Hating fashion with a passion

life

I've made no secret on this blog of the fact that I hate shopping for clothes. In all seriousness, given the choice I would rather visit the dentist than shop for clothes. Basic items like jeans, t-shirts and so on, I buy online, and use a small selection of suppliers, where I know what my size corresponds to in their sizing. I don't enjoy that much either, but a few clicks and it's all over until the clothes arrive and you have to try them on: relatively painless. But I've got a couple of events coming up where it is expected that I will dress up (i.e. wear a skirt or -- gasp! -- a dress). So that means that I have to go to actual clothes shops, find something I don't detest and try it on. And then repeat until I run screaming from the shop.

There are two problems, quite apart from my utter indifference about what I wear. The first is sizing. I am short, and I am curvy, and clothes manufacturers seem not to have encountered women of either shape before, still less both shapes in one woman. Modern clothes are seemingly not made for women with waists smaller than their hips. The second problem is fashion itself. Even if -- like me -- you have no desire at all to follow fashion, you are utterly stymied by it. Not all styles suit all shapes of people, and fashions mean that at any one time, only one or two styles will be in fashion. This wouldn't bother me at all but for the fact that it means you can't actually buy clothes in the shapes that suit you. Once every 10 years, you might get lucky when a style that suits you comes over the fashion horizon, but if you want to buy clothes in the intervening years, you are out of luck. Your only option is to haunt second-hand or vintage clothes outlets, in search of that empire line/flapper/50's tea dress shape.

I'm seriously starting to consider the possibility of learning how to make my own clothes. I could borrow or buy a sewing machine, find fabric I like, and actually make clothes that a) fit me, b) suit me and c) I like. The trouble is, I have no idea how to go about it. I'm a complete n00b when it comes to dressmaking. Does anyone know of good sources of basic patterns (particularly ones which can be easily modified), and easy guides for people who are liable to sew the wrong seams up?

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