Saturday, October 03, 2020

Laura Dress

This is my first time sewing a Rebecca Page pattern. I made the fabric by piecing together upholstery samples that were destined for the trash. I always have to make things waaaay more difficult, but I wanted to use up/upcycle some of my upholstery samples. I used to work at an interior design showroom, and they’d throw out their discontinued samples. I couldn’t stand the waste, so I took several home.

I found two fabrics with different styles but colors that blended well. Both the rust colored birds and and scallop are the same high end manufacturer. When I worked for the showroom a couple of years ago, the bird print was $156 per yard, and the scallop was $122 per yard. Both are 100% cotton. It’s not heavyweight like many upholstery fabrics, but it’s not as light as standard cotton either. The bird print faded quite a bit when I washed and dried it, but upholstery has all sorts of nasty chemicals on it to resist stains (some carcinogenic), so it had to be washed. I don’t wash samples when I make things like throw blankets, but a garment is different. 

The challenge with using samples is that some are small pieces, some have holes from where they were hung for display, and some have grommets in them to prevent designers from borrowing samples and making pillows or something and not paying for the yardage. So that means the only way my fabric is wide enough or long enough to accommodate cutting out my pattern pieces is I have to collage pieces together.

The bird print wasn’t long enough to accommodate the full pattern piece, so I decided to add a band of the scallop to the bottom of both front and back (matching those was challenging on a high-low hem), as well as to the front shoulder. I also cut my pattern apart to add 5” in length (4” after seam added), and I cut off the two band pieces and the two shoulder pieces. In other words, I cut the two main pieces into five pieces (see what I mean by making it more difficult, lol?) I also graded the pattern between a XXL top and XL bottom. I was just winging it and hoping it turned out. I know zero about alternating or adjusting patterns. 

The front piece laid out nicely with a design centered. The remaining sample of bird fabric was too narrow for the back pieces, so I had to bring in a third fabric to supplement.

I found a sample linen blend that matched the color well. One option was to have cut out one half back side in the linen (like a colorblock), or another option was to have added strips going down my sides. Instead I chose to add strips to the center back, almost like a mock zipper. The linen blend is a heavier weight than the two cottons. I did not use French seams in this project (Rebecca Page patterns recommend French seams) because it was an added level of difficulty that was too much when so much piecing was involved. 

I only had two small samples of the scallop, so I knew to cut the bands first, and the front shoulder if I had enough. I had to cut the shoulders cross grain, keeping in mind pattern direction had to match. I didn’t have enough scallop for the back shoulder, so I used the linen. Funny, when I started I thought the scallop was the star fabric, but turns out the linen makes this dress special. Go figure.


I accidentally cut into one back shoulder piece, so I repaired and covered with an appliqué 

I had to piece the strips (both the scallop and the linen) to make them long enough, so I hid the seams with appliqués (I thankfully had fabric left) 

Off center front seam: 

Yeah, there’s a lot going on, but I’m pleased with the result, and basically I made something out of trash. That’s pretty cool. I’m 5’2” and adding 4” put the length right above my knee. The shoulder and neck area is too big, so next time I’ll size down and do a bust adjustment instead. 


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