So the first step on the 'sewing the new dress journey' was finding a pattern. I haven't gone pattern shopping since I was a child with my mother and I was amazed to find the process hasn't really changed. You leaf through these large books of pictures, get the number of a pattern and go to the drawer and see if they have it in stock. It was almost comforting the way it reminded me of excursions with my mum. However it was very much self serve, in my memory there were always at least a half dozen ladies working the pattern counter who could tell you anything and everything about each pattern. Seems like those saleswomen have vanished.
After an overwhelming hour I had found two dress patterns that were billed to be simple and were made to take light summer-weight fabrics. Their regular prices were 16.95 and 15.95, that had certainly changed since I was young. Since they were on sale for .99 each I bought both and left feeling like I had done a lot. I found picking out a pattern exhausting. Still it was done and they both met with my wife's approval as easy, reasonable patterns for a beginner.
A couple of days later I went to a huge warehouse of discounted fabric and started the search. My friend who is also a non-sewing child of a sewer accompanied me for support. This was even more overwhelming than finding a pattern. The huge place was hushed, the fabric absorbing all sound. We yanked out intriguing bolts and fondled many fabrics. Then we stopped by the silks and I fell in love. Naturally with one of the most expensive fabrics on the shelf. An iridescent silk dupioni, [red and olive] with lovely drape and embroidered with red fleur de lis. My brain shut down, I loved the material and I was not going to pay hundreds of dollars for it. There was no way I could sew a dress made out of that even if I could afford it. I decided to retreat for the evening before my head exploded. I was glad to get out of there.
Part of me was ready to not sew anything, ever.