I was always making things growing up, and from about 14 or 15 I started making my own clothes at home (as opposed to the ones-made-never-worn from Domestic Science/Home Ecc in school). The fabric for my own home-mades invariably came from the linen cupboard, in the form of white sheets – later dyed charcoal due to heavily diluted black dye!.
A lot of Irish linen cupboards and hot presses had these sheets tucked away, they would have been hand-me-downs, bottom drawer, and wedding presents and on the 70s arrival of printed and coloured bed-linen (known here as ‘american sheets’) they were relegated to the back of the press. These white sheets are regularly in charity shops and I regularly buy (and I have to stop myself acquiring excess at times!). A lot are these are the old sheet sizes so have to be remade, and the quality of the cotton is so lovely.
Last summer was a fine summer (as opposed to today being about 17degrees and heavy rain), and I wanted to try out a pattern using up some charity shop sheets. I made this, using a halter pattern I had been playing about with, but using and extending the same darts was a bit clunky looking (not easy to see but I tried to continue some french darts to the back on a diagonal) so I left it to one side meaning to try another halter top, and I also had a rethink about my ability to keep white bodices clean…… I did like the overall construction, ie making the 4 parts of 2 fronts, and 2 backs and sewing together. It reminded me of a dress idea I also like from a favourite book ‘The Art of Sewing – Shortcuts to Elegance). The book is on loan to a friend but I will insert a photo here of this ‘dress from triangles’ when I get it back.
Meanwhile, here is the opener – chapter 1 from ‘The Art of Sewing ‘The Creative Touch’, which give instruction on refashioning clothes, embroidery, and crochet and knitting.
I don’t know if anyone has these books, – they are a series of about 10 or 12, and are on Amazon at various prices so I am thinking of getting some more. I got my two (shortcuts to elegance and the creative touch ) from a charity shop a long time ago. They are good fun, and informative -the sewing instruction is excellent, and the photos sufficiently dated to be entertaining, and the models are not photoshoped so thats an added bonus!
I am planning a few more sheet dresses and have ordered some indigo dye to try our some shibori techniques. The halter pattern has altered a lot – the v neck now a square neck, and the hemline is moving.