Now that I have “Beauty School Dropout” firmly stuck in my head…
Knowing that I’m going to be moving in less than a year is making me take a good, long look at my possessions. I’m going to have to start being honest with myself about whether I’ll really wear this, use up that piece of fabric, ever read that book, etc. I think it will be good for me, because like so many crafty people, I have hoarder tendencies.
So now that it’s the end of the summer, I’m in the process of eliminating the things that I ended up not wearing, or that just don’t work anymore. And since some of the things I’ve culled so far are handmade things that predated the blog, I’d like to give them their moment before I say goodbye. If these pictures look a little weird, it’s because I was too lazy to scan things on a separate computer and email them to myself/crop/etc, so I’ve resorted to taking pictures of my previous pictures of these me-mades. How meta. As you can see, my hair hasn’t changed much in the last decade.
Item #1: The bamboo dress
This one is a little unusual for me. Despite my teenage wish that my mom had kept more of her things from the 70s, I’ve kept very few of the things that I wore myself. Since I’ve been very blessed to not have had much weight fluctuation since then (except for a cup size or 2….) it’s probably due to a lifetime of limited closet space and still wanting to sew new things. So this dress is pretty much the last thing I have left from high school. And it’s held up surprisingly well, despite the fact that I’ve worn it at least once or twice every summer since then, and I had no thought at all for things like seam finishes when I was 17ish. I’m going to estimate that I made this one around 1998, and thanks to a little scrapbook project I did right around the end of college, I can confidently say that the pattern was Butterick 5046. It’s some kind of linen-looking stuff, but I’m sure it’s not linen because it’s from Joann’s. I tried to wear it this summer, not too long ago. And it just looked uncomfortably short to me–I wonder if it finally shrank some in the wash, since I certainly haven’t gotten taller? But considering that I made it nearly half a lifetime ago, I think it’s had a good run, and I hope it will make some thrifter very happy.
Item #2: The paisley shirt
This was my one foray into vintage fabric. At least, I’m pretty sure it’s vintage. My mom occasionally gets donations of fabric from people cleaning out their stashes, and she passes along what she can’t use for quilts to me. This one was a cotton, but it was a little thin for a quilt, so I turned this one into a shirt. It was from summer 2002, and the pattern was New Look 6598. Not the most flattering top on me, since it was kind of shapeless under the badly-placed empire waist, but I liked the fabric so I’ve worn it on a regular basis for almost every summer anyway. I’d probably keep this one, honestly, except for the fact that the fabric around the elasticised armholes has just gotten too worn out. There’s all these little frayed-edge holes. So I can’t even really give this one away. I may keep it and try to turn it into the lining for a cute little bag or something, because it would really be a shame to just throw it out.
Item #3: The Hawaiian surplice top
So this is me giving my Singin’ in the Rain impression! (Yes, it was raining a bit at the time.) In the couple of years right after finishing college, I rather casually dabbled in the swing-dancing subculture. It was something I’d wanted to learn how to do ever since my early teenage years, thanks to that Gap khakis commercial that was really popular for awhile and the movie Swingkids. And I had a couple of friends who were, and still are to some extent, really into it. So back in 2005, two friends and I took a day trip to Washington, DC for the dual purposes of general sightseeing fun and a swing dance event called the Under The Sea Ball. Since it was supposed to have a beachy/tropical feel to it, and I wanted something that I could also walk around for the day comfortably in (it was hot!), I decided to go for a cotton, somewhat retro-styled top. I already had this Hawaiian print in my stash from…something…I can’t remember how I got this piece, to be honest. I was actually really proud of how this top turned out, because I basically drafted the pattern myself. I based it off of this dress-to-top refashion, because I really liked the fit and the v in the back, and used masking take to more or less get the shape of the pieces. Then I altered the top above the empire waist to be a surplice. I added the white in there afterwards–just a scrap of white knit from an old t-shirt that I tacked in to be a fake camisole. I still like the style and the kind of crazy Hawaiian print, actually, so the main reason I’m getting rid of this is that the last couple of times I’ve tried to wear it this summer, it feels uncomfortably small around the armholes. I don’t know if they were cut too high to begin with, or if I gained weight in some really weird place, or if I’ve just gotten much pickier about the fit of my me-mades in the last year or so and so those armholes just don’t feel good. I think I still have my drafted pattern, though, so I would definitely consider lowering the cut of those armholes a bit and sewing something similar to this again. Though I’d probably leave out the fake camisole in favor of a real one, or find a way to build one in better.
I hope you enjoyed this little walk down memory lane! I actually have several more pictures of old makes that predated my digital camera, so I would like to get these up here sometime. Also, I’m getting quite close to wrapping up not one, but two projects! So with any luck, I may have something new to show by the end of the week.
ETA: Looks like I’m going to have to add last summer’s Frankenblouse to the list. Despite my having pre-washed it, the fabric seems to have shrank in the wash, and it’s now too short to look decent with any pants that I own, camisole or not. Also, the metallic stripes have gotten pulls all over it, and despite my having done French seams for greater durability, I’m noticing holes all along the bustline where the stitching is. Rats. Oh well… I wasn’t totally thrilled with how that one turned out anyway, tbh, so I may have to just try the concept again with a slightly different pattern mix. And more durable fabric. Preferably that isn’t so sheer and ivory that the only thing I can wear under it is my off-white camisole that has been washed and worn so many times that it, too, needs replacing. (I haven’t been able to find one, or had the time to make one, yet.) This one is also not going to be in decent enough condition to give away, so I think I’ll just salvage the buttons and be done with it.