Mysterious phone calls, Stalinist conspiracies, and Burda 7390

If you follow my Instagram, you may already know my penchant for writing letters to the editor. A topic of particular interest to me is climate change. Apparently it is of interest to others, as whenever I have a letter printed regarding climate change, I receive a phone call from a concerned stranger who is determined to correct my beliefs regarding the Great Global Warming Conspiracy.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a knee-length tent dress in an orange tropical floral print. A black and white cat sits next to her.
I know this is super bright but it’s all we have right now. Also: THOSE PEACHES

The first time this happened, I was equal parts shocked and terrified. The thought of a complete stranger* looking up my number and serving me a lecture merely because I happened to express an opinion was discomfiting. However, I found his complete devotion to his delusion intriguing, and heard him out**, trying to commit as much of the conversation to memory as I could for future story-telling purposes. When he offered to send me an email with proof, I had no problem giving out my junk Hotmail address. At the very least, I would get a laugh out of it.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a knee-length tent dress in an orange tropical floral print. A black and white cat sits next to her.
Why hello, photobombing cat.

Oh, you guys. THAT EMAIL. That glorious, glorious email, which contained a PowerPoint display*** of a whole 42 pages of conspiracy theory, wrapped in mystery, wrapped in lots of pictures of Stalin. It was mostly Communist-themed, as you’d expect – climate change being a Communist conspiracy.

It was created by someone who was barely competent with the software, and made up for his lack of skill with enthusiasm. Every special effect was utilised. Words zoomed around the screen, piling up on top of each other, with lots of exclamation marks and arrows for emphasis. Various Communist leaders had cartoon-like comments coming out of their mouths, lending their credibility to my stranger’s arguments. It was a treat.

But what does this have to do with sewing, you may be asking. My story serves as a tenuous segue to my latest make: Burda 7390. Our summers are getting hotter, uncomfortably so. The kind of oppressive heat and humidity usually experienced in Queensland has made its way to southern Victoria, and we locals (myself included) are not built to cope. Hit the shops during or after a heatwave, and all you hear is talk about the heat.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a knee-length tent dress in an orange tropical floral print. A black and white cat sits next to her.
I realised all the side-on photos were just silhouettes of my bum created by the wind blowing the dress against my back, so I rushed out and took another pic. You’re welcome.

Enter Burda 7390. A “young” pattern (I don’t know what that means, but do I count as young at 27?), it is a basic, two-piece flared dress. Patterns don’t get much simpler than this.

Steve Buscemi from 30 Rock is dressed in a band t shirt, backwards cap, holding a skateboard over his shoulder. Caption reads, how do you do, fellow kids?
No. No you do not count as young.

My main adjustment was adding 10cm length and replacing the all-in-one facing with self bias facing to keep things as lightweight as possible. The fabric I used is a rayon from Spotlight, bought from the $2/m clearance table (good god, I hope they have more of those sales). I can’t tell you much more than this, as it is only labelled “rayon” on the bolt – I think it might be challis, but without another fabric to compare it to, I can’t be sure.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a knee-length tent dress in an orange tropical floral print. A black and white cat sits next to her.
When the other cat rocks up

So that’s my dress! And whatever happened to my generous, conspiracy-theorist benefactor? Last I heard, he was still spreading the good word. Perhaps a year ago, he rang to enquire after a “Slobham” (that’s S-L-O-B-H-A-M) who wrote a letter to The Age. I cheerily informed him that there was no such person living at this address, and gained an endearing nickname among my friends.

Til next time! Your friend, Slobham.

A woman stands in a garden. She wears a knee-length tent dress in an orange tropical floral print. A black and white cat sits next to her.


