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Sunday, 11 September 2016

A yellow dress, not made by me

I like being nostalgic, especially in relation to old things, which they tell a lot of stories, bring up memories and envelop me in some sort of time cocoon. Some of the stories are interesting, others are not, but I am the one who decides, which stories to remember.

A few months ago I was at my grandparents’ house. While browsing through the rooms, I opened an old wardrobe, where my mum keeps some of my teenage garb. Seeing my old outfits made me smile and I decided to try some of them on. To my surprise, most of the garments still fit! I only struggled with a pair of skinny jeans and a close fitted dress, because my hip size has increased over the years. It was interesting to see how my taste has evolved and acknowledge which stages of life have influenced it. One dress though, brought a lot of vivid memories and not only did I try it on, but I decided to bring it back to Dublin with me.

Back in the ‘90s, my mother knew a seamstress, who would sew fancy outfits for both of us. She was very young, only a few years after her graduation, but at that time anybody older than 30 was an old person to my eyes. It took some years, but I eventually befriended her, and on some occasions I was allowed to watch her work in her tiny room, which has been transformed into a sewing studio. She was a professionally trained pattern-maker, therefore needless to say, she drafted all the patterns herself. When people wanted her to sew something, they could bring a picture from a fashion magazine, and she would reproduce it 1:1. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of her garments. . .

One day, when I was 15, she showed me a dress, she had made for herself many years before, and she asked whether I’d fancy accepting it as a gift. The dress did not fit her anymore and I was the only person she knew, who had a similar body shape. I gladly received the dress and wore it that summer, but the following year, I found it too outdated, especially the tulip shape of the skirt, and I stored it away. Until last month that is!


The dress brought me back my teenage years, my carefree and easy life (which I did not even realise at that time). Also now, I can finally appreciate all the hard work and imagination, she put into the dress, since she designed and drafted the pattern herself. Just look at the intricate sleeves and side panels! What an interesting design feature! Does anybody put so much thought into patterns anymore? I also love the crazy amount of buttons! It does take a long time to fasten or unfasten it, but they are the cherry on top! Now, I wear this dress with lots of pride and joy. I wish I could replicate the pattern at some stage, without deconstructing it.

I am really glad my mum did not give this dress away!

Is there an object from your past, which brought you nice memories lately?