Whilst I was in town the other day, I realised how much I had missed certain elements of shopping. As leaving my house to go out has been an issue for quite a few years now, most of the shopping I do is online.  Most times I am happy with my purchases but there is always the return service if I an not entirely satisfied: although I do tend to pass goods onto members of my family rather than sending them back. So it’s a win, win situation.

There is not much, if anything, that you cannot get online these days and over the past few years I have purchased a huge variety of goods, including fabrics, threads, clothes, shoes,  food, gardening supplies, a couple of tv’s, wallpaper, furniture and even a pond. During some of my dark days I have even researched the purchase of coffins, much to the amusement of my family, but that’s another story.




It was only when I found this little fabric shop in our Grainger Market the other day, that I realised just how much I have been missing. The feel and smell of the fabrics was exquisite; a fantastic sensation you can not get through a laptop or iPad screen.  The myriad of colours was so overwhelming and appealing, making my choice of fabrics very difficult.  There was so much in front of me that I just wanted to buy and buy and buy; I really had to keep a tight hold on the reigns or I would have ended up bankrupt. This is a new experience for me, buying fabric for no other reason than I like it, with little or no initial idea what it will eventually turn into.  The memory still makes me tingle with excitement.

I had a lovely chat with the owner of the fabric shop, something you can not do when online shopping: it made me realise just how much I have lost out on while I have been ill. The lady and I discovered we both shared a passion for fabrics as we immersed ourselves in roll after roll of beautiful stock; my head was buzzing with ideas. I shared my thoughts and dreams for what I planned to make and became quite excited at the thought of making something I had not done for a very long time. I must have seemed like a young kid let loose in a sweet shop, with my hubby on the outside looking on, patiently waiting till I had had my fill.

I departed with a bag of beautiful fabrics, a hole in my bank balance but with a huge smile on my face. I  left a promise with the owner that I would be back soon to make further purchases. The rest of my outing passed in a bit of a haze as the anxiety washed over me but I held tightly onto my hubby’s arm and followed were he led. Eventually we descended on a large department store and in the haberdashery department I found a pattern for a baby and toddler dress.

I woke up quite early the next morning, filled with excitement and a craving to get started on my little project. The night before I had been unable to resist getting started even though I was extremely tired after my trip out. After my hubby had gone up to bed I cut out and prepared some of the material ready to sew together when I next woke up next day.

Out of all the effects of my anxiety disorder and the symptoms of PTSD that I have, the hardest for me to deal with  has been the loss of my ability to be create things from nothing: to start off with a length of fabric, a few pins, a pair of scissors, a pattern or an idea of some sort and a desire to produce something I can share with others.

I started out full of confidence that I could do this, I could make these oddly shaped pieces of fabric into something resembling a dress. I cannot remember how many years it has been since I made clothes for anyone, yet there had been a time when that was all I made, clothing for every occasion, for all ages: wedding dresses, outfits for an entire jazz band, including the purple frilly knickers, and clothing for my own children were just some of the things I had made. And NO they were not made from the old curtains like Maria produced for the children in the Von Trapp family, as one of my daughters laughingly tells people now.

This new venture of mine was a huge struggle to start.   I could not remember how to assemble the pieces, nor could I remember the order in which to sew the fabric pieces together. I was constantly referring to the instruction sheet that came with the pattern, but I found that even more confusing. So, after a few tears of frustration I sat for a while to calm myself, had a cup of coffee, took a few deep breaths and slowly started to assemble the dress. I pictured my new great-granddaughter Alice wearing the finished article, I wanted to do this for her and me, and eventually it started started coming together.








Oh dear, what had I done. No sooner had I finished a pretty pink dress than I grabbed my scissors and the beautiful blue fabric that I had purchased and before long there was another partially finished dress laying on my table. I was enthused, I could do this. It was all slowly coming back. Yes, I made mistakes, but hey that’s what stitch rippers are for. An understanding, supportive and patient husband with a stitch  ripper is a wonderful gift.
Using parts of the pattern and a sheet of paper I then created a pattern for a tunic dress. Great I thought, I would line the dress so it would be reversible. But my enthusiasm outshone my ability, I could not figure out how to put it together. I had experienced the same problem when I went to line some bags I had made a little while aG, but I had managed it then and I was determined I would  do the same this time. Somehow I slowly Thought it through, and after several false starts was able  to get it sort of right. I had to pull it apart several times but I was not going to let the fact it was wrong dampen my enthusiasm. I could do this, I could. I told myself over and over till I calmed down again and then eventually it all came right.



And I did! Not once, but twice. I had created four toddler dresses in a day, 100% more than I had done for a long time. I was so proud of myself; what a lovely positive feeling to look at them and realise, I had done this. I still need to go shopping for buttons but I will have to wait a few days before I can get myself out shopping again. I will probably swap the buttons for press studs unless I can remember how to make the buttonholes. But I will work it out and do it because I WILL completely finish them all.

And hopefully I will eventually remember how to put photos into my posts. I’ve forgotten for now and make no apologise for the fact they are scattered all over the place in a higgledy piggledy fashion.




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