Greetings once again, friend readers. When last I spoke of my quest to learn the arcane ways of the seamstress, I had reached the point of learning several new and unusual words — along with several new and unusual meanings, for words I thought I knew. I was armed with knowledge, equipment, and supplies. I had faced the Bobbin and the Patterns, and had been beaten back. I was awaiting the astral alignment, the sun and stars to reach their proper places, such that the Gods might favor me with success.
Such a time did come to pass, and once again I went into the breach (of the Machine), thumbs and fingers dancing about the bobbin, thread and needles. These are dark arts indeed, my friends. There are many hazards for those not fortunate enough to spend many a-year apprenticing with a true Seamstress.
There is much more knowledge out there, but I am wary to delve too deeply into it lest I become lost in it. Formerly I jested about the dark arts of Bobbin management, but it is no jest! I share with you a brief exerpt from that most unholy tome,
By candle light clutch Bobbin tight
With a needle new of virtue true
Prick thy thumb till blood doth run
The blood to drip ‘pon burning wick
Endure the pain, and chant the names
I dare not divulge more. The Bobbin Mastery incantation is three pages of such dark rhymes.
Still, I resolved to press onwards. Steeling myself, I drew forth the patterns. Unfolding, and unfolding, and unfolding again, the wisps of smoke-thin tissue grew and grew till it seemed the whole of my study was to be engulfed. And yet unfolding was but the start. Now, armed with the scissors designated “for pattern only” I began to cut, cut along the lines. Some of the tissue, thank the Gods, was fit to be discarded. Yet most of the tan-coloured stuff must be kept. Some to be returned to the envelope from whence it came (ha! They must be mad) while the rest, that which I had cut free, must now be mated to fabric, for The Tracing…
The Tracing… when you thought the Pattern was unwieldy… try and mate it to an equal amount of fabric. It is… not as difficult as single-handedly moving an unconsious bear through a household. Which is to say, difficult, but not entirely impossible.
By the by, knowing that my knowledge was preliminary and my experience nonexistant, I selected a seemingly simple project to be my first. I decided to make for myself a new hat. Desiring something stylish, I opted to manufacture a design that has graced the royal head of the former monarch, Henry the Somethingth. Known alternatively as a Tudor hat or simply medieval hat, it can be seen gracing the Kingly brow in this woodcut:
Yes, nothing looks so stylish and regal as a small flying saucer with a short skirt under it. And, if the Gods permit it, such a cap shall soon be adorning my very own skull.
At first glance, such a hat indeed seems simple. For what is it, but a top, a middle, and a bottom? Three sections, all round, the lower two having a hole through which to fit one’s head. Ah, but looks, they are deceiving. Three sections, yes. Three pieces of fabric? No. No no no no.
Have I mentioned the word Interfacing yet? How about Liner. You see, this simple hatform consists of ten separate pieces of material. There are but four pieces visible to the eye. Two more can be spied if the hat is removed. But a further four pieces are completely encased. This Interfacing… it is like fabric but with magical properties. It stiffens, supports, adds form. And this simple Tudor hat, contains a lot of it.
With pattern traced, I was freed of the tissue. I folded and folded, but it will never again fit so smoothly into its paper home. To this day the envelope remains bulging, with tufts of tan-coloured tissue poking out.
Now the time was nigh, to stow the Pattern scissors and unsheath the For Fabric Only blades. Cutting fabric, proved to be much like cutting patterns – only slightly more difficult due to the weight and lifelessness of the stuff. And still, I pressed onwards.
With fabric — and interfacing — finally cut, pieces organized about me, it was time to stoke the fires and bring The Machine to life… but I see now that this entry has grown long. Fear not! I shall return again soon to continue this tale, and you may know the final outcome, of my first true battle with The Machine!