Last summer I made a shirt out of one of my All-Time Favorite
fabrics. You know the ones. They call out to you from the
bolt, they have moved across the country with you, you have sewn them in your head dozens of times. I got it on my first pilgrimage to Britex in San Francisco. I remember because it was the only fabric I got on that occasion. You may be asking yourself how does any self respecting dressmaker go to Britex and come away with one measly piece of fabric? Well, it's a challenge! (and it has never happened again!)
I was completely overwhelmed. I was like a deer in the headlights. I was probably drooling and babbling! I had heard about the place but was totally unprepared for the actual experience of shopping there. I must have spent the better part of 3 hours wandering up and down between the floors. Wool, linen and silk on the first floor, remnants on the top floor, buttons and trims somewhere in the middle. It was better than advertised!
When I finally left I had two things: a 2 yard remnant of a gorgeous rayon crepe with cream colored dancers lined up across a grey background and a promise to never be unprepared at Britex again!
The fabric had been aging and marinating in my stash for a long time. I would take it out each spring and imagine it as a billowy skirt, or wide leg pants, I just could never bring myself to cut into it. As the years passed it took on legendary status. The pressure to make something really special mounting each time I refolded it for the season. Finally, last summer, it happened, the perfect pattern for the grey dancers.
It was a camp shirt inspired by a blouse by Eileen Fisher. Tunic length with shirttail hems, longer in the back. Classic, timeless, like the fabric.
The fabric was as wonderful to work with in real life as it had been in my head all those years. The shirt turned out just as I had hoped and instantly went from all-time favorite fabric to all-time favorite shirt. I loved wearing it, I felt all flowy and sophisticated. Then it happened...TRAGEDY!!!
No, not red wine - worse!
As the weather turned to fall a little mousey took up residence in the bottom of the closet. I immediately went into pest control mode and caught the little ##$*!!. It wasn't until several days later that I noticed the chewed up hem of - you guessed it - the grey dancer shirt, ARRRRGGGG!!! (Did I mention how much I hate #!%&** mousies?!) Yes there were bad words and probably tears. I couldn't bear to throw it away, so it just hung in the closet, full of little holes, forlorn.
This winter I came across the leftover scraps of the grey dancers. I put the shirt on my dress form and stared at it for weeks, trying to figure out a way to salvage it. I didn't have enough to recut entire pieces of the shirt, it looked very ordinary as a short camp shirt, patches, pockets????? Ponder, fret....
Here, finally, is what I ended up doing...
I recut the back hem and one side of the front (the chewed up bits), "cut and pasted" the new pieces in place, added a green cotton satin ribbon to cover the seams and then added a few more 'ribbon stripes' because if you do it once it's a mistake, if you do it three times, it's a design detail! Last a small ribbon loop at the back pleat.
All-time favorite status restored and another chapter in the saga of the grey dancer fabric.