Alice thought she had the competition sewn up. But she underestimated her biggest rival…
The white silk flowed through Alice’s fingers as she held it in awe. The pattern lay in front of her, ready to be breathed into life once Alice worked her creative magic.
In just three days’ time, The London Dressmakers’ College would announce its winner, to enjoy a free photo shoot and interview with a leading fashion magazine, and Alice was determined it would be her. There was just one little snag, and it wasn’t in the garment. Rachel. Sweet little Rachel with her speedy scissor-work and fancy fingers. If there was competition brewing, it was between Alice and Rachel.
After a year of producing set pieces, the final five were tasked with producing a wedding dress. They knew the criteria required, but they also had to show passion, originality and flair from the heart.
“Lunchtime,” called the tutor at 3pm. They had refused to go at 12.30, determined to sew on. “Get some fresh air.”
Alice looked reluctantly at her unfinished work. Would anyone use sabotage? She saw Rachel glancing her way all morning, sharp scissors glinting, ready to steal her ideas.
“Tough,” thought Alice. “She won’t have my piece de resistance.” She smiled as she thought of the delicate, antique necklace that her mother had worn on her wedding day, locked in a safe at home, that she planned to embroider into the neckline. Her dress would be classic, with an antique charm, that no bride, or judge, could resist. She knew Rachel’s style. Cheap, she sniffed. Rachel’s creation would be fit for a Love Island contestant only.
On the second day of the Final Three Days’, they worked relentlessly, going through water and coffee like it was going out of fashion. After a long day, they packed up, their snow-white creations locked away for Day Three - Finishing Touches.
As Alice walked home, Rachel was shadowing her. She’s always on my case, thought Alice impatiently. I need a break. Go away, go away, go away. As she turned the corner, she caught eyes with Rachel, who looked at her hopefully, but Alice increased her pace.
You are no friend of mine in this competition, Alice thought. She knew she must keep her resolve to win.
That night, she slept soundly, knowing her flair for originality would succeed. The beauty of the necklace would steal the show, and win the hearts of the judges.
Fortunately, she remembered the safe combination that her father had made many years ago.
The next morning, she awoke early to open the safe to remove the precious piece of jewellery. She hummed to herself, feeling confident, and reached into the… EMPTY SAFE!
What? No! Her heart froze, fingers trembling. Her parents, after calling out Good Luck up the stairs, had left for work early. Her sister was in the shower. What was going on? She thought frantically for an explanation. Mum must have wanted it polished. That must be it. Every six months she took it to be cleaned at the local jewellers, Sparkles & Son. She would phone mum at work to confirm, then make a dash to Sparkles to retrieve the necklace. In fact, it would work well for her as it would be newly polished!
At College, she could see Rachel at her workstation, humming happily as her fast fingers stitched, sewed, caressing soft silk and twisting divine tulle.
Alice felt sick. Pearls of sweat decorated her forehead. Mum wasn’t answering the phone. Time was tight. She would have to make the best of it and illustrate her idea, hoping that would gain points. She would retrieve the jewellery when the winning piece was photographed for the magazines.
“Right. Lay down your equipment,” called their tutor.
After the girls displayed their pieces, to gasps of awe and admiration, the judges moved on to the final two.
“My final idea was to use my mother’s exquisite necklace, to adorn the dress, adding a dash of antiquity and romance,” said Rachel softly.
Alice felt clammy. Cold. Hot. Her throat dried up. This couldn’t be happening… the necklace… but...
“After seeing five highly commendable pieces, we declare the winning entry to be Rachel Hughes.”
As they left the building, Alice’s shoulders sagging, she grabbed Rachel and asked breathlessly, “How…? the necklace…”
Rachel glared at her, the weak smile gone. “Some twin sister you are, Alice Hughes” she snapped.
“That necklace belongs to OUR mother. If you hadn’t disowned me on that course, I would never have stolen your idea. Remember, twins read each-other’s minds. Your idea is my idea. Your code is my code.”
She paused before stating firmly, “But my win is my win”
Alice gasped in shock and shame.
“Out of my way, sis”, Rachel purred. “I’ll be late for my magazine shoot. Don’t worry. I’ll buy you a copy.”