The Monday Poem: ‘The Phantoms for Which Clothes Are Designed’ by Chase Twichell

The Monday Poem is brought to you by Jim Gormley of the English Department. Enjoy!

The Phantoms for Which Clothes Are Designed

Chase Twichell

Sewing patterns are designed for imaginary
people, based on average measurements
taken in the 1930s by the WPA

and adjusted over the decades by the Industry.

I sew a Misses 14, designed for a woman
5’5” to 5’6”, 36/28/38,

which is to say no one,

so I alter the pattern to fit a phantom of me
instead of a phantom of her.

She doesn’t need any more dresses.

About This Poem

“I do a lot of sewing (clothes). Construction is easy compared to fitting, which is basically math coupled with anticipating how a fabric will behave in 3-D. I’ve probably made a hundred dresses that are perfect on the hanger but don’t fit well enough to wear into the world.”
—Chase Twichell
Chase Twichell is the author of Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and  Selected Poems(Copper Canyon Press, 2010). She teaches in Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers and lives in upstate New York.