Friday, June 24, 2016

"What you up to with Miss Ellen's portieres?"

Scarlett: You're gonna make me a new dress.  
Mammy: Not with Miss Ellen's portieres. Not while I got breath in my body.
Scarlett [grabbing the curtains and tears them down]: Great balls of fire! They're my portieres now. I'm going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars and I've got to go looking like a queen. 
Mammy: Who's goin' to Atlanta wit' you? 
Scarlett: I'm going alone. 
Mammy: That's what you think. I'se goin' to Atlanta with you. With you and that new dress. 
Scarlett: Mammy, darling....
Mammy: No use to try to sweet talk me, Miss Scarlett. I'se known you since I put the first pair of diapers on you. I said I'm goin' to Atlanta with you and goin' I is.

Last year I travelled to Pennsylvania with my Mom to help empty out and sell a family condo.  In the basement, there was a bedspread, four curtain panels, and a valence made from this fabric that once belonged to my Grandmother.  I am not sure if she made the set herself, or if her sister did.  The fabric was too heavy and bulky to fit in a suitcase, but I expressed interest in the textile and it was eventually mailed to California.

My initial idea was to make a tea length circle skirt, but this was before I had actually looked at the yardage that was available.  The valence was quite discolored and very narrow.  The four curtains were in pretty good condition, although three of them had a few stains and/or imperfections that needed to be avoided.  And the bedspread was very worn at the corners, although the ruffle was in usable condition.  That meant that a circle skirt was out of the question.  

I started pulling out patterns because I wanted to do something with this fabric that would keep it from heading back into storage for another decade or more.  About the same time, while rifling through my closet, I came across this dress.  I really love the design, and had wanted to make the full skirted version ever since the pattern was released.

The four skirt panels fit perfectly on the four curtain panels while also managing to avoid all the flawed bits of fabric!  That left me with a bodice and collar to fit on the bedspread, and I felt like that just might work.

Then I had to deconstruct everything.  To be honest, I was not looking forward to this step.  I really try to avoid a seam ripper whenever possible!  

Turns out, the fabric is in great shape, but the thread did not fare so well over the years.  A tiny snip at one end of a seamline and the thing tore right apart.  I would have been rather upset if I had intended to use the bedroom set for its original purpose, but in this instance, it was a fantastic time saver!

And now I have a new dress, made entirely from stashed items.  It may not be as fancy as Scarlett's amazing creation made from some green velvet drapes, but I am very pleased with my results.

Now that is my idea of repurposing!!

Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Butterick 5747
Headband:  Made by me
Petticoat:  Made by me, Vogue 4203
Shoes:  Remix “Babydoll
Gloves:  Vintage
Necklace:  Made by me
Purse:  Harvey’s Seatbelt Bags

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A rose by any other name . . .

It has been a long journey . . . but my first self-drafted dress is complete, and I have the pictures to prove it!

I am pretty darn proud of this one!  It feels completely mine (with a bit of inspiration from Mr. Dior, of course).

I was even able to design and print the fabric with the help of My Fabric Designs.

finally put my dress form to good use and draped the bodice and skirt, made myself a corselette from cotton bobbinet, and put together the largest petticoat I have ever made!  I also managed to make a little hat to top off the look at the very last minute.  

That petticoat is so fluffy, in fact, that I just managed to fit in my car!

And while the dress might not be very practical in a lot of situations, I love it just the same.

I had quite a few lovely comments the day I wore this dress.

In fact, one gentleman called out "1956" as he was walking by.  Incredibly enough, this is the very year that the Rose de France dress was designed.  I guess I got it right!

Thankfully, the weather played nice, and outerwear was not needed.  But come to think of it, a coat with an oversized shawl collar, three-quarter sleeves, and a whole lot of fabric with this print used as a lining might have to happen at some point!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my dress!

Dress & Sash:  Made by me, self drafted
Petticoat:  Made by me
Corselette:  Made by me, Simplicity 1183
Hat:  Made by me
Necklace:  Grandmother’s, borrowed from Mom
Shoes:  Blue by Betsy Johnson "Stela"

[Disclosure:  My Fabric Designs provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase a portion of this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Little Preview

I am finally getting around to going through all of the pictures of my finished dress!  

But it is going to take another day or so before I am done.

Until then, here is a preview of how everything turned out.  I have to say, I am very pleased!

[Disclosure:  My Fabric Designs provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase a portion of this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]