by Mary Boalt
As a lover of textiles and all things fabric, I find inspiration in all sorts of places. You probably do too. When I was introduced to piecing garments together, it opened up a whole new world to me. Fabric didn’t have to come by the yard from the fabric store. Cost Plus World Market and it’s beautiful array of cloth napkins became a primary source of a new kind of fabric hoarding. I still check them out from time to time. And I never leave a thrift store without checking out the men’s ties. Especially Jerry Garcia ties. Already cut on the bias, they make great piping, cording or just flat bias tape which can be used in a Koos Van Den Akker style. And of course, we’ve all been tempted by upholstery fabric. Sometimes with more success than other times.
I thought I’d share a few of my garments incorporating fabric from uncommon sources. First, IKEA. This is a linen drapery panel with a wild contemporary print. This Vogue pattern has been used many MANY times over the years. Added to it are some plain and striped t shirt knits for the pockets, sleeve interest and back flap definition.Sticking to the drapery panel theme, let’s drive over to Cost Plus World Market. This is a skirt that was blogged about last summer. The perfect summer lightweight cotton crinkle skirt. They are still being sold and come in a cute little matching bag. No need for a pattern with this skirt. Just cut two rectangles, sew together and insert elastic around the waist. And no need to hem. Just use the one provided.
And now over in the accessories department we find kantha scarves. Two of them made this summer weight vest. The pattern is now available in a downloadable version. Is downloadable a word? As I’m writing this it just doesn’t sound quite right.
There was just enough left to make a small pocket. The armhole edges and neck were finished with purchased bias tape.
Down the street is Target. This piece, also previously blogged about, came about from a “challenge” our local sewing group initiated. Could we make something from dish towels? YES! Target had these adorable soft cotton dish towels. After stocking up with five towels, the hems were removed and there was enough fabric to accommodate the pattern pieces.
This next one is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. You know how wallpaper books come with matching fabric samples in them? This was just the fabric samples. I found this discarded book with a beautiful cover at a recycling store. The samples inside were beautiful, all coordinating. They got mixed with some dupioni silk scraps, hand stitching and a butter soft suede cloth.
These stencils are available to be used when you attend my Zephyr Retreat classes. Along with about fifty others.
Here’s another idea from Diane; using socks as a collar. Well, these aren’t socks but they looked like socks when I saw them. On sale at a local boutique, these are fingerless gloves. Along with some scraps from my sister, these gloves found their home in this jacket.
Because I regularly thin my closet, I no longer have the dresses I’ve made from bed sheets and cotton shower curtains or the jackets from Kantha bedspreads….Sandra now owns the “bird” shower curtain dress, also from Cost Plus World Market. Ask to see it sometime. While reviewing these uncommon sources of fabric, I realized almost all of my wardrobe has a “story”. The next blog will be about the uncommon hardware and trims used in some of the pieces. What unusual things have you been able to sew into your clothes? Do they bring you joy? Are you proud of your resourcefulness and the ability to make your clothes unique? I hope you are and continue to look in unlikely places for inspiration. But please share! I want to know your sources!
I want to give a huge shout out and a hearty congratulations to Heidi Emmett on her newly published book Fashion Quilted Accessories. If you’d like to pick up your copy and have Heidi sign it, there will be a book signing at Sugar Pine Quilt shop in Grass Valley on Saturday March 11 from 11:00-1:00. I can’t wait to get mine to see all the goodies she’s been keeping secret these past many months. Way to go Heidi!!!!