The deets:
Pattern: Burda 7390
Pattern details: View AB: light, swinging, flared, sleeveless dresses, view B features a hem ruffle. Sizes 36-46 paper pattern.
Fabric: 2.5m x 135cm printed Rayon frangapani, coral, $7.50 from Spotlight on sale
Other materials: Strips of Tessuti lightweight interfacing, to stabilise neck and armholes. 6mm Vliesofix tape, for hem.
Mods: Size 42 bust and shoulders, 44 hip.
– 1/2″ forward head adjustment.
– Lengthened 10cm
– Raised front neckline and brought shoulders in very slightly (maybe a few mms)


*A middle-aged man, at that.

**This was before Facebook really took off, so conspiracy theorists were mostly hidden in their own corners of the internet. Of course now guys like this are dime a dozen on Facebook, but back then, it was a novelty.

***Obvs I virus scanned the shit out of it before opening.


Author: Siobhan S

30 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

14 thoughts on “Mysterious phone calls, Stalinist conspiracies, and Burda 7390”

  1. Oh I am loving the discount table at Spotlight. My local Spotlight had a lot of winter fabrics last time I was there. I love the red print the dress looks nice cool and loose for you…
    PS – Mrs Black&White – Photo 1 – Look at me, aren’t I gorgeous. Yer yer the human is trying to get in on my photo shot. I am fabulous don’t you think? Photo 2 – Gotta let the human have her 5 minutes. Photo 3 – NOOOO not you too!!! Photo 4 – Oh its exhausting being a supermodel… a nap needed NOW!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our Spotlight used to have a fantastic clearance table which they would regularly discount to $2/m. Now the sew manager has changed and the clearance table is very neat and organised but also quite pricey. I’m dismayed!

      Hehe I think you can read the mind of my cats!


  2. I am a fan of your kitties. I’m also a fan of fabric & craft store clearance tables. That dress is cute – although I think it would just make me look preggers unless I cinched it in under my boobies. Speaking of which, here is something that will give you a giggle. I had a bronchoscopy on Tuesday, (which came back all clear – must update the FB), and I had a (male) nurse who I’d had previously for the same procedure. He asked me how far along I was. I thought he meant how far post transplant was I, as I have been asked that in pretty much the same terms, and said ‘two and a bit months, the operation was on November 30’. He assumed I was pregnant and was asking how far along in my pregnancy I was. Nope, not pregnant, just fatter that I used to be (which is good) but also retaining a little more fluid than I would prefer (hence the preggers assumption). He’s lucky I was too brain-dead at the time to give him a good whack, but I was not brain-dead enough to eventually puzzle it out.


  3. What a beautiful bright print. It’s lovely to see you looking so cheery at least, I was worried after your recent post about your relapse. I love the Spotlight specials table, although ours is a bit pricey too. And soooo messy. I’ve banned myself from buying anything though until I get this yr 12 formal dress I’m working on sewn.


    1. Don’t be fooled, Fiona – I tend to look bright and cheery even when I’m at my very worst! It’s half my problem really. A year 12 formal dress sounds like quite the challenge! Good luck!


  4. “Can I call you Slobby?”She said while running away and dodging the large heavy items being thrown at her.

    Have you read the recent post by Bad Mom Good Mom? I would give you a link but the puter is limping along and doesn’t do things like that right now. I think you’d enjoy it, and she sews too!


    1. Thank you for the recommendation, her latest post was spot on. Would you believe your comment got caught in my spam filter? Maybe the story of Slobby is too unreal to be believed 😂😂😂


  5. SlobHam! I nearly peed the bed laughing. I read your blog so often my husband googled the correct pronunciation of your name to make sure I was saying it right. If we, in our 40s, exhausted and brain dead in bed after each day with 4 kids, millions of miles away in frigid Canada, can figure out how to say your name, what was your gentleman callers excuse???? AND I LOVE cats.


    1. Haha, perhaps he rings so many people each day to inform them of the conspiracy he doesn’t have time to bother with correct pronunciation! To be honest, I’m pretty sure I mispronounce my own name due to my ocker Aussie twang. It’s hard to emulate an Irish lilt when you’re country Aus born and bred!

      (TinTin and Patrick the cats say hello!)


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