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katina | Posted in General Discussion on

Here’s an interesting article – hope it’s useful. Many of us have been doing similar things for a long time, for all sorts of reasons; we’re a talented and hardworking group




  1. Ckbklady | | #1

    Great article, Katina! Thanks! I especially liked the polite tote bags! :)

    About a week ago I took a 2 yard piece of upholstery fabric (that a nearby upholsterer was going to THROW AWAY - ack!!) and slipcovered my scruffy office chair. It feels good to save things from the landfill. Cheap thrills are the best!

    :) Mary

    1. sewslow67 | | #2

      Hey Mary!  How did that chair turn out?  And didn't you have another, coordinating project to go with it?  I'm having a "senior moment" right now, so don't remember the details.

      1. Ckbklady | | #3

        Hiya SS67!

        The chair turned out wonderfully - thanks! I made a jaunty kick pleat and added hot pink side tabs. The cover looks like a minidress - very flirty!

        Hubby and I share an office to work at home. He thinks my slipcover is fun, but has already warned me about making a "tuxedo jacket" cover for his chair!

        There wasn't a coordinating project, no, but now that I have the slipcover done, I may be able to find time to make a nice summer wrap dress. There's been discussion here at Gatherings about Vogue 8379 (and good reviews on Patternreview.com), so with a pattern sale and fabric from my stash, I may get on that next. Wrap dresses are great - no costly 'add-ins' like velcro, buttons, zips, etc. Just fabric, thread, and - voila! A loose dress that wraps as snugly as desired - and can be loosened to make room for more cookies! :)

        And you? Are you getting some spring sunshine today? How about sewing time - any today? I wish you happy sewing moments!

        :) Mary


        1. sewslow67 | | #8

          >>> ...has already warned me about making a "tuxedo jacket" cover for his chair! <<<

          Your Chair Project: That's very funny.  He sounds like he'd be fun to work with, as long as you can concentrate on your own business/projects.!

          Wrap Dresses: I'm with you; I also like wrap dresses ...except when it's windy.  Because if that, I think I'll make one that looks like a wrap dress, and is (sort of) but I'm going to actually make it a "mock" wrap.  I've always been fond of DVB designs.

          1. Ckbklady | | #9

            Oh, yeah, he's a blast to work with! We spend 24 hours a day together and aren't sick of each other yet. :)

            Ah, the DVB dresses. I agree! They're lovely! A real, original DVF dress is on display in a local consignment shop here- they want $500 for it. (Ack! A $4 Vogue pattern will have to be it for me.) I've examined the dress "up close and personal" - they let me climb up on the mannequin platform in the window to do so. After checking out the dress I had the best time striking poses when people walked past, giggle.

            So, anyway, the dress had very small hooks and eyes from the bust wrap line all the way down the wrap front, spaced about 4" apart. That and the wrap ties would help against the odd breeze, but would I doubt their strength against anything stronger. I also don't know if the hooks and eyes are original or added by a wearer. They're attached with thread that exactly matches the seam thread, so maybe they're original? I don't know. All I know is that I don't have $500, giggle!

            :) Mary


          2. Josefly | | #10

            The hooks and eyes would help solve the greatest problem - for me, anyway - with those wrap dresses: the gaposis which occurs in the dress while seated. I love the style and think it's flattering on lots of people.

          3. Ckbklady | | #13

            Hiya! You know, I don't think that there is a single person who dodges "gaposis" with wrap dresses. I bet there are a lot more ladies sporting double-sided tape than we would hazard to guess, LOL!

            :) Mary

          4. Gloriasews | | #14

            I made a wrap dress a few years ago & had the same problem with the skirt blowing open.  As an emergency measure, I put a small safety pin in the bottom to hold it closed.  That only ballooned the skirt in a strong wind.  Small snap fasteners also didn't do to the job.  I finally sewed the front closed from the waist down.  I had trimmed the front (& around the neck) with contrasting binding (when completed, the binding is 1" wide) to match the print & I've had many compliments on it.  The sewing down the front was on top of the sewing line for the binding & doesn't show at all &, better yet, did the job perfectly - no gaposis.  It still looks like a wrap dress, which is the best part.  I also put a snap fastener at the top of the bodice so it would stay put, & that one worked.


          5. Ckbklady | | #15

            Yeah - bingo! Only Marilyn Monroe could take "the puffy dress" in style, LOL!

