types like to call “tragic irony”. You the audience have way more foresight into my future than I, the subject, do. You know doubt know that this is going to go south. I still do not.)

You know what’s absolutely clutch when it comes to dressmaking? A bust form. Without it you are standing your hallway staring at yourself in a full length mirror taping fabric to your naked body. Then come the pins. Oh the pins. You know what isn’t awesome? Trying to accurately pin a dress to your body without giving yourself a little gratis acupuncture. Note to self: bust form.

Another nicety would have been a pattern. Or maybe some patience. Either would have come in handy. Without them, I was frustrated within twenty minutes. No wonder those Project Runway kids are such whiny bitches. Twenty minutes of taping, losing track of what was the front and what was the back, and asking Stuart to get off my creation and I was about to homicide/suicide. Stuart in the toilet, me in the oven. Like Sylvia.

The bobbin ran out shortly before that happened. The hubs is the only one who knows how to replace it (he is also the only person who knows how to make the stitcher thing move backwards) so I was done for the night.

On Day Two I decided I was approaching it all wrong. I needed to be more conceptual. Less perfection, more whim. AKA less time, more finishing. That was a super awesome theory. Except I still didn’t really have a goddamned clue what I was doing. And I was starting to lose some serious blood from the pin holes. I managed to eek out a skirt that was an accomplishment except that it made me look like an Oompa Loompa. Even the hubs couldn’t veil his surprise. I think he said something like oh! well would you look at that!

Asshole.

At work today I devised a plan. Too late to buy anything, plus I couldnt afford to buy anything. I needed to salvage my vision. I swung by the fabric store for some extra supplies and began the tedious and mind numbing task of hand sewing hook and eyes to the outfit. (You may have noticed that dress magically became skirt. Dresses involved a skill set I do not possess.) Then for good measure I just began stitching randomly. Like a crazy person.

And then, exactly like a crazy person, I stopped. As though a divine muse, the keeper of dreamers, seamers, and makeshift bust forms, told me I was done. The masterpiece was complete.

Unfortunately the divine muse is obviously blind. And now I’m going to debut my creation in front of hundreds of Boston’s People. (Capital P.)

I’ll keep you posted. Pinky swear.

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9 thoughts on “are you there, project runway? it’s me, caroline.

  1. just got rude stares for bursting into laughter in the quiet study section of the PCL (library on UT campus) loved it. Can’t wait for pictures (MUST post pictures)

    1. I will do my best to post photos. It will depend entirely on whether the outfit even makes it through the night. The plunging neckline may fail me and I could end up in jail…

  2. sweet girl – you have forgotten your upbringing. Borrow, or GoodWill — NEVER SEW! That is worse than Ironing! (Only your mother could make those halloween costumes) you remember Caroline, Kellie and Jackson were always “Lady in curlers and bethrobe” “Princess” (In prom dress from goodwill) and “Army G-I-Joe” (that one kind of stuck…)but I laughed and laughed at the picture of you with accupunture needles that danced in my brain.

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