Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Size 22 Dress Refashion and PAISLEY

Tigerboy and I went back to my home town for Easter. Going back there is something that I avoid at all costs - I couldn't wait to leave and didn't ever plan to return, so going back is only done under extreme duress. In this case, that duress was the stress tigerboy was putting me through over his angst regarding where to go to "get out of the city" because he seems to think it's mandatory if we've got a long weekend. In the end I was so over it I suggested going home to stay with Mum for a few days - I really didn't think he'd go for it - that seed sprouted into a Californian redwood within about 3 seconds and there was no way I could stop that speeding train short of fatal injury which although I did consider it for a bit (his of course), even I thought would be over reacting and possibly messy - I hate housework!

It pains me to admit it but we actually had a good time, not the least of which was due to me going through Mum's stash (which is approaching pitiful thanks to my pilfering campaign) and I even scored from her wardrobe.

As I was reclining on Mum's bed lamenting the fact that she hadn't had a 'thing' for silk over the years, I spied some dark paisley fabric peeking out from between her clothes. This was weird because Mum and I have very different tastes, she favours pastels (primarily mint and baby blue) whereas I like the darker colours, she likes pretty little florals, I like bold prints, solids and my holy grail is paisley. As far as I'm concerned, paisley is like garlic, there can never be too much and honestly? I'd wear paisley in any colour, just because it's paisley.

I've had this love of paisley since the 80's (probably the 70's but I was too young to realise it then) and it's something that Mum has never understood. Some time in late high school I was going through her stash (it's been a long, sustained campaign) and found two pieces of corduroy, paisley fabric, a green and an orange - I was in love. Mum was horrified that anything that ugly had ever made it into her stash and after I'd convinced her that I wasn't joking and really did like it, she said I could use it. Back then, it was really hard to get Mum to let me use any of her fabric because she was still in the (30 year) phase where she thought that at some point she would start sewing like there was no tomorrow, so her eventual capitulation really demonstrated her loathing of those pieces of fabric.

I made some slim fitting capri pants from the green paisley and I remember that they were my favourite pants for years. Of course Mum was not only stunned that I'd made something wearable from it but also slightly horrified that I wore it out in public - a lot! Whenever she saw those pants she'd try to tell me that they "had seen their day" and should be tossed - I wasn't buying it. In the end I think they got ripped and she refused to mend them for me. I wonder what happened to the orange piece? I don't remember ever making anything from it.

Back to the point of the story (yes, there is one), as soon as I spied that paisley in Mum's wardrobe, I was off the bed like a rocket to check it out.
"Why is this in here?"
"Oh, that, I don't know why I bought it."
"You bought it? It's got paisley!"
"I think I thought I'd wear it in winter but it doesn't fit right and it's really just not me."
"No, it's not - it's me!"
There was nothing to do at this point except to throw it on over what I was wearing.
"Do you think you can do something with it? You can have it if you want."
And so, I ended up with some more paisley but as you can see, it was a bit on the big side and a lot on the "why don't you check out my cleavage and bra" side (I've actually got it pinned closed in this pic).

There are a few rows of shirring just under the bodice. It's actually bigger than you can see here but I needed one hand for the camera.

I thought a quick zip up the sides with the overlocker and another quick zip to secure the front neckline would do the job but it turned out to be slightly more challenging.

I did at least realise that the shirring should be secured before I used the overlocker so that when the overlocker cut the elastic thread it didn't all shrink back and not get caught in the seam.

After some confusion, I realised that those squares on the skirt weren't centred at the back of the dress - bummer. There was also something strange going on under the arms that meant lots of finessing rather than just zipping up with the overlocker before it looked decent.You can see that the hem doesn't follow the border of the squares either - I at least fixed that in the final version

Anyway, here's the finished product which although is fine enough for day-to-day, seems to have a major static cling problem - you can see it around the hem where it's sticking to my legs. I wore it as a jumper with a black turtleneck one day but I wasn't sure about that look. Oddly, although it seems as though this was an empire line, the shirred waist is now somewhere between that and above my natural waist which feels a bit odd. I also thought it would be shorter the whole time I was making it - must have been an optical illusion when it was wider.

I took about 10 photos and had a choice between head cut off or feet cut off - something needs to be done about my photography!


  1. Wow that's fantastic!!

  2. thanks - wish I could do something about the static cling though ..... off to google a remedy.

  3. Gorgeous remake! The simplest solution for static cling is to wash with a bit more fabric conditioner than you might usually use - and DO NOT tumble dry.

    1. Thanks. I've never used fabric conditioner but I've heard a few stories from washing machine men on how it's not good for your wm - something about a particular chemical in it? Who knows - sounds a bit far fetched to me. There's also the fact that I'm a cheap skate and lazy, so adding another step to an already boring but necessary household chore isn't enticing. If nothing else works though, I'll give it a go. It's certainly more convenient than carrying a wire coat hanger around with me.

  4. Love what you did with the dress. What amazing print... Feel like I should call you Heidi. Great read as usual.

  5. Thanks BeaJay. Somehow I think Heidi and I may have been cut from different cloth personality wise.

    Hey - how's your ankle? If it's not fixed can I suggest a solution: have some beefcakey guys carry you around in one of those sedan chairs - it's not something I've tried but after watching Spartacus, I think that may be the way to go for any future ankle injuries. Give it a go and get back to me will you? I'm all for furthering the field of medical science.

  6. Schöner Blog und wunderbare Kleider!
    Nice Blog and pretty dresses!