            I like your ideas. I have the Vogue pattern that's been getting good reviews (8379? sounds right..) and may apply your techniques to it. I'll call it "A Gloria Original!"

            :) Mary

          6. Gloriasews | | #16

            Go ahead & use my idea - but you don't have to go so far to make it a 'Gloria Original' :) :)!  It was just a last resort for me, as I really like that dress & was so happy it still looks like a wrap - easy solution, too.  Good luck with yours.


          7. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #17

            How about a snappy matching custom "underdress" type slip? When the wind does blow, all they catch a glimpse of is lovely satin or something that suits, and is lovely to wear? I made a couple slip type dresses that could be worn alone or as slips under dresses, and wore them to death. Similar to the camisoles that are so popular. Cathy

          8. Ckbklady | | #18

            Hey, TK, great idea!! A double layer would be great for modesty AND style! And here, near Seattle, it's generally cool enough in the summer that it would never feel too warm to do so.

            :) Mary

          9. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #19

            These little slips keep me from having to launder my good dresses every time I wear them, and a quick change of the slip keeps me feeling fresh! It gets very hot and humid here, and I hate to have to wash my dresses unless they are really soiled. And a couple of different ones matching the colours in a print is like having a couple of different dresses! Cathy

          10. MaryinColorado | | #20

            You always have such great suggestions!  This is another great one, thank You!!!  Mary

          11. Cityoflostsouls | | #33

            I have two wrap dresses altho I didn't make them and I always notice them on women or in fashion magazines or on TV and I don't like what they do to a womans figure.  From the waist and around (side view) it seems to me they are not flattering to the figure.  I am thin and do not usually have a fitting problem.  My dresses fit I just don't find them flattering.  Does anyone else find this fault in wrap dresses?

          12. starzoe | | #34

            I have tried RTW wrap dresses and they never, ever looked good on me. I often wonder why they are recommended for larger women. They have two great drawbacks as a style: gaposis at the bust and the wrap which never stays closed. I've never seen a dress that has a full wrap right around to the left hip although that would be a solution for the second problem.

          13. Cityoflostsouls | | #36

            Don't feel bad about not looking great in a wrap dress.  I'm a size 6 and they don';t look good on me.  I think it's just not a flattering style to most women.  I'm very flat in the derrierer-I knew I couldn't spell that.  The waist line is not that great in them on anyone.  I usually have to wear some kind of peekaboo under it and for the low v cut they're doing now, too.  In church the wrap skirt just doesn't stay wrapped when you're in a sitting position!  But I dearly love the red and black  block print dress I managed to get for practically nothing-a real bargain.  I'm afraid to try a block print to make. a lot are knit or bias with lots of seams.  I'm not that good at sewing.


          14. Ckbklady | | #35

            Ooooh, I was slender once....back then, wrap dresses always looked good. Now that I'm more, ahem, solid through the midsection I find that if I tie them as is at my natural waist (or at least where I recall it being) that I look thicker than I really am. The secret, I think, is to sew the ties really wide and angle them downwards to tie off the side of one hip - the slanted line looks slimming. It's the same logic, I think, as not tucking in shirts into a straight-across-the-waist skirt or pants. Visually, you look cut very decisively in half.

            Of course, a slanted, loose-ish tie requires backup - hooks and eyes or my standby, double-sided tape, giggle, to secure to gaps.

            :) Mary

          15. sewslow67 | | #23

            Hi ya, Mary;  you got me to thinking, and I remember that I had a DVB original when I worked in Chicago so many years ago.  I don't recall what I paid for it, but I do remember that I wore it a lot ...so much so that my boss complained that he got tired of seeing me in "the same dam* dress so much.  chuckle ... 

            Too bad I didn't keep it.  I could have made some nice $$$ by selling it on e-Bay!


          16. Ckbklady | | #25

            Ohhh, an original? Yes, that would have netted a goodly sum today!

            :) Mary

          17. sewslow67 | | #26

            Yes ...but back in those days, she was just a new designer, and I doubt that I paid that much for it.  That was in the mid 1970's, and she didn't really get a name for herself until a few years later, as I recall. 

            I think that I bought that dress before it became "the thing" ...so the price was pretty much normal.  I only bought it because I liked the classic style, and it fit nicely.  I never buy a "label".  If I buy clothes at all, it's because of a classic style (I wear my clothes for years, and never buy "throw away"), fabric content, color, fit ...etc.  I'm a very practical gal; you know the type - Scottish blood running through my veins.  chuckle chuckle.

