First this, – I really need to take my stash in hand. A familiar cry with all sewers I should think, but am I unique in thinking I am a bit like the woman with a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear? I shouldn’t think so for a moment. I have fabric – oh, yes, I have fabric, but not exactly what I wanted to make Summer skirts and dresses from. So ingenuity had to take a hand, and the first make from stash was a ‘wearable toile’ once again from fabric gleaned from heaven knows where. The starting point was the pattern, I think it dates from the 70’s/80’s era, probably out of print by now, but it is a fairly standard button through skirt with side pockets. The first make didn’t really please me – too many pleats and material – I prefer a slightly smaller silhouette than one that looked a bit like a Christmas tree. So off came the waistband and the pleats were all undone and just three pleats either side at the front were replaced, I also moved the seam with the pockets more to the front and sewed another side seam, this streamlined the back a bit more to my liking. A  lot of fiddling and trying on, unpicking and resewing – a lot of work for a toile, but one I hope to get some wear out of and now the work has been done, it should go a lot smoother next time. I do like button-through skirts with side seam  pockets –  very wearable, now I just need the right fabric.

June 020        June 021

Now that – I have blue and white floral fabric and from one of the pile, a piece of blue and white chintz roses, I made a top and skirt – but I wasn’t too happy with it and it was put in the wardrobe, not quite finished,  until I could think what to do with it. Then Carolyn put up a post about ‘browning’ a dress that she made from blue and white floral fabric. the result was inspired. Now I feel quite happy to carry on using my blue florals,

June 022 June 024I just need some brown dye…………which leads me nicely on to;-

Some other – I have always been interested in fabric printing, and I am fortunate in having a couple of grand-daughters who are also interested in block printing, dyeing and silk screen printing fabric with me. It is addictive and all sorts of scraps of fabrics were printed, dyed and made into cushions and bags. Of course along with the printing has to go the dyeing and surface embellishment and there the imagination can take flight! Here is one such bag that was made from unbleached calico, dyed with walnut leaves and bark from a tree in my garden. You don’t need a resist with walnut and it produces all shades from brown to green, I loved the murky look this dye-lot produced. The piece was then over printed with wood block printing and fabric paint and then decorated with folded patchwork patches, buttons and running stitch padding and made up into this little bag. Great fun. If ever you get the chance, do try it. p.s. we also did potato prints – anyone remember doing those at school?

June 008June 004June 007June 013June 016June 012potato cuts 001 POTATO CUT PRINT


I love all things creative and an eternal enthusiast. I am enduringly interested in absolutely everything remotely creative and never happier than when being shown 'how to'.
This entry was posted in dressmaking, handmade, me-made wardrobe, Sewing. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Oh gosh yes, I loved potato printing so much. My Dad let me do it while Mum was out at work… but it was always our secret!
    Instead of buying some brown dye, can you tea dye it?

    • says:

      I was thinking of tea or perhaps coffee. Trouble is getting it even all over – Carolyn manages it beautifully but klutz that I am it will probably look as if I have had an accident with a coffee pot!

      • I think the key is a large vessel, allow to soak for plenty of time and turn occasionally so that there’s no unintended tie-dye effect.

      • says:

        I’ve tried the washing machine method – less than satisfactory I would say and several rinsings of the machine failed to clean the residue, so I won’t be trying that again. I have dyed wool roving in a large stainless steel canning pan for spinning, usually using several blending colours, to give a lovely effect when spun, but clothes are another thing I think. Possibly the best fail-safe way would be to dye the fabric first perhaps.

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