new out of old

Some weeks ago I found a second-hand dress in a charity shop in Stockbridge. The dress had been made by Toast, was cut on the bias, and fashioned from a wonderful, autumnal greeny-brown lambswool. So what it was several sizes too big? So what it resembled a large hessian sack? At 3 quid it was clearly an unbelievable bargain.


Today I had an opportunity to transform the dress into something wearable. I hacked it to pieces, took about a foot off the bottom and sides, and re-made it into a pinafore, edging it with some vintage Liberty’s fabric in this familiar print:


The peacock fabric is a remnant – left over from the bottom of one of my favourite dresses that I shortened to fit me long ago. This other dress, with its alternating panels of pale green velvet and printed cotton, is a vintage 1970s maxi-thing. In it one runs the risk of resembling both the female characters on The Good Life simultaneously: it has Felicity Kendall’s hippy charm combined with Penelope Keith’s stately excess. Unsurprisingly, I hardly ever get an opportunity to wear it — but using a little of its left-over fabric on an edging or a button reminds me of just how much it appeals:


Then I made another patchwork scarf out of the woollen dress’s sleeves, the rest of the The Good-Life remnant, and a furnishing fabric sample in a burnt-orange colour:


Together, the scarf and the pinafore look great and quite, um, seasonal. Ironically, I can’t illustrate this convincingly because the light today has suffered from the seasonal weather — perpetual rain and darkened skies — and I do hate using the flash. Here is another ludicrous attempt:


Until I can post a decent pic, you’ll just have to take my word that I am foolishly pleased with the new life I’ve given to two old dresses.