Another cautionary tale

by Erin on July 31, 2006

ebay item 170014019059

This is a dress I made I-don't-know-how-many-years-ago, and actually didn't ever wear more than once. I was in a hurry to make something out of this length of gorgeous vintage linen that a friend gave me. (Her parents were clearing out their house to move and she gave me some lovely fabric that had been her mother's.) It wasn't a long length, if that makes any sense, and this was the first dress that fit it. (I think it's an old Calvin Klein Vogue pattern from the early 90s.)

Well, the dress fit the fabric, but it didn't fit me. Its shape and my shape don't get along so well. There are a lot of catty comments and rolled eyes when they get together. Sigh. Which reminds me that even if you are just longing to use some gorgeous fabric, it doesn't pay to jump at the first halfway semi-suitable project that comes along.

This poor dress has been in storage ever since, and it's finally time for it to get out and have a full and independent life, so I've listed it on eBay. (Click on the picture to go to the auction.)

Here's a closeup of the fabric — can't you see why I wanted to use it?

ebay item 170014019059

I hate to cut up a dress to make something other than another dress (or skirt, in a pinch) out of it. So, yes, I know this would make a lovely pillow/handbag/matched set of antimacassars, but I can't bring myself to do it. If you want to, more power to you!

Here's the back:

ebay item 170014019059

Hmm. It looks like I should have pressed this again before I took photos! Well, it is linen, after all — so call this 'truth in advertising': it will wrinkle!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

savvy July 31, 2006 at 8:46 am

Not a fan of the fabric. The print reminds me of home dec fabric.


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. July 31, 2006 at 9:05 am

I love the fabric design, but I always have a problem with linen and wrinkles, the controlling personality part of me kicks in when I see lap creases, and I get hurt trying to iron the dress without taking it off first.I’m 50ish age, and decorating fabric still charms me for dresses and accessories like purses and hats. My 20ish children express distain when confronted with decorator fabric used for anything other than interior design elements.Does anyone out there know if this is a typical view point of boomers vs GenXers?


Shiny Blue Black July 31, 2006 at 9:07 am

Hi Jill. Nope, I’m 20ish and I would totally wear my vintage curtains, a la Sound of Music


Summerset July 31, 2006 at 9:30 am

Jill, it’s not typical of me – if the fabric fits the project, intended use or not – I use it. I’m smack in the middle of GenX, somewhere in 30ish land. I always look at the decorator fabric in case I can use it in a project. The bonus is that it’s usually 55-60″ wide. That said, the dress is lovely, but the color/style probably wouldn’t be lovely on me.


Amber July 31, 2006 at 10:22 am

NO! Home dec fabric is not just for boomers! I love them. I’m 24, so more of a GenEcho than GenX, but my love of interior design fabrics remains true nonetheless. I happen to live two blocks from Finnstyle, home of amazing Marimekko fabrics. A girlfriend and I love going in just to daydream about what we could make with all those lovelies!


Esther.A July 31, 2006 at 12:21 pm

Wasn’t it Laura Ashley who set the trend for dresses to match the curtains? And along with The Sound of Music, let’s not forget Scarlet in GWTW – I know the drapes were green velvet, but…Not over keen on the dress, but I do like the button fastening on the back! Good luck with the sale.


Karen July 31, 2006 at 1:02 pm

I also feel that decor fabrics are fine to mix with fashion! (I’m 27, btw) In fact when I decorate, I use half and half decor and fashion fabrics, and the only decor fabrics I use are solids or stripes, I can’t stand having flowers all over my furniture or walls. And I love mixing in satins and velvets for texture. You all beat me with linen, I’ve never even finished a linen project! I just can’t get it to shape the way I can with plain cottons or wools. I can see cutting up this dress to make several adorable handbags, but I can also see the dress looking amazing on the right person.


Anonymous July 31, 2006 at 4:00 pm

Wow, can you say shameless advertising?


Absinthe July 31, 2006 at 4:33 pm

I love the fabric. What I do NOT love, however, is linen. I am phobic about wrinkles.


Avenging Justice (aka Bunny) July 31, 2006 at 4:38 pm

Yeah, it’s totally shameless. Because the $10 she might make selling this one-of-a-kind dress (when the fabric is worth more than that, it looks like) would be ill-gotten gains! How dare she think that someone who reads her blog might want to have a dress she herself made? Absolutely shameless. In fact, anonymous, I think you should, as a matter of principle, probably never read or post a comment here again, just to let Ms Dressaday know that it is unacceptable to use her own blog to show her own eBay listings. That’ll teach her. Especially as she does it so often — why, she’s posted about her listings TWO or even THREE times in the past year! Fie upon her! That Evil Capitalist.


Hecate July 31, 2006 at 4:48 pm

Linen is nice. I’m wondering what could have been done with that fabic? It’s a very large pattern so nothing too small or fussy.


Jenn July 31, 2006 at 5:08 pm

Hey, gave you props on my website because your writing is always so much fun to read (and you make fun of bad grammar.) :-)(Nifty linen dress, by the way.)


Anonymous July 31, 2006 at 6:12 pm

I used that pattern as well, I made mine in pale pink linen a la’ Sharon Stone. I loved mine, it was one of my favorite dresses. So I can say there should be someone who will love yours. By the way my body type is full busted and slim hipped if that helps any one who is interested.


Minya, Warrior Seamstress July 31, 2006 at 6:55 pm

While it would be nice to own an Erin original, I’m too fat to fit it. Also, the last time I had a blouse that had a keyhole back fastening with a button, I had to cut my entangled hair free from the button and loop to get the blouse off.


Anonymous July 31, 2006 at 8:04 pm

The pattern is very pretty, but I NEVER, EVER buy or wear anything made of linen and I don’t know why anyone would. The first time you sit down, you become an instant rumpled mess. Every year though, the catalogs of women’s clothing come out with page after page of linen, carrying on about what a wonderful, cool, summery fabric it is. It’s charms are completely lost on me, and I’ve noticed that they don’t even try to sell this BS to men. To me, the women who come to work looking like they slept in their outfits appear foolish, like they have failed to notice that they dressed in something that had been at the bottom of the hamper for a while. But to each her own!


Gigi July 31, 2006 at 9:40 pm

I happen to love the dress! The fabric is gorgeous. Sadly, in my experience, this style isn’t the best for a curvy girl.


Valerie August 2, 2006 at 8:56 am

I love linen and I have many linen skirts and dresses that get me tons of compliments. The wrinkles are part of the charm of linen! I think that’s what makes it so elegant. Creasing from being in a hamper and from sitting and walking normally don’t look the same. AND I know lots of men who swear by their linen shirts, especially in this oppressive heat. Also – I’m another gen-Xer checking in who loves the home dec fabrics for fashion. I *regularly* see home dec fabric that I would love to wear!Alas, like gigi, this dress would not get along with my figure at all. Oh well.


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