The Case of the Missing Bodice


I’ve started trying to engage life more intentionally the past few weeks, putting aside excuses to fit hobbies and fun things into my free time.

I have come to realize that excuses serve a very useful function, and I wish I hadn’t sloughed them off quite so thoroughly, because I’ve realized that avoiding hobbies “because I don’t have time” is a far more manageable blow to my ego than “I don’t do hobbies because every time I do I realize that there is a special place in idiot-hell reserved for this girl.”

My old school readers will remember the Saga of the Elephant, wherein I tried to make a stuffed elephant for the daughter of some friends of mine and ended up sewing the tail into the body of the elephant. That sweet child is now 3 and has a baby sister. . .and still the elephant sits in my sewing pile, earless, eyeless, and tailless, a mute testimony to my lamewaditude.

This time I had wised up to the fact of my incompetence and decided to do a rough draft of my project first. My aversion to shopping has been catching up with me more and more as I’ve ripped, stained, shrunk, and outgrown the clothing I’ve been wearing for the last seven-plus years. Thus, clothing seemed like a good place to focus my creative energies; even if I came out wrapped in fig leaves, circa Adam-and-Eve BC, I’d be better off than the alternatives my increasingly scant wardrobe offers.

Thus armed with a bedsheet, a pattern, and a will of (very malleable and kind of wussy) iron, I sallied forth to the Land of the Clothed.

First up, cutting the pattern. Cutting is kind of a touchy subject for me, being a Poor Persecuted Left-Hander. But with my new overcomer’s attitude, I somehow prevailed.

Next up. . .the sewing. I sewed. And sewed. And it all seemed to be going well until:

Demon Bodice

Hello, bodice from hell.

The shot is kind of indistinct, so allow me to decode what is going on in this picture. . .namely, the midriff pieces end an inch before the bodice does. In other words, were I to proceed with business as usual from this point forward, I would have a neatly placed back-gap between where the bodice ends and the skirt starts. This is not ok. I pored over the instructions and every seam I’d sewn in the dress, and could not understand what I’d done wrong. I then sent a panicked email to my can-fix-anything mother, and decided to tackle the skirt while I was waiting.

Things went from bad to worse.

First, this:

Skirt Fail

What you see here, children, are the side panels of the skirt, sewn neatly together. The seam is great, everything matched up perfectly, and this would have been a tolerable job, minus the teeny tiny fact that this skirt is distinctly lacking its center panels, and accordingly wouldn’t fit over my left thigh. Even my “8 sizes too big” shorts are better than a skirt sized somewhere between “Indecency” and “Humiliation.”

Then, this:

Inside out is my favorite

I lack the capacity to explain what happened here, beyond my token explanation of. . .”God didn’t give me much. . .intelligence.” See how the seam on the top is sewn facing OUT, and the seam on the bottom is sewn IN? Yup. I did that. With my own two hands. Somehow, my brain translated to me that this was a good idea. In hindsight, my only response is, “Shut up, brain. You no talk.”

I righted those two wrongs quickly enough, but still could not understand what I had done wrong with the bodice. Nothing about it made sense. Zipper insertion was going to be nigh impossible. Why didn’t the bodice have a slot for the zipper? Why wasn’t it all aligning? Why, why, why?!

Several email exchanges with my mother later, we finally hit on the problem.

That bodice? The one you see there? That was never intended to be the back of a dress. It was only meant to play the role of “bodice-front.” There is another piece entirely, one that opens neatly for the zipper and presumably matches up perfectly with the midriff pieces, and all is right in my world again, except. . .

I looked for those bodice-back pattern pieces today. I remember cutting them out. The pattern tissue still has pin marks in it. And I can’t find those pieces anywhere around my sewing cabinet.

Which means. . .those little demon pieces are sewn somewhere onto my dress. Lurking. Waiting to pop out at the most inconvenient moment possible and trigger an epic sewing meltdown.

I won’t let that happen. I will find you, bodice-back. I will find you, and I will beat you, and one day, I will wear you.

Game on, Sewing. This time, I win.

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