It’s uncanny, innit?

Have you ever noticed how you sometimes buy (or make) the same garment again and again? One man I know has something like 45 white shirts. My husband has about 12 pairs of Church’s brogues. I used to have quite a collection of grey long-sleeved T-shirts and jumpers.

When something works for you, you like wearing it. I feel nice in a grey T. So when shopping, consciously or unconsciously, I buy what I like. Items I know will suit me and will go with my wardrobe. The problem, of course, is that I really don’t need another grey T. And, if I am honest I look just as good, maybe even better in white, red, pink, bright blue, turquoise, emerald, purple, or even a pattern. But a grey T is safe, quiet, easy. But lady, just how many grey Ts do you need? I had about 15, but now (post Kondo) pruned them down to five – one long-sleeved, one short-sleeved, a cashmere tank, jumper and cardigan.

Now something funny happened when I showed my daughter the silk dress I have just finished.

EXHIBIT ONE Hand painted silk dress

This item has been painted by me and I have used a fairly rare pattern in a unique way. I will not walk into a room and find someone else in the same dress. There is nothing like it on the planet. It is something (as they used to say on Monty Python) “completely different”. It’s nothing like a grey T shirt, is it?


Esme started laughing. “It’s just like the one in your portrait, isn’t it?” She ran and fetched a portrait Baltimore artist Erin Fitzpatrick did of me back in the summer of  2010.

EXHIBIT TWO Joules sleeveless cotton summer dress

I really liked this dress. It had pink and yellow flowers on a turquoise background and was great in hot weather. I found the waist a bit high and the colours were somewhat warm for my complexion.

Now EXHIBIT THREE – Sleeveless summer dress from Wallis

I got married to Nick in 2002. Look at what I am wearing. This was a slightly tacky dress in polyester, from the sale at Wallis. I think it was £55 reduced to £25. I made the veil myself from a cheap joke tiara and a piece of pink nylon netting. It was only lined to knee, and I didn’t like the elasticated neckline. But of course I loved the print which included the colours I adore – pinks, turquoise, reds, blues. I felt nice in this dress but I don’t think I ever found an occasion to wear it again.

I have to ask myself why I chose the colour scheme for the new silk dress? I didn’t plan it out at all consciously beyond deciding on flowers. I wanted something that would somehow go with my 2015 SWAP so I determined to use fuschia, jade, white and charcoal. I had planned to use fuchsia and jade for the flowers and then dye the fabric with dark grey dye. I had the dark grey dye ready. But when I was doing the flowers I reached for the blue silk paint. And I sort of tried it as a background. It wasn’t turquoise that I chose – it really looked like blue. It is blue really, but I seem to have created – entirely unconsciously – the same colour scheme I already loved. Three sleeveless floral dresses with the same colour scheme.

Have you bought or made the same dress many times, and sometimes by accident?

11 Responses

  1. felicia

    I was just thinking this evening, as I was out for a constitutional, that I sew because I have an issue with clothes. I can’t find a “presentation” that I like. If I sew my own, maybe I can stumble across a type of clothing that I will at last feel at home in. It seems to me you’ve done this with the flowered dress. You tried twice before to have a blue flowered dress, and didn’t quite succeed. Each dress was flawed in some way. At last you decided to make your own, giving yourself the chance to get it right. I think some of us carry around these unsolved problems, possibly unconsciously, and when an occasion comes to try again for a solution, we take it. Gosh, I should be writing my own post about this ….

  2. Sew2pro

    You look so beautiful on your wedding day; what a lovely portrait of you too!

    I have a pattern (rather tattered) New Look 6459 that suits me perfectly that I make at least every other year – if it ain’t broken, why fix? But with your perfectly painted silk dress you have arrived gradually at perfection that eluded the RTW versions. Isn’t this why we sew: because nothing available in the shops is good enough for our exacting standards…

  3. Joyce Latham

    Fabulous portrait! You sure look like your having a lot of fun at your wedding… Your dress, a work of art!
    When I realize I have far too many white shirts, I often have a flash back to when my mother used to say, ” Put on a nice white blouse.” Colours cause emotional reactions from past experiences, I wonder if there was something in your past which causes you to love these particular combination.
    Have a great day.
    Joyce ??

  4. Stephanie

    Aw…I love this post. You look so lovely and relaxed in your wedding photos. I am also fascinated by the painted portrait, as it reveals something else…what, I don’t know, maybe questioning? The eyes are so interesting.

    I wonder about going back to the same things over and over again. I think we do. I find motifs recurring all the time in my décor, and I am surprised if I ever read old journals by how repetitive my thoughts are! I also noticed with my SWAP that although I had good intentions with respect to the colour palette, I ended up reverting back to lots of navy and other blues and a slightly masculine style, which seems to be my thing.

    PS Agree with Marianna that you have achieved perfection with your SWAP dress!

  5. Cheryl

    I can understand why you are drawn to this colour scheme and style, as it suits you so well. It not only happens with clothes….I have seen this so many times with interiors in ‘new homes’ that are the ‘same’ as the old. I have a theory that we like shapes and styles that suit us (or are us) and select objects the same. For instance, I am straight and like square arches.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you C for your insight, especially about interior colour schemes. I think some of this is fairly deep. I am thinking my mother’s views, preferences and flower arrangements may have something to do with my love of this colour scheme! There is some evidence that we are attracted to colours which harmonise with our own colouring.

  6. Anne

    That was so funny. It’s great that you’ve managed to perfect a dress in your preferred style and colours. I’m sure we’re attracted to things that suit us, colour wise, but there can be external influences in play (including availability) as well as internal (memories, mood for example). For a while, my preferred style in house decor was over- influenced by that of my mother; I had always loved it, but of course found my own way and now, 30 odd years later, there is little comparison. I read and enjoyed the article about you in Inside Housing.

  7. Amanda

    I LOVE the happy accident of your silk dress!! Personally, that’s my favourite item from your SWAP on you – it just looks amazing on you 🙂 I also love that you always buy grey tees because I always buy black tees – I wear them with everything ^_^ I justify it by telling myself black fades fast, and then I will need to replace them anyway (which is very true!)

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