Sunday, 21 June 2020

Stashbusting musings

Some entirely unplanned sewing this week. I finally had to accept that, despite my best efforts at patching and mending, my summer dressing gown had disintegrated beyond repair and a replacement was urgently needed. I didn't have a suitable pattern for a woman's robe, but I did have the pattern I had used for the Gentleman Caller's thank you present last year. I reasoned that a dressing gown is hardly a fitted garment, so I used that and omitted the lining. A delve into Deep Stash unearthed a remnant of pink flowered cotton with a slight stretch, which was the perfect weight for an unlined robe.

The pattern called for 3m of 150cm wide fabric. I only had 2.6m of 140cm wide fabric, but I knew that I wanted to shorten both the body and the sleeves, so thought that this would be enough. Unfortunately, when I came to lay the fabric out, I discovered this.

The printing fault explains why this was in the remnant bin

Clearly the fabric had creased on the roller while it was being printed. The fault carries on down the full length of the remant, so now I was down to 2.6m of 130ish cm wide fabric. Tricky. However, after a few experiments with cutting layouts on a single layer of fabric (it takes longer, but there's far less wastage), I managed to squeeze everything in.

My leftovers - mostly the strip with the printing error

Pretty though the fabric is, I did worry that the end result would be a bit of a flowery blur. Taking my inspiration from the pattern, I decided that adding binding would sharpen things up a bit.

Vogue 8964 - binding on collar, pockets and sleeves

I knew that I had quite a lot of pink cotton bias binding left over from making a petticoat years ago, and intended to use that. But then I found that I also had 4m of emerald green satin binding. I have absolutely no idea when or why I bought this, but I used it instead of the pink, and I really like the contrast.

Binding on cuff and pocket

The green was definitely the right choice

I'm really pleased with the end result, but it has got me thinking. This project was started before non-essential shops in England were allowed to open last Monday (15 June), which is why everything had to be sourced from stash. My local fabric shop, Abakhan, is now open, but to the astonishment of everyone who knows me, I haven't been in it yet.

In this day and age, it is rare to have a fabric shop close to where you live*, and I'm well aware of just how lucky I am in this respect. However, the downside is that it is so easy to 'just pop in' there whenever I need something, rather than look through what I've already got. Making this dressing gown, and planning out an entirely new idea inspired by the Vintage Sew a Dress a Month (details coming soon) during lockdown, have highlighted that although I have a substantial stash of both fabric and 'sundries' such as trimmings, it is rarely my first port of call for supplies - and this needs to change.

This isn't to say that I will not buy anything more until my workroom is bare; indeed another order from Ditto Fabrics is currently somewhere in transit. What it does mean is that in future I want to make a conscious effort to begin new projects by 'shopping my stash', and not just automatically going for the new and shiny.

Stashometer update



* - When Abakhan first opened a branch in Chester, it was in the first shop that I came to as I walked into town. Then the whole area was earmarked for redevelopment, and all the shops were closed. Abakhan did not immediately move to new premises, so I was back to having no local fabric shop. In the meantime, we moved house. When Abakhan re-opened, it was in the first shop that I came to on my new route into town! Mr Tulip was utterly convinced that they had delayed acquiring new premises until they knew where I'd moved to, and nothing I could say would persuade him otherwise.

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