Two ‘bad’ dresses…..

First one….

This one actually fits me quite well, although I’d like it better if it was a couple of inches longer.  But it’s a bit too smudgy and drab for the wedding. And putting in my first zipper in a decade didn’t go so smoothly. 😦

This one is in the pot as I write…. it’s my ‘oh my god, what did I do?!’ dress.

It started out as a ‘play project’, putting a couple of patterns together…… using some sanded silk charmeuse fabric. After it was sewn, I steeped it in a pot of sencha tea/salt water. As I laid out the leaves I thought ‘what about splashing some rust water on the fabric?’ Thinking that the rusty color would look nice against the carmel of the silk.  ARGHHH….. as soon as the first big splash hit the fabric it turned black!!!  Who knows what the final dress will look like (or will it become a nightgown?)….. I will post photos when it’s done.

Yes…. I sometimes think that my blog is good to read for “what NOT to do” tips. 🙂

I haven’t given up hope that a miracle will happen and one of the next two I have in my brain ‘drawing room’ might work.

Or perhaps it’s time to think about buying a dress for Emily’s wedding!?

I almost bought a dress last week…… but I am really trying to not buy new clothes, since most of what is readily available and within my meager budget, is not sustainable.

Moral dilemma versus the stress of not having something wonderful to wear to my daughter’s wedding…… a battle best viewed from the privacy of my inner skull.

Ahhh, one last photo. This is for Lizet. My first attempt at fermented elderberry dye…… a bit light, a bit on the grey side. But it was fun. I missed out on most of the plethora of elderberries…… they were too high for me to get to, and I didn’t think that climbing a latter with a broken arm was a very good idea 🙂 But I will try again next summer!!


12 thoughts on “Two ‘bad’ dresses…..

  1. Dearest Julie….I have been waiting to see “the dress.” It is anything but drab. It is beautiful and the pattern/design is very flattering and lovely. I have two cents (even though you didn’t ask) for you. If it were mine, and I wasn’t yet happy with it, I would consider it not finished yet. There is a lovely yolk in the natural dye design pattern and I would buy some beads and embellish that area. Give it special bling and make it stand out. Do you see the area I am talking about? I might even bead around the hem area. Then, I would find a beautiful fabric lightweight sweater at the thrift store and upcycle it into a shrug (google is full of shrug tutorials.) Your dress has a beautiful cranberry tint in it and perhaps that color in a shrug would give the outfit the lightness you are looking for. Either that or a cream color that matches the light cream in your dress. Then I would put some bead work on the shrug also. Julie, you thought the scarf you sent me was too dark. I think it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is the forest in a scarf, very magical. Others will see your dress and fall in love with it, your creations are magnificent. Think about embellishing it, you might really love it. Sending you lots of I love my dress thoughts and energy. xox, Sheri PS………how’s your arm doing?

  2. I consider it a ‘work in progress’…… just like me!
    It’s been dyed…… then an lame attempt at wrapping it around an iron pole trying to get a rust pattern….. then eco printed twice more. I don’t know why it’s being so obstinate! Maybe it’s the polished cotton I used? Maybe the design of the dress hindered me in wrapping a tight bundle (the first time…. my arm hindered me the last two times).
    I’ve thought about dyeing some solid colored fabric and doing some applique designs on the hem and neckline.
    A friend suggested embroidering it.
    The beads are a nice suggestion. Or mother of pearl buttons?
    But for now I’m leaving it be.
    I saw Lea yesterday! Their upcoming train trip to California and Oregon sounds exciting!! In case she forgets, I asked her to give you my love and a hug!
    The arm is slowly getting better, thanks for asking! 🙂
    xxoo Julie

  3. Julie, I think this is beautiful. The embroidery suggestion sounds a really good idea to me to just add some subtle touches of brighter colour. Whatever you decide, it is a lovely dress and you should be proud of your creation.

    • Thank you Gill.
      I was proud of my sewing! Well, with the exception of the zipper being not quite right.
      It just didn’t turn out like I was seeing it in my head…. 🙂 But then when does it ever? I do like the dress! Just not for the wedding.

  4. I love the idea of embellishing the dress as well, who knows what it will become. Great to hear that your arm is getting better. It seems to be happening to me all the time, when I absolutely want to make something for a certain event for myself, it doesn’t work. I think it is the stress of perse wanting it to be like what I have in my head. Maybe just let it be and make a dress for whatever use and it might turn out the right one for the wedding.
    I love it that you tried the fermentation dyeing. So has the bottom one only been in the acid bath and the top one in acid and alkaline? You can try with other plants as well, it doesn’t only work with elderberries.

    • Hi Lizet!
      You’re right, it’s just the stress of wanting it to be ‘perfect’ for the wedding.
      I’m not in the ‘go with the flow’ mentality that helps to see all of the magic and wonder of the project.
      Lace at the bottom could work! OR perhaps an underskirt with a lacy bottom?
      Only the bottom fabric was dyed with the elderberries….. the top piece is in it’s natural state, to show contrast. The bottom is from the acid bath.

  5. Julie, I love your dress and all of the wonderful suggestions. Sometimes expectations are the “pits” When I am sewing something REALLY important like a zippper, I first of all hand sew it in place with larger than normal stitches and different coloured thread ( so it is easy to remove). Then when I like the look of it I will machine sew it in and remove the temporary larger stitches. It is more work though! I am sure if you can leave it for a while the right materials will come to mind and you will find you have a very unique and peronalized dress which will bring rave reviews. Happy sewing, glad to hear you are on the mend:)

    • Thanks Sheila!
      I actually thought about hand sewing the zipper in! But that’s as far as it got, the thought stage. And then I couldn’t find the zipper foot for the machine 😦
      But I found one for an older machine that fit…… whew!
      I am thinking about trying this pattern again….. with raw silk, and dyeing the fabric first, before I cut it out. We’ll see. And I’ll hand stitch the zipper in this time!
      So many ideas in my head…. and not much time left to get it done. I told Emily that I was going to wear old torn blue jeans and a tee-shirt…… she wasn’t fond of that idea at all!!
      Do you have Alabama Chanin’s (sp?) book? I know that you were making some of her designs….. I’m thinking about buying it.

  6. Thank you for the thoughts of love and hugs you are sending with Lea 🙂 I am so happy your arm is mending, Julie. I highly recommend Alabama Chanin’s book. I have two of her books and they are treasures to me. They have a copy of a few of her books at the Cottonwood Public Library. Your dress is and will be beautiful for the wedding. Sending love and hugs right back to you.

    • Between your and Sheila’s high praise… I guess I’ll have to obtain the Alabama Chanin books!
      Plus, India just made a dress from a pattern in one of the books (that she then eco printed in San Francisco)….. and I really liked the lines of it. It looked like a pattern that I’ve been searching for, for a few years now (one that I made 30+ years ago!).

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