Sew Cinematic: a Preview


I’m getting excited at the approach of the deadline to the That’s Sew Cinematic group challenge.  This exceptionally inventive initiative manages to marry our love of sewing to the love of the visual narrative: participants are to copy their favourite silver or small screen outfit, or capture the sartorial style of an inspiring screen goddess.

The big reveal is at the end of this month and I’ll no doubt find other bloggers’ completed projects an inspiration for months to come (sometimes all it takes is a detail on a dress to fire up the imagination and set off a new design).  From reading other blogs, I suspect that Downton Abbey will be a popular source.  Being unable to get enough of Megan and Betty, I hope for lots of Mad Men-inspired creations.

Now, those of you who know me in Real Life also know that I’ve yet to miss an episode of whatever Scandinavian drama BBC4 happens to be showing, so you might suspect that I’m using Sew Cinematic as an opportunity to knit myself a Sarah Lund:

Or, maybe you’re a pal from my trouser-cutting course, and wonder if I’m fashioning myself some Saga Noren-inspired leather trousers (which I do so want, along with the matching Porsche). 

These would be great outfits: we’re going to need warm clothing in Summer 2012!  But nope.  Being somewhat stuck in a time warp, I’m entering Sew Cinematic with a copy of a dress that I’ve had a crush on since I was 15.

Would you like a clue as to what it is?  Here’s a trailer:

It’s a late evening in May, and half-term.  I’m 15 and staying for a few days with a friend of my grandmother’s.  We’ve just been to a theatre matinee with some friends of hers and I’m still wearing my pale-mint dress bought from Miss Selfridges in the Vicky Centre (reduced from £25 to £10!)  The dress is beautiful, long and feminine, in a fabric woven with flowers, possibly damask.  Why on earth was it in a sale?  Actually, it’s a bit low-cut.  Earlier, on being introduced to a married, middle-aged man, I caught him leering at my decolletage and nearly gagged in his oily face…

My guardian, a wonderful and warm widow, isn’t canny enough to send me to bed, so we watch telly.  There’s a film just starting.  It’s on Channel 4.

The film is rude. Bawdy, as my Lit teacher would call it.  It’s rather silly actually, and kitsch. OMG, it then gets ruder….

We giggle occasionally and keep watching.  Actually, I’m enjoying it.  Certainly the tunes are catchy.  And the cast perfect.  And featuring in it is the dress of my dreams!

This one also shows cleavage.  But who’d dare look?

I keep an eye on such a dress in shops.  Once, I glimpse a vintage, woolly lookalike at a stall on a Friday in Greenwich Market but it’s too small.  Mid-1990s, there’s an up-market, to-die-for lime green version in the window of a Covent Garden boutique but I’m too poor so I just forget about it.  For years.  Till May 2012 and this:

In front of the whole nation, a flame-haired temptress  (to use Sun-speak) is wearing my dress to the Leveson Inquiry!  Oh, I understand that it’s not exactly the same.  The collars are demure and obscure my original’s slut credentials.  And the colour I understand is navy rather than black, but the overall impression is enough to take me back to May 1985 and the first time I saw it.

Only now, it might just be possible to sew it.  All it takes is a little jump to the left….