Sunday, June 25, 2006


I bought this dress from a charity shop in the week for the princely sum of £1. It's one of those times when I'm going through the angst of should I / shouldn't I cut it up. There is nothing wrong with it. I don't think it has been factory made because it looks as if it was made from quilting fabric to start off with and it just has an embroidered label - no care or washing instructions, although the seams have been serged. I don't mind so much cutting up shirts, but sometimes in these shops you see lovely smocked dresses - I don't buy them because I would NEVER be able to cut one up when all that handwork has gone into it.

When my daughter was small I used to make lots of clothes for her - dungarees, dresses, all sorts. I even hand-smocked some dresses (and you know how I feel about hand-sewing). I made most of my own clothes too, from when I was 18 until about ten years ago - in case you are wondering, I'm 43. Don't really know why I stopped - time, I suppose, I like to be able to finish a garment all in one day and I just couldn't do that anymore. Plus, it was getting harder and harder to get fabric at the right price. I used to get lots of fabric from a place called the Rag Market in Birmingham where they sold fabric from textile manufacturers, sometimes seconds, sometimes surplus, but as the textile industry in the UK continued to outsource their manufacturing to countries where labour is cheaper, the supplies of fabric also dried up. Here in Leicester, there used to be several shops that sold dress fabric, now there are just two left and a couple of stalls on the market.

Most of the clothes I made for my daughter I later gave to my SIL when she had a little girl - and I have to say that gave me a lot of pleasure - because she really appreciated them and used them. Sometimes you don't know if people are being polite when you give them outgrown clothes that are still useful but she was so pleased with them, and at the time (several years ago now) when we were looking at some photos of my niece, in nearly every one she was wearing a dress or item that I'd given her, so I know they were used.

7 comments:

Judy said...

It's cute fabric, I'd say chop it up and use it for something you'll enjoy!!

I can't wait to see it used in a quilt!

dot said...

Neat fabric, which will serve you better cut up and used in whatever you choose. It is hard to cut into an already made article but how useful is this cute dress to you? I will be excited to see what you make.

Lois R. said...

If you know somebody who can wear it, keep it whole. If not, cut it up and enjoy the fabric. I'm sure you can do something fantastic with those colors and patterns.

Finn said...

It really is a great find, and since I don't really know how your pound compare to dollars, I'm going to take your word for it.>*VBS*

I think it would be fun to work with as a fabric, but I might be tempted to let it stay a dress on a hanger til I was sure what it would be used for. That way if something special turns up, you've got the perfect fabric, and if not..it still has dress potential..LOL..not much help am I??? Hugs Finn who also did lots and lots of sewing for the children and for herself..past tense!

anne bebbington said...

Fiona - I'm itching to get out the scissors just looking at it - when DD1 was little I would have falen in love with the dress as it stands and she would have worn it to death - now i say cut it up NOW!

Funny how your way of looking at objects changes - those motifs would look fabulous in a quilt - what a find - d'you think it might be a 'Clothkits' dress? - if you never came across these you bought the kit to make the garment and stitched it together yourself - it certainly looks like their sort of fabric design :o)

Screen Door said...

I used to make Chelsey dresses also. Do you know the TV show,"Little house on the Prairie"? Well, we called them Little house on the Prairie Dresses. Chelsey says I would still make her wear them (at 16)if she would allow it. I think styles are one reason we don't make clothes anymore. $$$ is another reason. And I think with so many working Moms there just isn't enough time.
You bring back good memories though.

Melanie

Esteemarlu said...

What a cute dess.I use to make little girl dresses to sell years ago and they sold like hot cakes.I also say cut it up and use it. I can just picture a little girl wearing that dress. Too cute.