Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a new dress for me...linen thrifting tips for you

~This weekend was a wedding weekend for us, so I decided I needed a new dress. I had bought this sheet a few weeks back and had a vision of it as a wrap style dress for fall. I remembered mid week that Heather Ross had a sweet simple looking Kimono dress in her book Weekend sewing. At first I thought it was a wrap dress but actually it has a slight elastic waist that is hidden under the obi tie. ...I did make quite a few adjustments to get a good comfortable fit including slip stitching the flaps on the front just to stabilize and limit the amount of flashing that might take place. All in all it was fun and a pleasing result although I think I am gonna revamp the pattern maybe turning it into a true wrap.

~I thought I would leave you with some tips on purchasing and re purposing linens.
1. Most thrifts have a certain day when their linens are on sale. be aware and take advantage of these days. Also yard sales are particularly good places to pick up linens.

2. Use flats sheets over fitted, generally they have far less wear and you get more fabric.

3. Let your fingers decide. You want to choose sheets that do not have pills on them or are super scratchy. Check the fabric content and try to get a least 50% cotton.

4. Buy nice solids they are great in a pinch also buys some just to use as muslin. sheets are perfect for testing a pattern. also they are nice to use as a soft interface.

5. if you find a fitted sheet that is a must have, trim it down as follows before you use it. Closely trim out elastic . cut the for corner seams so it will lay flat. This way you get the most from your sheet.

6. Take some risks. The sheet above I bought on a whim. I looked at it and thought" wow that is hideous, wow that is soft , wow I am gonna make a dress out of it".*Remember... It is just a sheet, it couldn't have cost you more than $7, usually less ( for almost 4-6 yds of fabric sometimes)Buy ones that are funky or totally off from what you might usually be inclined to buy from a bolt.

7. Don't forget all the linens, table cloths ( great for skirts, aprons, and napkins and tea towels). Curtains, pillow cases and tea towels and kerchiefs.They can all become just the right piece in a fabric puzzle, and really help you make special one of a kind pieces.

8. Don't sweat the stains or holes, if it is something you really like you can usually get a better price if it is " imperfect" and then you can just work around the imperfections.

~Linens give you a chance to try new things not just new prints but new patterns too. They are a low risk high returns fabric investment in my opinion. The first place I hit at a yard sell or the thrift is the linen pile or stack. My fabric stash would be very lean without all my glorious linens not to mention all the inspiration the bring me.


Lucy in the Clouds said...

Yes! I love your thinking! I just made a skirt from an old curtain - http://teteenlair-headintheclouds.blogspot.com/2010/09/if-i-look-like-im-wearing-pair-of-my.html - and next on my list is a skirt and top from an old bed sheet.

I think your dress looks lovely and the fabric is gorgeous ... for a dress, but for a sheet?! That's one jazzy bed!! xx

Lo Christine said...

This is great!

Candance said...

That's so awesome!! Makes me wish I could sew. Or I guess I can just put Grace to work and run my own personal sweatshop ;0)

Jen Schneider said...

LOVE your dress! And don't forget shower curtain covers (the ones people hang outside the tub). Huge amount of fabric, sometimes beautiful. I've been making shirts: