Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stashbusting Can Be Groovy

Even though I've pretty much stopped buying fabric, my stash keeps growing.  I always say yes when someone is cleaning out a storage space and wants to give me a few yards of this and that. There is always some really good stuff in those bags of discarded fabric.  There is usually also some stuff that is really not my style but that I will probably never get rid of because, well,  it turns out that I am a fabric hoarder. Le sigh.

So this year I am making a concentrated effort to sew more often and to sew from the stash and to use up the fabric that I think is hideous challenging.  I'm also going to try to use up some of the fabrics that I love so much that I am afraid to cut.  I mean, it's only fabric, right? Riiiiiight....

It is sort of like eating your veggies, stash-busting.   It's not that you don't like peas and carrots, or you wouldn't have selected them in the first place.  But when everyone else is nomming cake and licking frosting off of their fingers, the peas and carrots can seem a little unappetizing.  Still, veggies are good for you so you come up with ways to make them more appealing.

What I'm trying to say is that sometimes a fabric that you really thought was icky looks much better when it's made up into something totes adorable.  For example, this is a super stretchy moss green faux suede with an embroidered pattern all thorough it in teal blue and light green. Yikes, right? It's pretty terrible.

I don't remember who I got this from so, if they are reading this, I hope they don't take offence.  I'm sure they loved it when they bought it and their vision for what it could be was obviously clearer than mine. But every time this floated up to the top of the stash pile, I'd think, "WTF am I ever going to use this for?" Recently it ended up on top again and I decided that it was time to figure it out.  

Whatever I made had suit the wackadoo vibe of the fabric but still be something I'd wear. It also had to be pretty small because I only had just over a yard of it.  My choices were limited to...oh, I don't know, lederhosen and a matching vest (tempting!) or a hippie mini dress.  I went with a mini dress from 1970.

I chose this pattern because it's pretty groovy with that way out collar and the lacing in the front. Embroidered faux suede is nothing if not groovy, IMHO. 

There was barely enough fabric to cut out all the pieces so I had to get pretty creative with the layout.  It wouldn't work unless I shortened the minidress quite a bit from the get-go.  After a little measuring and a lot of eyeballing, I decided that I could take about four inches off the skirt length (these patterns are always much longer than the illustration would have you believe)  but I'd have to give up on the possibility of a proper hem.

I was a little worried about construction because the collar seemed like it would be extra fiddly, but this dress went together quickly and without incident.  A zipper was unnecessary because the fabric is so stretchy.  Hooray!   The only thing I don't like is how thick some of the seam joins ended up and that the sleeve facings don't want to lie flat.  The hem problem was an easy fix: serge, fold, iron, and top stitch flat.

And peoples, despite the fact that I did not love this fabric at all when I started, I gotta admit, this dress is supa cute!

 It looks great in the dining room AND the living room.

...and it makes me feel like Fay Dunaway in The Thomas Crown Affair.

Which is a pretty groovy way to feel.


  1. Ooh that came out really cute! Good job coming up with a great use for some questionable fabric. The collar is fabulous, totally makes it too. The amount of length I have to take off vintage pattern pieces sometimes borders on the ridiculous so it always takes much less fabric than I think.

    (And while not on the topic, how awesome is your fireplace?!)

  2. Hey that came up great! I know exactly what you mean about erm collecting fabric, I also have fabrics I don't much like but can't part with, stuff I don't want to cut cos it's so cute - what on earth is that about, it IS just fabric!

    That is a great idea about using fabric you're not keen on in fact it's about time I did that too, even if just to do a try out of a pattern!

  3. Hahahaha!!! I have exactly the opposite problem when I use patterns for my skyscraper of a sister; she is about 6' tall and I'm always having to add length and make sure I have enough material for the adjustments. I just came into a bunch of late 60's - early 70's patterns and I must say that i love them! All the convenience of modern patterns and the look and versatility of earlier silhouettes. Your creations is great and you've inspired me to whittle down my stash!

  4. Ahhh you gals are complaining about your stashes growing. . what is a "stash"? Wish I had that complaint, about stash growing LOL!