          18. Ckbklady | | #28

            Wow -just like me. I have no interest in labels either and tightwad Irish blood. Isn't buying clothing of lasting value a great feeling?

            :) Mary

    2. katina | | #4

      Hello Mary

      Glad you enjoyed the article. Any chance of a chair picture?


      1. Ckbklady | | #5

        That's so sweet that you're interested!

        Oh, I'm an old-fashioned girl - it's truly a miracle that I ever figured out the Internet and found my way here. I don't have a camera, but if I ever do, I'll learn how to attach a pic. Promise!

        :) Mary


        1. katina | | #6

          Hi Mary

          In my experience, people are so helpful. If you know somebody with a camera, perhaps they could take the pic for you...? Yes, I'm very interested and I'm sure others are too


          1. Ckbklady | | #7

            Oh, thanks! Well, I'll ask around - maybe I can barter a sewing project for lessons in the use of digital cameras! :)

            :) Mary

  2. Josefly | | #11

    Thanks so much for posting that site. Some lovely things - I linked to the site mentioned for the main subject of the article, and saw her beautiful appliqued bags made from blankets. The embellishment designs are simple, wonderful. I was puzzled by what "badges" were - but I guess it referred to the brooches she made from fulled wool and buttons.

    1. katina | | #12

      Yes, the pillows are very elegant. Glad you liked it


  3. MaryinColorado | | #21

    Wow!  Thanks for this great link, it's very inspiring!  Mary

    1. katina | | #22

      I'm really pleased you like it.


  4. ecovalley | | #24

    Yes, recycling! Goodwill is my favorite fabric store. A large garment can yield enough fabric to experiment with at a no-risk price.

    I do not mean to seem callous towards those who truly are suffering in this economic downturn.....but in some ways the recession seems like a good thing to me. Maybe more women will try sewing, for one thing, if the "Sex and the City" values of brand names and exorbinant prices now seem what they were all along....shallow, wasteful and ultimately boring. Thank god that is all over! Creativity is so much more fulfilling, meaningful and educational than just shopping.

    It feels so gratifying to meld my politics/philosophy with sewing by working with recycled fabrics. I think thrift encourages resourcefulness....that old Yankee ingenuity of which our nation has always been so proud.

    Happy Earth Day!

    1. joyfulneedles | | #27

      ( Maybe more women will try sewing)

      Funny, you should mention that.  I was talking to my dealer just a few minutes ago with a question.  I asked if they were still staying very busy, since they were swamped before Christmas when I was there last.  Yes, they are still very busy and have cleaning and repairs scheduled into July.  I am happy their business is doing so well in this economy.  And they are working on the plans for  an embroidery club.

      Edited 4/23/2009 4:24 pm ET by joyfulneedles

      1. ecovalley | | #29

        I sure hope more women are sewing. But I wonder if a possible resurgance in sewing applies more to quilting than garment making? I'm wondering because local fabric stores seem to be taking space from garment fabrics and giving it over to quilt fabrics. I don't make quilts myself, but it seems quilts might carry particular character and sentiment if created out of the fabrics of recycled family garments. So a daughter might show a quilt to her daughter someday and say, "Oh look! That fabric was from my Christmas dress when I was about 8 years old." Recycled fabrics can have such unique and interesting character, most particularly when they have a personal history.

        1. cafms | | #30

          I'm not a quilter either but your letter reminded me of a couple quilts I have that my mother would look at and could tell me if that piece was my grandmother's dress or her dress or even one of mine when I was little.  She would give her scraps to her mother to cut up and then an aunt would quilt them.  My sister in Colorado is a quilter and has made a charm quilt out of some pieces that my mother cut when she was a girl (she is 93 now).  Some were fabrics that my grandmother had sewed with before 1900.  They are really special. 

          1. ecovalley | | #31

            What a treasure, cafms! It must be fascinating to see and feel those old fabrics. I wish someone in my family had made such a quilt! My grandmother once made a quilt, but with new fabrics from a store. It is a mix of brown cotton prints and rather stiff and actually neither my sister or I like it all that much. But if she had made a "charm quilt".....if that is what you call it.....we'd STILL be fighting over it! I have some pillows made from pieces of very old "crazy quilts" that appear to have been made of pre-1900s garment fabrics. But I bought these pieces at antique shops.....some other family's relics....

