Used to be a tablecloth…

And now, finally, it’s a dress.

It’s a summer dress but I got lucky! Just as the late spring and summer of this year were unforgettably generous to a London sun-worshipper like me, giving what seemed like weeks of uninterrupted dream weather, so did this autumn bless us with several days when I could wear the dress.

I wore it to work with a denim jacket and fashion trainers (white, as all fashion trainers seemed to be this year).

This dress would look great with medium heel sandals, but that’s something to try next year.  It is now suddenly very cold.

I hope to find other interesting cotton or linen tablecloths languishing in charity shops to cut up, especially since your comments in the last post pretty much sanctioned this barbarity (as Alys said, not everything is a museum piece).  What do you think of harem pants with this kind of lace lattice-work about the calves and knees?

I would like to wean myself of using chemical dyes though.  Once again washing machine Dylon worked beautifully but I’ve come to rely too much on this process that pollutes the water supply, and Dylon’s recent switch from cardboard to plastic ‘pod’ packaging is disappointingly backward suggesting a complete environmental indifference.  Do you share my concerns?  Or do you think all efforts of a single seamstress amount to a drop in the ocean?

However, my favourite new colour discovery is turmeric.  Maybe that’s not the official name for the variant of the very autumnal dark yellow you will surely have noticed everywhere in RTW this season, but it’s the colour of Haldi which certainly stains my teeth when I put it in curry so it should work on dyeing natural fibres too.  But how do I fix it? Time for some desk research, and experimentation.  Do please share the benefits of your experience if you’ve dabbled in natural dyes.

8 thoughts on “Used to be a tablecloth…

  1. You look gorgeous M in the late golden hour sun. I too enjoy these old household linens and it makes me happy that seamstresses like you are breathing new life into them. As for turmeric it doesn’t need fixing. Just dye with it in hot water. It may fade over time, like tea or coffee, but I don’t think that detracts from its beauty.

  2. It looks brilliant! I love the square neck and the shaped sleeves and the clever positioning of the openwork. I hope you impressed the pants off everybody at work.
    I haven’t dabbled personally with natural dyes but there is a woman who lives near here who does a whole range of threads and yarns that she dyes herself. A few of us went to see her – it’s very back yard (well, back barn and large vats) business but she showed us some indigo dying and all the different nuts, plants, flowers, etc. she uses for dyes. She also has a special section of her garden where she grows plant specially for the purpose. Fascinating but I’m far too lazy to go into all that boiling and stirring and alchemy.

    • Now you bring up alchemy it reminds me I did once find in my student digs an enormous cooking pot which I appropriated for tye-dyeing purposes (in the days before machine dye) and I probably did resemble a witch stirring her cauldron.

  3. Brilliant! I love the square neckline, the shaped sleeves and the clever way you’ve placed the openwork. I hope you impressed the pants off them at work.
    I haven’t personally dabbled in dyeing methods but some of us went to visit a woman who lives near here with a small but successful natural dyeing business. It’s a bit back yard (well, back barn and huge vats) but she showed us some indigo dying and all the different coloured threads and yarns she produces from various nuts, flowers, plants etc. She also has part of her garden dedicated to growing plants specifically used in dyeing. Fascinating but I’m far too lazy to start boiling, stirring and indulging in the sort of alchemy she demonstrated.
    BTW this is the second time I’ve typed all that out ‘cos Blogger threw my comment back at me when I attempted to publish it while logged into Chrome. I had to switch to Internet Explorer to be recognised. This sometimes happens to me with Blogger sites (I’m on WordPress) and I keep meaning to remember to copy the comment before it disappears so I can paste it in again but I never do 🙁

    • I’m so sorry you had to type this several times over Lynn. I always find these instances infuriating. You appear to be bearing the brunt of my blog’s inefficiencies but hopefully you’re now on the approved commenters list (again, since the reboot). Thanks for the fascinating link to Renaissance Dyeing. What were the chances you would have something like this on almost your doorstep!? I notice it’s not cheap but if it works and I keep it to a minimum by doing what I can myself, then it’s worth a punt.

  4. It looks fabulous M. I wouldn’t worry too much about using old cloths – as has already been pointed out it probably wouldn’t have been given museum space – and you’re breathing new life into it.

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