Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Poodle Skirt: What it should teach me about writing, Pt 1

This is a poodle skirt. And you say, "Yes, I know it's a poodle skirt, but what's your point?"

My point? I hate this skirt. Loathe it. Detest it. It's seriously the only thing I hate more than...I don't even know--anything.

 "Wow," you say, "that's a lot of emotion about a stupid skirt."

And I agree. Completely.

If you're a long-time follower then you know that I have made some interesting comparisons to aspects of my life and how they relate to my writing. Bear with me because I'm about to do it again.

You see, last Friday was our school's Homecoming. And my daughter, who is part of the band/marching band, told me Tuesday that they had decided everyone needed a poodle skirt for the parade Friday.

Tuesday. She told me Tuesday. Afternoon. On our way out of town for a dentist appointment.

So I grumbled. And I griped. Why couldn't they have come to this conclusion a week ago? A month ago? It's not like nobody knew when Homecoming was, or that they would be in the parade. And I admit it--I'd hoped her ineligibility status might prevent her from marching in the parade. That way I wouldn't have to drop everything and make a skirt she'll probably only wear once. But no such luck.

I scoured the fabric selections at Walmart Tuesday afternoon because it's the only place with fabric and picked out a sweet floral print because they didn't have decent prices on any solid colored fabric. And because I know my daughter I knew I'd have to make an underskirt to shield her legs from the netting because she'd gripe about it being scratchy. Yeah, I know.

Wednesday I had a full schedule and couldn't do anything about it, but I did manage to make the poodle applique. But I started on the skirt first thing Thursday. I measured. I cut. I dug out more fabric. I measured and cut some more.

I found that the pretty floral print I'd bought at the store wouldn't work for the skirt. I hadn't bought enough fabric, which is a mistake I hardly ever make. Usually I have tons leftover. So I dug into my reserves and found the solid red pictured above. I probably still have enough of that leftover to make a tablecloth for my 8-seater dining room table. The underskirt? Easy--an old sheet. The netting? Less easy--I hate working with netting or tulle but I managed it.

Then I started to piece it all together and sew. I put in movies to listen to in order to break up the monotony. Occasionally I got up and ate or got more water or went to the bathroom or changed out the movies. But mostly I sewed. And sewed. And sewed.

The skirt was almost complete by the time my daughter got home from school. Mind you, I've made skirts before. Usually I do a simple elastic waist and hem it up. Really, really basic. The last one I made my youngest took me about 15 min start to finish. This skirt?

Oh. My. Goodness. It had a waistband. It has a zipper. I don't have a zipper the right length. I measured and cut for the size up from my daughter's size and the waist was tiny. TINY. My daughter is 12 and does not have a tiny waist. When she tried it on it was easily 3 inches too small. After all that work?

I grumbled a bit louder. I fantasized about going down to the school and yelling at the adults in charge of the band and the parade stuff. Details like this need to be worked out well in advance, not 3 days before.

My waistband solution? I ran a seam deeper into the top of the skirt, measured her, cut off the top of the skirt so there was a bigger opening, and measured again.

And still botched it. Now it was too big. Slid right off her not-quite-yet-hips and puddled on the floor. By this time I was fed up with the whole project, but no way was I going to put this much time and effort into the dang skirt and give up there. Safety pins. Yes, the skirt is still too big for her and if it ever fits it will likely be too short. I ran up to town and while the girls were in their drama class I bought a zipper. That night I came home and sewed it in. I'm not fast with zippers so it took until after they'd gone to bed.

But, finally, late Thursday night, the poodle skirt was done. And I LOATHED IT. In fact, I'm still considering burning it.

Because I hate that stupid, awkward poodle skirt.

But I love my daughter.

*Part 2, how this relates to writing, will be up tomorrow.

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