Friday, September 10, 2010

From thrift store donation to new duds

In which Truffula splurges on a new dress...


... that is, a new dress from old fabric.  Only, I have no idea how old the fabric is because I got it at the Salvation Army store.  (I do know that it has spent about two years languishing in my fabric stash.)  Of course, it wasn't sold as "fabric" - it was sold as a perfectly respectable bedsheet.

I enjoy handwork - knitting, sewing, making-it-up-as-I-go-along crafts, etc.  But, it's one of those things that I push aside for when I have more time.  Cranking out a pair of socks is easy - yarn and needles are nice, portable items I can tuck into my bag and take along.  Toting a sewing machine along for use on my bus commute is just a little less practical.  So, the sewing doesn't happen, until...

I decide that I've had enough of this pushing aside and seize the moment right then and there!

That's how I found myself camped out on the floor recently, clothing strewn around, scissors in hand, and pins in my mouth (I know, it's not a good habit, but it does keep the pins ready for use at a moment's notice!).

Here's a snapshot of the process:

- I have two (commercially-made) dresses in a style similar to what I had in mind.  Each has its pro's and con's: one is a bit short, but the neck and sleevelines fit well.  The other has a great length, only you have to gently ease your head through the neck opening if you don't want to get stuck.  I carefully positioned the two dresses on top of each other to get a better understanding of their outlines.

- After my outline study, I smoothed the dress with the better overall fit out onto a piece of paper.  With a pencil, I started tracing and sketching a pattern, making adjustments here and there.

- I cut out my pattern, making seam allowances, and jotting some notes to myself.

- It was time to "measure twice, cut once."  I lay the pattern onto the sheet fabric, and began pinning.  That worked out just fine, but would it be better to take the material on the bias?  I decided that, yes, it would be.  Off came the pattern!  I folded the fabric on the diagonal, replaced the pattern, and repinned it.  In fact, not only did the material "give" more effectively in that orientation, but the print worked more successfully also.  A win-win!

- Because the material appeared a bit translucent, I took the precaution of cutting a second "front" to double up the fabric through the front bodice section.

- It was time to sew!  I pinned my various pieces together, and began stitching them up in whatever order seemed right at the time.  Yes, I did have to rip a few seams back out.

- A dressmaker's dummy would have been helpful, but you work with what you've got, and if it's just yourself, then the mid-construction try-ons can get interesting!

Voila!  Here's the finished product.  I was prepared to have to possibly send my finished product to the textile recycling bin.  Happily, it turned out to be quite wearable!  Cost: $1.50, if I remember correctly, plus an evening of happy-as-a-clam time bonding with my cutting table carpet and my sewing machine.

3 comments:

The 4 Bushel Farmgal said...

Great job! Setting it on the bias was a clever idea. The dress came out lovely, and isn't it great that no one else has one just like it? :)

I've been having a blast re-working thrift store clothes into new outfits. Giving cast-offs a new life and keeping them out of the landfill is a kick. Saving money at the same time makes it even better!

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Love it! Makes me want to learn to sew.

Liz said...

That is gorgeous!

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