Katrina was a determined woman of trade as her Mother had been. Katrina had a flair for fine creation and precise execution. Naturally it was only fair that the family dress making business had been entrusted to her after her Mother’s eyesight failed her caused by many a long day of working by candle light, late into the night.

Katrina had been seated at her work station for hours, carefully sketching out the desired patterns with a soft pencil onto the back of the customers chosen fabric. She took up a pair of sharp scissors and began to cut out the shapes carefully. Of late, there was a great desire for the latest tea gown or day dresses with solid bodices, each one made to meet the customers needs.

She had made quite a name for herself in the small village of “Little Bredy” situated near the beautiful Dorset coast in Southern England. Word of mouth often meant that people would travel miles to purchase her exciting designs. Katrina jumped as her reverie was broken. The shop bell tinkled gently as a prosperous customer entered the shop. It was Millie Peach, a mother of 3 hyperactive young boys, who never seemed to stand still for one moment. Millie gazed at the colourful calico fabrics stacked neatly in price order upon the shelf. Katrina smiled at her.

“Hello Mrs Peach, what a fine day it is outside. Is there anything in particular that you were looking for?”

Millie nodded. “Yes in fact. I was looking for some suitable material to make some new shorts for Richard my youngest. His other pair is starting to look very worn.”

Katrina smiled. “Ah I know just the thing. I can highly recommend the woolen cloth, as winter will soon be upon us”

She measured the boy, jotting down the detail and the order details on a small piece of tablet paper.

“There, that’s all written down. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Millie shook her head. “No that will be all. When could they be ready by?” Katrina gazed at her list. She had 3 orders in line to complete by Friday.

“Well I have 3 previous orders. But the shorts shouldn’t take any longer that a couple of days as things stand.”

Millie nodded. “That’s lovely. Thank you and good day” and with that they exited the shop, satisfied with their order.

The rest of the day was slow, quiet business for Katrina however, she used her time very efficiently and set too sweeping the floor around her work area. She began tacking the simple sky blue calico dress for Miss Lee the intelligent school mistress. Miss Lenora Lee was a tall woman with lean limbs and a sharp chiseled nose. Many villagers would describe her as handsome rather than pretty, with her neatly pinned hair and cleft chin. She did not mean any harm, but sometimes she said her words a little too abruptly which some found intimidating. Katrina secretly liked her, she had been a long-term customer of hers and they had many an academic debate over the years. Katrina felt she acted in this way to gain control. What many people did not know was Miss Lee  had had her heart cruelly broken after her fiancée ran off with her sister on their wedding day. She had never fully recovered from the awful shock.

Katrina hand stitched the buttons down the front of the dress one by one and added the collar and cuff. It was a delightful dress. She stood back and admired her handiwork on the dress stand. Miss Lee would look simply splendid, she thought to herself proudly. The skirt flowed smoothly and the dress would enhance her tiny waist.

Some school children pressed their little noses up against the glass of the shop to see if they could spy any of Katrina’s new creations. She smiled at them and waved. They waved back and ran on up the cobbled street eagerly to get home. Katrina turned the wooden sign around so that it said ‘closed’. Taking the slim silver key from her deep dress pocket, she locked the shop door and closed the heavy blinds. Her eyes ached from all the fine stitching. Normally she would have worked later into the evening, but she just didn’t have the energy tonight. She planned to rise an hour earlier than usual, there was so much to do in so little time.

To be continued….

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