Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hitting the runway (no, this is not about aircraft)

One of the interesting things I've done on this holiday is to make a dress. My very first dress, actually. It started with a challenge: can you make a garment out of items that would normally be thrown away, within two days, for a fashion show?

Can I? Heck, I don't know - but I'm going to try!

First stop: the Goodwill outlet, Grand Rapids. Jennifer generously showed me to this secret location, the warehouse of epic proportions, filled with fridge-sized cardboard boxes, each one with scrawls on the side: 'SHOES', 'CLOTHING, ASSORTED'. Big bins in the center of the room are periodically wheeled out, refreshed, with all the things the Goodwill thrift shops across America have been unable to sell. Someone hasn't been paying attention, as there's plenty of good stuff left to be had!

We wheeled our laden trolley onto the weigh scale: 50c per pound. Several men's shirts, some denim, some stripey, and an embroidered cotton smock for a dollar or two.

Late night sewing: cut up shirts until they form generous wedges, then sew them together to a rough skirt shape. Tuck and chop, sew and fuss till it fits. Sew the skirt to the bottom of another shirt, which you've chopped off to make short sleeves.

Fits! (Photo circa 4:20AM)

Next morning, after much coffee has been drunk, load up the washing machine with lots of red dye. Tip in the dress, let it rip! Get talking, forget about the soak cycle, oops - oh well. It turned out a lovely raspberry shade that I adore.

"Aarr! Into the blood-red dye bath for you, my lovely!"

I sewed on, sort of at random, pieces of a cotton belt, collars from shirts, and scraps of embroidery cut from the smock. Lots of random raspberry pieces left over. Thanks to the generosity of my host for allowing me to use her sewing machine and supplies, it went pretty smoothly.

The finished dress. Also circa 4AM, the next day.

The cool thing? This is the first dress I've made, and tonight it will be flouncing down the runway in the fashion re-fashion show in Michigan.

It also got a very brief spot on TV, advertising the fashion show, on Jennifer's craft segment on Take 5. Check out her own efforts with a newspaper dress delight -- fashioned on two late night sessions of snipping, sewing, unpicking and laughing. A 98-inch waist, indeed!

Let's hope my raspberry delight has fun at the fashion show. I called it 'Summer Fling' becasue it was fun and flirty and it came and went so quickly. It will be sent back to me in Australia, and I can't wait to wear it!


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