          2. cafms | | #37

            A charm quilt never has the same fabric used twice.  I think she had 100 different rectangles about 2x3 inches.  Mother knew which pieces had been grandmothers  before 1900 so they put them on the scanner and scanned the pieces in color.  Sister then wrote mother's stories about the pieces alongside the pictures so she has a record.  Somewhere in mother's house there is supposed to be a box with pieces for her sister's quilt.  Neither of them got them sewed together.  They were pretty young so probably just had fun with the cutting.  I have a quilt Grandmother made for an uncle in the 30's and we found some of the same fabrics in it as in the charm pieces.

            I remember my grandmother became blind the last years of her life but still cut blocks using a cardboard template just by feeling it. 








          3. ecovalley | | #38

            Wow. That is a beautiful story, cafms. It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate the history behind things. Not so much genealogical lines, but the stories of the real, flesh-and-blood people who comprised them. There is so much tender humanity in what you have written here. Thank you!

        2. ljb2115 | | #32

          I have a Dresden Plate quilt my mother cut out, hand sewed and appliqued during the early part of WW11.  It has used fabric, fabric scraps from some of my dresses (favorite one is a Disney print), some of Grandma's apron fabric, etc, etc.  A total usage of all the fabrics around the house.  Mom finished appliqueing the blocks on muslin squares, put the whole thing together, then quit.  She didn't want to use her eyes, as she felt she couldn't afford to replace her glasses.  Later when I moved to the town where I still live, I found a Mennonite lady to quilt for me and she charged me $29.00 for the whole thing.  That was about thirty-five years ago.  The beauty of this story was one Saturday when my parents were visiting, we happened on to the lady and her husband in a restaurant and Mom was able to met the lovely person who quilted the top for me.  As an aside:  Mom cut out and sewed twenty-seven more "plates" during the war, as I had a brother and brother-in-law in service.  I still have everything including her well-worn cardboard template.  I plan shortly to have the plates appliqued and hand quilted to match the first quilt.  I like to quilt - meaning I love purchasing fabric, cutting it out and sewing it together, but am more than willing to pay someone to applique,  machine, or hand-quilt a top.

          I can still see my mother sitting in her little chair each evening cutting and sewing the plates together while my father listened to the radio.  This was the "Waltons" during World War 11.  Very scary and tense times, but my brother and brother-in-law both returned home.  I was very young, about three or four when all this was happening.

          1. ecovalley | | #39

            I just read your post, ljb2115, and it too is a beautiful story! I hope you write it down, so it can accompany the quilt as it is handed down to future generations.

          2. ljb2115 | | #40

            Thank you.  I copied the text when I wrote it Friday evening and will store it with the quilt. 


          3. ecovalley | | #41

            I'm so glad, ljb2115. It will mean a lot to someone someday!PS Do posts ever get misdirected to the wrong topic? Cause there are a lot of posts in the "Recycling" topic about wrap dresses. I noticed there is another category about "wrap dress patterns." Were they supposed to be directed there???

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #42

            he he he he We often get off topic in posts... or carryover from one post to another Ecovalley! It is just one conversation thread that gets tied to another sometimes. Or sometimes two or three different conversations carrying on at one time under one heading....not very efficient but normal for this chatty bunch. You will find that scanning through all the posts on a regular basis will glean you all sorts of interesting and helpful information, and not always on the topic heading, * giggle * :) Cathy

          5. ljb2115 | | #43

            Thank you to everyone who gave me positive feedback about my mother's quilt top.  I wanted to keep it on our bed, but I kept wondering why one corner was looking dingy.  The answer was:  one day I happened back in our bedroom and #1 son (only son), was sitting on the quilt talking to his girlfriend on the phone.  Long story short.....I made him get off the phone, threw the quilt in the wash, line dried it and the quilt has been stored since.  To be frank, I really do not care to sleep under a quilt as I feel a quilt is too heavy.  I have fibromyalgia and find a heavy blanket or quilt bothers me.  I decided quite some time ago that I would limit my quilting to wall-hangings, table runners and small quilts.  Easier to manage and in most cases more useful. Thank you - this is a great forum, and despite my caustic remarks about the "wretched" striped shirt in the last issue, I think Threads is the best sewing publication - at least for us who really SEW!

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