Recycling a Little Blue Dress 2

Artwork In-Progress
The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

This is as far as I got yesterday – the side seams and hem are unpicked and I have stitched on 3 strips of the shirt fabric to the back of the dress as a guide for getting the other patches straight. As I was doing that I thought “well, that’s mistake number 1 – I should have added to the length of the dress first”. Oh well, it might get some pleats added at the end, or the cuffs/collars of the shirts. We’ll see. I think I’ll carry on stitching patches on and worry about fit first (I’m thinking that all the stitching might pull it in a bit). If it fits then I’ll do something about the length – or not. 🙂

The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

The op-shop little blue dress unpicked so that I can attach strips of cotton fabric easily by machine. These 3 strips are to act as a guide so that I get all the patches straight.

Recycling a Little Blue Dress

Artwork In-Progress

I bought this little blue dress at an op-shop.

The dress I bought in an op-shop which fits nicely but is made from thin fabric and is a bit short. I'm going to try stitching pieces of other old clothing onto it to make a unique "arty" dress.

The dress I bought in an op-shop which fits nicely but is made from thin fabric and is a bit short. I’m going to try stitching pieces of other old clothing onto it to make a unique “arty” dress.

It fitted well but the fabric was so thin you could see through it, and it was a bit short. I decided it was a candidate for one of a series of altered clothing pieces that I have had in mind for a while (read that to mean that I have a stash of clothing bought from op-shops destined to be modified into something I would wear!). I am concerned about the amount of textile waste and pollution there is from all stages of the fashion industry – from manufacture right through to the post-consumer. So I “rescue” fabric and clothing whenever I can see a way I might use it. Anyway, this dress was so thin I decided it would make a good base to patch other fabric onto. It is also a very simple shape so I figured I could open the side seams to make it easier to stitch those patches on by machine. That way if the stitching caused some shrinkage (which I think is almost bound to happen) I can add a panel at the side seams. I can do the same thing at the shoulder if that also proves to be a problem.

Nagging doubts that have prevented me from starting this project to date are, 1. it will shrink so much it won’t fit, 2. that it will look really old-fashioned and almost “hippy”, 3. that I’m wasting time that could be better spent on something else, 4. that I won’t like it once I’ve done it, 5. that people will laugh at it, 6. that it isn’t really “art”, 7. that I could make some yardage in the same way and then cut out a dress using a pattern that I know will fit, 8. well, the list goes on – I could probably add 20 more negatives easily. 🙁

Recycled blue shirts destined to be "married" to the Little Blue Dress to make a unique "arty" dress.

Recycled blue shirts destined to be “married” to the Little Blue Dress to make a unique “arty” dress.

So, I have decided to go ahead regardless. The best that can happen is that I end up with a dress that I like and the worst is that some fabric that probably would have ended up as landfill, will end up as landfill. I won’t have wasted my time because I know I will learn a lot along the way.