Monday, August 1, 2011

More refashioning

Not that The Sewing Lawyer has actually done any.  These projects fit into the category of cerebral sewing, triggered by a recent bout of closet purging during which some items were deemed "too old/ill-fitting-to-wear" but whose fabric was deemed "far-too-good-to-throw-out".

Exhibit A is a dress made ca. 1988-90 from cotton lawn fabric, originally purchased in the long-gone fabric department of the now-defunct Eaton's store in downtown Ottawa.  Sigh.  They sometimes had really beautiful fabrics, not too expensive for a just-starting-out lawyer.

Witness the fact that I can still do up the back waist zipper (lapped).  There is some yardage here, in the skirt.  Even though it has both CB and CF seams, I bet I could turn it into a simple sleeveless shirt.  

As far as I am concerned, this is perfect fabric.  High quality and smooth, it emerges off the clothesline or from under the iron crisp but quickly relaxes into a soft loveliness.  Strictly speaking it is probably too lightweight for this dress pattern, Vogue 9770 which came out in 1986 and called for wool crepe, double knit, faille, gabardine and damask.

I made both views, although left off the little neckline bow on my version of the slim-skirted view A, which I made from navy wool jersey.

I made View B twice.  The second version, also much-loved but less hard-wearing, I made from silk noile woven in gigantic checks.  This sounds garish but you'll have to take my word for the fact that it wasn't.  The colours were soft warm brown and creamy beige, and a bluish grey.

On to the next prospect.

Unlike Exhibit A, which got worn a lot, Exhibit B was ill advised so did not see a lot of action.

This is a top and skirt.  Both pieces were cobbled together without a real pattern about 10 years ago (I should have known better).  I remember thinking that I needed two pieces which would not have many seams to break up this fantastic print.  Again, the fabric is 100% cotton.  It has more body than the lawn illustrated above; it keeps its crispness when worn.

The fabric's source was the Fabric Flea Market.  It was a gem donated anonymously by someone who had traveled.  In the selvedge, is the hand-lettered information "Design and Hand-Printed in Peru by Silvania S.A."  I remember there were also genuine batiks from Indonesia and silks from Thailand that year (illustrating our slogan, "You never know what you will find!").  Naturally, being one of the organizers and doing all the hard work of measuring and pricing donated fabric, I get to see the good stuff before almost everyone else.  This is the source of much of The Sewing Lawyer's extensive stash.

But I digress.

The biggest problem that this outfit has, apart from its tight waist, is that the shirt fits very badly.  I had decided that even darts would interfere with the print so though the fabric is very stable and the fit around the neck and armscyes snug (even too tight, if I am truthful), it has no shaping.  I remember using the neck and armscye shaping from view C of Vogue 9548.  I carefully ignored the fact that this pattern has quite a lot of seam and dart shaping.  Really, what was I thinking?

The skirt is just two panels of the relatively narrow yardage (selvedges preserved in the side seams) pleated into a wide waistband.

The good thing about the lack of seams in this outfit is that once taken apart, it should yield some very usable yardage.

I am down to the short strokes on my grey summer suit.  Really.  It will be unveiled soon.


  1. Oh my I probably still own a copy of Vogue 9770 in the flat folds since I'm sure I never made it! And last summer I purchased a copy of Vogue 9548 after looking high and low for it because I'd made several of those dresses in the 90s and loved them but somehow lost the pattern.

    It is amazing how similar our pattern collections are!

  2. Beautiful fabrics. I can see why you want to reuse them. I remember those patterns as well. Did you ever make 9548? As I recall, those patterns sometimes had a lot less shaping than you'd think. I had that dress pattern, or something very similar, too.

  3. The fabrics are lovely. I'm sure that you will figure out how to reuse them.

  4. There is plenty of fabric in that dress isn't there? If you are short of the batik perhaps it could be teamed with plain black.

  5. I'm looking forward to seeing these fabrics in new garments. They're beautiful pieces.

  6. Lovely fabric and I can see why you wouldn't want to toss it out before trying a refashion project. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

  7. I think you will be so much happier with the 9770 dress fabric made into a top. One of the reasons is that just looking at your photo, I see a large expanse of print fabric that overshadows a petite lady's head, arms and legs. The proportion of print to human will be much more flattering as a shirt, skirt or even a shorter length dress. Just my opinion. I love your blog!
    lisa in SF Bay Area, California