I strongly believe in using and maintaining what you have, and I repair my clothing when it is damaged. This is me redoing the buttons on a manufactured dress using a stronger technique in a thread color that I felt better suits the dress (original thread was navy). In the same evening, I also repaired the shoulder of another dress and re-stitched the waistband of a skirt where the original stitching had come out some time over the years. Much of my clothing is secondhand, so sometimes things arrive in my closet with a bit of wear and tear that I need to repair before wearing, and also things can get worn while I, myself wear them.
My old set of tote bags was made out of secondhand fabrics, so they were already partially worn-out before I even made them. They have been showing extra wear and I’ve found myself repairing them more and more frequently, so I’m making sure there’s a new set of tote bags ready to replace them whenever the old ones finally give up. These are also made of a hand-me-down fabric, and are part of my 2020 Fabric Use-Up Project.
This is the lovely toile design.
There was another section which was very discolored, so I cut it into strips to make the straps.
The amount of fabric I had available was enough for 4 tote bags. I made the handles longer this time so I might carry them on my shoulder.
The finished tote bags are so pretty! They have been added to the rotating stack of tote bags (washed immediately after use).
Finally, I’ve completed my linen wrap dress! The embroidery is along the neck-edge, the back seam, and the side seams all the way down. It fastens with a tie inside and another tie outside, both made of the tiniest self scraps pieced together. It is comfortable and airy, the perfect house dress for 2020 late spring into summer. Linen is a fantastic warm-season fabric, as it is wicking and highly breathable, so it can handle a humid summer or a warm spring day.
I have chosen the viking style of embroidery as seam ornamentation because linen was one of their traditional fibers. I find the viking style of embroidery very beautiful, particularly the scrolling flowers of the Mammen find and the ornate Birka cap. Both of these styles, while gorgeous, might be biting off a bit more than I can chew when embroidering an entire dress for the first time. Herringbone stitch variations were very popular in the age of the vikings.
I have added an additional layer of herringbone stitch to the seams I wish to ornament. The bust darts, for example, will not be decorated, nor will the small amount of piecing on the hem have any more attention drawn to it. The side and waist seams, however, are now beautifully embroidered with a herringbone stitch variation.
I also hope to embroider the wrap neckline, arms, and possibly the opening edge of the skirt if I have enough embroidery thread. Time will tell.
I drew this one 5 years ago! I don’t have the dress any more, but it was very comfortable, airy, and looked pretty with a belt.
Sage Linen Dress In-Progress
First layer of embroidery for the waist seam
Linen is an ancient fiber- one that has bee n used by Europeans for thousands of years. It’s also one of my favorite fibers to wear because of its beautiful drape and how it always feels cool on your skin.
I’ve decided to embroider this lovely sage linen wrap dress in the viking style, ornamenting the seams with a variation of the herringbone stitch using a brighter blue thread.(It’s almost a flax flower blue.)
First layer of embroidery (flaxflower blue) at waist next to the second layer color choice (sky blue)
Embroidering a whole garment is new to me. I’ve only ever really done embroidery on squares and small pieces of fabric. This is going to be an exciting and fun project where I improve my skills!
I liked the wrap dress pattern that I drafted so much that I have decided to make a second one! This is another fabric stash use-up, as I’m using one yard of very wide (50-60″) sage green linen that I already own. Its weave is too loose to repurpose for things for the community. There is not enough of the fabric for this dress to have sleeves. You can just see the part of the bottom hem that I had to piece together. Hopefully, it’ll be disguised in the hemming stage. You can also see that I’m going to change the angle of the shoulders slightly, as the pattern I drafted myself continues to be a learning process.
Linen is a wonderful, ancient fiber and while it can sometimes be challenging to work with, I love the breatheability and the feel of it on my skin. I have hopes that this will be a rewarding project!
Ties attached, neckline/wrap part finished in bias tape made from the tablecloth scraps, I needed a way to get the inner tie to the outside so I could make a nice bow. I used a welt seam to channel the tie through to the outside. It required some bias tape, and I had a little bit of the bias tape from the neck edge. Now, there’s only about half a yard remaining of that bias tape, so it’ll probably be a finishing piece on some little project or another some day.
My mistake was forgetting to mirror everything while working with the dress on the dress form, so now the dress opens to the right rather than the left as women’s clothing is supposed to, but it’s not really a big deal. I’ll be wearing this around the house for now, anyways, so nobody will know enough to notice.
I drafted the sleeve pattern in the style of a tulip sleeve because I think it repeated the idea of the wrap front nicely for the sleeves.
Cut two per sleeve. Make sure to mark the top part that meets the top of shoulder seam! The sleeves were also edged in self bias tape.
All of the tiny little scraps from this project -there must be about a square foot and a half of them all added together- are saved in a labelled bag just in case I ever need to repair this dress, since the fabric has already been well-loved before I made the dress.
With the sleeves attached and all the edges finished, the dress is done! This was a fun learning experience and I think I’ll enjoy this as a warmer weather house-dress for now. I love how the floral with green looks, especially on the back!
Previous posts on this dress: First Second
For more about the process, see my portfolio page.
I used the selvedge and hem of the existing tablecloth to my advantage for this dress. No need to hem it when the edges are already finished!
In the above images, the main pieces of the dress are put together but the details still need to be done. The arms, the neckline, and the ties all remain incomplete. Still, you can get an idea of how it will look!
Finishing the neckline edge
I’m so excited for this wrap dress.
I have a couple pieces of fabric that I’d like to make into spring dresses now that the weather is pleasant and I have the time to make something. The first is a hand-me-down tablecloth in a beautiful faded kelly green with some kind of blossom design on it. The fabric is rather thick and the pattern is large, so I need to keep this in mind with my design. An ideal dress for this tablecloth is one that does not require too many tucks or seams so that I can enjoy the lovely huge blossoms.
Here was my first attempt at making a bodice. I went with a more simple version with a single dart from the bust to the arm, but I am still proud of how this version looks. It just didn’t quite work with the fabric I have available. I’m saving it just in case I have a use for it in the future.
Here is the skirt of the wrap: a simple A-line. If I had to go back and redo it, I would add more width to the hip, however, I just didn’t have the fabric.
This work-in-progress shows the bodice design that I went with. Most of the fabric in the bodice is untouched to show off the beauty of the material I’m working with. The fabric is, of course, turned inside-out. I’ll show off the tablecloth-turned-dress soon!
This project is a part of my Fabric Stash Use-Up 2020 Project.