Happiness is rather relative, it really is a ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’ phenomenon.
I believe that the Serenity Prayer provides tips for true happiness- “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference“.
One who is unhappy about their “one-pack” could have the courage to change it into six-pack abs with a cleaner diet and exercise. One who is unhappy about their short stature could serenely accept that sometimes the best things do come in small packages.
About six years ago, I wasn’t too happy with my wonky smile, I knew that I could change it and decided to invest in dental braces. Mind you, I wore braces as an adult, not as a giggly teenager reminiscent of the clichéd DNF (Designated Nerdy Friend) in American high school movies, and mine were the very evident metal type.
You see, I was determined to be the Chuck Norris in my life’s action movie, and purposely didn’t tell anyone that I planned to get braces. I didn’t want well-meaning advice clouding my decision, the likes of “Oh! you don’t need them, your teeth are fine”. I simply left home without them and showed up with them, business as usual.
Upon sighting my newly acquired dental metal (aww, it rhymes), the comments were amusing:
Sweet Mother: “Open your mouth, let me see. (long pause) But why?”
The Teasers: “Iron teeth!”, “You’d better not go near magnets o”, “Does the metal detector beep when you walk into the banking hall?”, “You look like a rapper with grills, oya, rap for me!”
The Equally Amused: “Reading glasses, and now braces?! You seem to be on a mission to nerdify yourself.”
The Seemingly Impressed: “Nice! Braces give you a posh, aje-butter look.”, “Awww, you look like a cute teenager.”
The Comrade-in-arms: “Oh! I wore those when I was much younger and I still chewed gum and ate popcorn as I liked, broken brackets be damned”
The Seriously Clueless: “But you are already slim, why did you “Tie/Lock” your teeth?”
The Outrightly Bewildered: (with their eyes) “Hian! Confirmed suicide mission in this Lagos Singles’ Jungle of Fifty females to One eligible male.”
This used to be my blackberry display picture on my dental appointment days. It was my non-verbal declaration that I was a persevering pilgrim on my journey towards a nice smile, and oh no! their yabs and jabs couldn’t make me lose focus of my dream of a Close Up toothpaste advert-worthy smile.
I was going to dazzle them with my tidy teeth, just wait and see! I was even prepared to lend them my molars to eat their own words. Oh yes!
…and 2.75 years later, my dentition was better-aligned. I still remember my orthodontists with lots of fondness, I had two over the course of my treatment. In my mind’s eye, I see them both doing a Mexican wave whenever I brighten the world one smile at a time.
Is it justifiable to invalidate another’s quest for happiness or the paths that they choose to tread on their pursuit for it, especially if they are not causing harm to others whilst on that journey?
Well, a deeper appreciation for the pursuit of happiness has made me less judgemental and more “live and let live” even when people choose to use typically criticized approaches in their quest for physical beauty.
I can only imagine the delight that an A-cup must feel at the sight of her newly purchased C-cup cleavage, that wonderfully naughty line between those two soft mounds of flesh. Is that sort of happiness not understandable?
Nonetheless, I’ve come to realise that sometimes the desire for perfect perfection can be endless, like an insatiable thirst. I call it the “More!… More!!… More!!!” syndrome. Happiness would arrive upon recognising the point of Enough-ness, but then again, the finish line of contentment is tiresomely relative.
Anyway, I sewed a new dress. The pattern was drafted by making a few modifications to my joined basic bodice and skirt blocks. I transferred the bust dart from the shoulder to the waist and then used the slash and spread method to achieve fullness right down to the hemline.
The cinched waist was achieved by containing the excess fullness at the waist with eighteen tucks which were spaced out as evenly as possible. Two of the tucks are simply extensions of the bust and waist darts.
A simpler way of drafting this would be to modify the bodice pattern into an A-line shape, by extending the side seam hemline point by the desired inches and connecting the new hemline point to the underarm point, thus creating a new side seam from the bodice to the skirt. Then sew tucks to cinch in the waist, but I’m certain that the flare won’t ripple as nicely as the slash and spread method.
The fabric is synthetic silk in a glorious shade- Azure blue, I’m quite partial to this fabric because it always comes in striking jewel tones. The more dazzling the colour, the better!
I favour solid colours over prints when detailing is involved, the tucks on this dress would have been “lost in translation” so to speak, and less obvious if a visually-noisy print had been used. The tucks are 6 inches long, 3 inches above the waist line and 3 inches below.
The lining bodice was cut using the unmodified basic bodice pattern and is thus much smaller than the pre-tucked shell bodice.
I was so glad to find grosgrain ribbon on Tom Jones Street in Idumota market and bought a yard in a sky blue shade. I hand sewed this with a discrete blind-stitch over the waist seam of the lining to conceal the seam and also add some prettiness.
The zip was attached at the side to prevent interference with the tuck placed in the Centre Back (CB) line. It was nice to find one in the exact colour of the fabric.
Both lining and shell hems were finished with a narrow double-fold and machine sewn. I edge-stitched the hem on the shell fabric.
The dress was cut on the bias grain and it is fully lined. The shell has no waist line seam, but the lining does. The bodice portion of the lining was cut from the shell fabric and the skirt portion from a lightweight cotton. The fullness in the lining skirt was contained at the waist with six large knife pleats.
It will be so hard to feel blue when tucked into such a pretty dress, don’t you think? (I keep slaying at this intended pun hustle). 😀