Every time I start a new colorway series for my purses, I get the immense pleasure of hunting through my stash for a few dozen minutes to compile fabric that goes well together and compliments each other. Usually a stop when I have about a grocery bag full, as I can usually get 6-10 purses out of that much fabric.
This time, however, I believe I ended up with 3 very full grocery bags worth. I just couldn't resist all the beautiful different shades of green. I used the different frog fabrics in the last picture as my inspiration for what fabrics to pull. The first two pictures show all of the fabrics piled high on my drafting table in my workspace. Most of the fabrics are scraps that range between 2x2 inches to an uncut half yard. However, there are a couple of larger pieces in there as well.
So, I purchased this fabric about 2 weeks ago when Fabric Depot was having a 40% off all fabrics sale. Usually when I purchase fabric, I don't have a specific project in mind. However, that is not the case with this particular purchase. After purchasing an amazing fabric at Mill End the week before (which will be the subject of another post), I was inspired to make a halter dress. Now, normally I am not a fan of wearing a halter anything. You see, I am...ample-chested. Halters really work best on smaller women (think A or B cup), because the deep V is not quite as scandalous on them, and the pressure on the back of the neck is less. When purchasing a halter top or dress in a store, there often isn't enough room for bigger than size C breasts, which makes the item sit funny,a nd it's just all sorts of bad. Trust me on this one. But! Halters can look sooooo cute if fitted properly. Custom sewing to the rescue!
Anyways, so I had this fabric, and a pattern that I wanted to try. But I knew that I was going to want to make alterations to the pattern, and I didn't want to try those alterations out on the final (amazing) fabric. Which means that I had to purchase a practice fabric. Now, if I had been smart, I would have just looked through my fabric stash and found something that would look cute if it worked out, but that I would be devastated if the dress turned out to be all wrong. However, at that point my Stash was in such a state of disarray, that I decided to take advantage of a good clearance section instead.
This fabric is a lightweight cotton, 45 inches wide, and I purchased the last of the bolt, which I believe was about 4 and 1/4 yards. It was 50% of of about $10.50, so you do the math. I chose it with this specific project in mind as a fabric that I like enough to wear a dress made out of it if the mock up turns out well, but that I am not too emotionally attached to the fabric if it has to become spare scraps instead.
Lesson of the week: Sometimes purchasing one fabric will necessitate the purchase of another. Fabric begets fabric. Kind of like bunnies.
This fabric....makes me smile. Look at those suns! I mean, just look at them. They are so bright and cheery and smiley and, well, sunny! Maybe if I concentrate really hard I can channel the power of those smiles into convincing the real sun to come out and stay out for more than 30 minutes at a time. I purchased this fabric about 6 months ago at a smaller fabric store that specialized in quilting cottons called Fibers in Motion. I believe I paid $2.50 for a fat quarter (for explanation of what a fat quarter is, go here). This fabric is so cheery and makes me smile so much that I kinda wish I had purchase more now. It's a great spring fabric, and would be great for children (or anyone who likes cute suns). If the weather outside continues to insist on being unpredictable and grey, at least my current fabric makes me feel warmer. If I had more of this, I think I would make pajama pants out of it. It is a very lightweight flannel. Even though I despise wearing flannel, this is soft enough and so happy that I think I could forgive its flannel-ness and wear it with aplomb.
We left our [intrepid/crazy/silly] heroine with over six yards of a fabulous fabric that she had no particular plans for. So what did she do next? What any sane fabriholic would do with amazing fabric and too little time: stash the fabric away in a box so that it can be found at some later date (often multiple times) long after it had been forgotten about. Bingo! Instant squeals of delight at rediscovering an amazing fabric with lots of possibilities.
Fast forward about 2 years to a time with this Fabriholic starts reading more sewing blogs. In particular she starts reading A Dress a Day, a blog where the author posts about different dresses that she finds, makes, wears, or covets. Needing something to do during her brief lunch breaks in the costume shop, Fabriholic starts reading the archives. In doing so she comes across a pattern that gets mentioned a lot that catches her eye: theDuro. The contrasting fabrics used make her smile. One of her friends becomes similarly enamored of the Duro-style dress and purchases the pattern above (Simplicity 4050). Once Fabriholic helps said friend make the dress from the simplicity pattern and see how much fun it is, she decides that she MUST make the dress for herself!
Now Fabriholic has a pattern that she wants to make, and one that she wants to make sooner rather than later. But what fabric to use? She hasn't had time to look thought her fabric Stash, but one day as she is cutting out fabric for some purses, she rediscovers some light teal fabric that she has quite a few yards of. The color of the teal triggers something in her memory, just out of reach...where is it?...right....THERE! Yes, that's it! She hurries to her Stash, rummages around for a bit, and a triumphantly holds up the silky pink umbrella print fabric that she vaguely remembered, brings it over to the teal fabric, and sure enough, the blues are a perfect match. Fabriholic taps her fingers together, smiles cruelly, and thinks to herself, "Now I have a perfect plan..." She allows her head to be thrown back in an evil cackle as the lights fade.
This is the story of the makings of a dress, according to LadyT:
First, one must start with the fabric. While not a hard and fast rule, in my world approximately 90% of my projects start with me buying fabric that makes me squee, putting it in my stash, and maybe about 2-5 years later finding a pattern that sufficiently compliments that fabric. It is best if the fabric is on a very good sale so that you can buy quite a few yards of it, as one may never know what sort of pattern is the mate for the fabric. Also, I like fuller skirts and dresses and coats, all of which require more fabric. Not only do sheath styles tend to emphasize my larger hips in a non-flattering way, but it is often hard to find truly full skirts in stores, as fullness=more fabric=higher costs that lower price margins. My rule of thumb is to try not to buy less than 3 yards if I think the fabric wants to be a skirt or dress, 1/2 yard to a yard if it wants to be a purse (usually the more expensive fabrics), and if it is on sale for less than $5 a yard and I really like it, buy no less than 5 yards so that I have lots of play room.
This fabric was purchased when a Joann's near me was moving across the street (I believe this was Fall 2005). For some reason, this meant that they had to sell ALL the fabric in their store (why they couldn't just move the fabric across the street is beyond me, but hey, whatever). In order to facilitate this, they had a HUGE sale. Everything was AT LEAST 70% off. The only catch was you had to buy whatever was left on the bolt, weather 2 yards or 20. That day I believe I ended up with over 80 yards of fabric for about $350 (including some amazing Bridal stuff that I normally would never be able to afford), which is not too bad. This particular fabric had 6 and a half yards on the bolt. It is 100% polyester silky, which means it has the perfect drape for a flowy dress or skirt. I absolutely love the combination of colors and the fun sunburst/swirlys pattern in the background. However, what really caught my eye about this fabric is the clear sparkles. It is a bit hard to see in the picture, but can you find the slightly darker dots scattered about the fabric that kind of looks like rain? Those are caused by clear circles that are fused to the fabric and catch the light to give the fabric a really fun shine. THAT is the reason I bought this fabric. The umbrellas are fun, as are the colors, but it's the shiny that made this fabric a must have!
I had originally envisioned a drawstring halter dress or cowl neck dress for this fabric. However (as you shall see at a later date) another pattern was to demand to be made first. To be continued...
I'm just your average sewing nut who delights in all kinds of fabric. I collect scraps of all kinds of fabric, no matter how small. Getting a new box of upholstery samples, or seeing a really awesome trim on sale, are some of my lifes great pleasures. I usually work in the live theatre industry constructing costumes and stage manging. I also make some of the scraps that I have collected into purses for sale at www.byladyt.etsy.com and www.byladyt.com