With a stream of threads hanging from her clothes, the woman with red hair walked out of her front door and disappeared in the anonymity of a rainy day. If someone had noticed her, they would have seen the bags under her eyes, the look of both disappointment and frustration, someone might have even stopped her or laughed at her as she was still wearing her silk carolyn pyjamas, which didn’t really look like sleep wear bar the print of unicorns on them. But one of the advantages or disadvantages of the big city is that nobody notices you and so she carried on walking uninterrupted, towards the park and from there over the bridge, further and further away from home. She was carrying only her credit card and one pointy object in the pocket of her Minoru jacket.
‘It was the husband, who found the child playing on the floor with the dissected body,’ said fashion detective Ariadne Overlock to her colleague sewing inspector Sophie Bias. ‘He claims that last time, he saw the dress in one piece on the dress form. Apparently his wife was getting it ready to go to some party, the Moneta party he said, at the weekend,’ she continued.
‘Where is the wife now? Why has she done this to the poor dress?’ Bias asked.
‘She’s disappeared. When the husband woke up, she wasn’t in her usual spot in front of the sewing machine and nowhere else in the house. He claims to have called her a few times, but there was no answer.’
‘Hmm, what has happened here?’ Bias said looking closely at the dress, she hadn’t even heard her colleague’s reply. ‘It seems, she started unpicking the dress but then gave up and simply cut the overlocked seams. The waist and the hemline look as if they had been tortured for hours. And the threads, they’ve been splattered all over the kitchen.’
‘Yes this is what I thought as well. If only the child could talk, he must have seen everything. The husband mentioned that he sits next to his mum playing quietly when she sews,’ Overlock added.
‘And the murder weapon, it’s nowhere to be found. Could she have taken it with her? Let’s seal off the place, send the husband and the child to the hotel and I will call the team to come for a more detailed inspection,’ said Bias and her mind had already moved to other matters like the coffee she still hadn’t drunk.
It didn’t take long for the investigation team to arrive at the crime scene and get on with their tasks.
‘The murder weapon was definitely sharp scissors,’ said the coroner, I would place all my bets on Fiskars and I’m pretty sure they are still in the house. The seam ripper was only what started the torturing.’
A photographer took a picture of the stretched body and the ripped hem, whereas the rest of the team, were combing the house for the murder weapon.
‘I found it, I found it,’ shouted a man from the bedroom upstairs and he was soon seen descending the stairs, holding a pair of Fiskars scissors.
It was at that very moment, the front door opened again and the red headed woman entered her house. She didn’t immediately notice the yellow tape in the corridor, nor the man who had just come down the stairs. She did, however, notice all the people in the kitchen going through her sewing stuff. Moneta was still on the kitchen floor.
‘What the he…’ she managed to utter before ten people turned round to look at her. The coroner reached for his phone and before anyone had the chance to move, had Bias at the other end of the line.
‘Hold her there, I’m on my way’ she said and hang up the phone. A little while later, she and Overlock were interrogating the woman with the red hair.
‘Why did you do that?’ Bias asked and pointed at the body.
‘She wasn’t good enough,’ replied the woman, ‘and in any case, I’m planning to fix her.’
‘I think, she’s beyond fixing,’ Overlock added. ‘Tell us what happened.’
‘A day ago, this poor soul, was a lovely dress hanging on my mannequin,’ the woman started without any protest. In her head she hadn’t committed a crime after all. ‘I was so proud of the dress, it looked so beautiful, until I tried it on. What mostly bothered me was the fact that some of the gathers were not sitting properly and they created weird pleats in the back that I really hated. Even if I oversaw the pleats, it was too short and I just didn’t like it. So I did it, I grabbed the seam ripper, and started unpicking, and because I had never been patient enough to unpick the overlocker seams, I took the scissors and simply cut them off. This of course resulted in the waist of the skirt becoming slightly bigger and the bodice slightly shorter, but only slightly so it was ok. I took some more of my clear elastic, gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice. Going back to it this morning to fix the short hem, I noticed that the seams were visible, and not hidden between the bodice and the skirt. I wanted to pull my hair, if I could see it, it meant other people, could too. This time I didn’t even attempt to use the seam ripper, instead I went straight for the scissors and just chopped the dress. I showed no mercy, I was so mad at it. ‘
‘Where did you go after that?’ Bias asked.
‘I wasn’t planning to leave it tortured and dissected for others to find but when I reached for some more clear elastic to right all the wrongs, I realised in horror that I had run out, so I went to the local haberdashery to buy some more.’
‘And did you?’
‘No, I didn’t because as it usually happens, whenever I really need something they never have it.’
‘So you will not be able to fix the dress, which means you have to come to the station with us.’
‘No, no wait I will fix it, I will use the regular type of elastic, it won’t be perfect but it will be good enough. Please, I’ve been planning all week for this party.’
Bias looked at her in disbelief for a few minutes. ‘Ok,’ she finally said, ‘but under one condition, I will stay here and watch you.’
‘No problem, but I will need to be given my scissors back.’ The man who had found them, handed them back to her.
First she cut two pieces of fabric as wide as the width of the front and back bodice and as long as the length of the bodice she had chopped off. When she attached them together it looked something like this and she was quite pleased with it.
Having cut the size xs to start with and having chopped the waist twice, she had ended up with a much larger waist, that even if she wanted she wouldn’t have been able to gather to the original size, so she recut the skirt, sewed the pieces together and after gathering it with the white elastic, she attached it to the bodice. It wasn’t perfect but looked much better than the previous version. Then she hemmed it and finally attached the collar, in a contrasting fabric, as she had originally dreamt, but had failed to execute.
When the husband and the child returned from the hotel, the police had sent them. The dress was no longer a corpse, it had miraculously amended itself.
‘Mummy will go to her party,’ he said to his son.
So she did and boy could that dress swish.