Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Scavenger Hunt That Lead to a Pillow Shirt

In the summer of 2012, I emailed my mom, grandmother and aunts to ask if I could scour their fabric piles to get materials to practice with. Fabric can be expensive and I needed to practice putting in an invisible zipper and adding lining to a garment when the pattern didn’t call for a lining. I sensed that I might ‘ruin’ a few projects before creating something wearable. Continue reading

‘Blooper’ or The Curtain Dress

Who doesn’t love the idea of making a dress from a curtain? Julie Andrews and Elizabeth Taylor both did it so why can’t I?

No reason. So, I gave it a try. During that learning process of 2012, I thought it would be a great idea to buy a curtain or sheet from GoodWill and use it to make a dress. I figured that materials purchased from GoodWill would be cheaper than anything I could find at a regular fabric store. I also grew up on The Sound of Music and I had romantic notions about wearing something that used to hang by a window.

With ‘My Favorite Things’ ringing in my ears, I set out to GoodWill to find a quaint looking sheet or curtain that would become my handmade dress. Upon arrival, my idealistic vision began to falter. My handmade dress really couldn’t be a faded Mickey Mouse print, nor did I want it to be a plain pastel. Where were the velvety green drapes that could be worthy of a southern ballgown? Where was the bright green plaid that could make a perfectly cute summer dress? Then there was the issue of price. A discarded sheet from GoodWill was a little more expensive than anticipated in my idealistic vision.

Finally, I found a flowery curtain that was decently priced. It was fairly thin (I would definitely need to line it) and felt like it would drape well. I bought the curtain with subdued enthusiasm; this would not be the masterpiece of Julie Andrews or Elizabeth Taylor. I told myself it was a practice piece but who starts a project hoping that it will be mediocre?

This Simplicity 9778 pattern was stashed away in my pattern box: an adorable ‘junior’ pattern that didn’t end up being a good fit for my mature body. The pattern of the fabric and the style of the dress were definitely not a match: this style of dress needs a smaller design. After sewing in the zipper, I tried the dress on and I knew that I would never wear it.


All that said, my sewist’s soul was happy. I successfully cut out the pattern and got the right size, I made adjustments so that it fit my smallish waist and my larger hips, and the invisible zipper lived up to its name. I learned that a petite dress like this needs a petite fabric design. The time and money (all told, not more than $15) was well worth the experiential learning.