I was woken up this morning an hour before I had to get up with the realization that I had to sew some shifts.
One minute I was asleep with my head cupped on my new memory foam pillow in my big warm bed and Rascal pushing hard against my back, easing me closer and closer to the edge like he always does, and my eyes opened wide to the thought that it was time I sewed some shift dresses for summer. I woke up understanding that this was something I really, really needed to do.
Shifts were what we used to call them in the sixties when I was just a kid. Sort of like a sheath (thank you Michelle Obama for solving all my work wardrobing problems with your fashion leadership - a sheath and a cardigan are just my style) but a bit more ease, almost A line but not quite - operationally a dress that is fitted at the neck and chest but loose enough around the hem that you don't have to put in a back vent to walk. Bust darts for sure, and back neck darts, but probably any shaping more than that with seams from below the bust.
Easy to sew and with pique or cottons with enough body no lining required. Cool in the summer and it seems that every summer I feel hotter, like every winter I feel colder.
You can do a lot with at basic pattern like this. Sleeveless or little sleeves, piping, neckline variations - scoop, V neck and fancy stuff like tabs, and little slits in the front, and pockets, different kinds and different places, or versions where it's about the fabric or the colour, and after this grey and black winter colour would be good, coral maybe, or purply blue, sorbet, non January colours. And if you made it plain you could dress it up with jewelry, long necklaces or brooches, I like brooches, or nothing more than a big cuff bracelet, and probably any of these dresses once I had made a few and could sew them in my sleep, could be done in a couple of evenings or over a weekend at least. I could do binding instead of armhole facings, wear them to work, wash them carefully and hang them on the line to dry.
Maybe some I would line.
And then it was 6:20 and I got up to go to work.
The streets and the yards and sidewalks were covered with ice. Lumpy ice like lava that had been thrown over us in the night. I made it into work but I was the only one there. When I was still in my bed thinking of neckline variations the radio should have been on and I should have heard that my school was closed because of the weather. So I let myself in and had a productive morning of quiet work and I called Fabricville to see when the next pattern sale was.