Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

No Fabric…..1


For a few weeks I didn’t have any fabric! OK, we all know that is a bare faced lie but really, all I had were offcuts, leftovers and scraps; no 2 or 3 metre lengths with which to create and sew. My money had all been spent on frivolous things like food and petrol and there wasn’t much to spare. However, with a need to sew I started delving into those leftovers… some posts coming soon on how you can sew without a fabric stash!

While riffling through the leftovers, for a piece large enough to place a paper pattern upon I found this – last seen in June 2014.


To make sense of today’s post, you really should read this one first.

The plastic bag was emptied, all the pieces ironed and smoothed. A little bit of dedication, concentration and determination has now resulted in one finished dress that was started three years ago!


Vogue Ralph Rucci 1381.

There was more thread, pattern pieces, basting, tacking, pressing, top stitching, understitching, quilting, cutting, clipping, trimming, hand sewing and machine sewing involved in this one dress than in a fully tailored jacket, waistcoat, trousers and coat combined!


All the fit issues and reservations that I mentioned in June 2014 were largely ignored this time and I just went for a finished dress. While it’s not spectacular (despite all that work) it’s OK . Ā I lengthened mine (as usual) and raised the front gap and that’s all the alterations I did.


The dress weighs a tonne! If I ever fall overboard while wearing this I’ll sink like a stone. In some places there are five layers of various fabrics and it’s fully lined; the linen wears really well, softening but not wrinkling too much. Although made in linen, this is not a summer dress but would ease the transition in early autumn / spring.


The hem has a bias strip sewn to the edge, then pressed up and slip stitched. I think this gives a bit of weight to the skirt so that it hangs better. The belt is sewn to the dress on one side so that you don’t lose it. And those front pockets are the best ever.


If you follow the instructions to the letter, then the pocket edges and neck facings would be finished with more bias strips. I’d had enough and the raw edges were serged. When it came to French tacking the lining to the skirt – that was one stitch too many and I called it a day.


It’s finished and it’s been worn. I got compliments and pleasant comments and no one noticed the mis-matched zip, the gathers and wrinkling, the wobbly topstitching, the unsymmetrical quilting lines; or if they did, they never said. Can’t ask much more than that really.


30 thoughts on “No Fabric…..1

  1. Well done on finishing it! Colour and style is great on you, I definitely would not have had the patience for this!

  2. Omg that is so funny. And to think that dress is a one off and brilliant.

  3. Super effort! And don’t you hate it when real life gets in the way of sewing?! Had a good chuckle at your “frivolous things” comment šŸ˜‰

  4. Hi Ruth
    You look stunning in this dress and the design suits you too. You really should make another one!

    What a perfect colour choice. I think it’s absolutely spot on.

  5. Looks amazing. Well worth all the effort. I can’t imagine not having any fabric and hope you will be able to renew your stash soon!

  6. You never fail to amaze ! Lovely dress – and so many interesting techniques in it !

  7. I’ve been coveting that dress, in that color, but dreading the work you just described. I’m so glad you made it and it looks so good on you. Now I don’t have to make it.

  8. You are too critical of yourself. I think this dress is spectacular! I love the color, shape and details and its a triumph that you ended up with a wearable dress in such a difficult pattern.

  9. I’ve considered that pattern for a long time! I didn’t realize it was so detailed. Proud of your
    efforts! High marks. Now run out to purchase some well deserved fabric!

  10. I really like the details! You had me laughing loud at ‘if i ever fall overboard…’

  11. It’s a beautiful dress and I’m glad you got it finished! Though the no fabric stash would give me the heebee geebies. You are seeming to make it work, though!

  12. Gold star for persistence – and it looks fabulous. Gorgeous colour, great style, and even if you tried to point out any perceived flaws it’s still much better made than RTW.

  13. Perseverance! What a shining example, and the dress is lovely on you. No wonder you got comments. : )

  14. Very Lovely -you should be proud.
    I love that you went back to it and finished the job ! My pattern for this dress remains uncut!
    You are an inspiration and I will start looking for fabric now !

  15. A fine save–such patience and determination you have!

  16. It was so worth persevering with, after a 3 year break. The result is really lovely! I think as sewists we notice every little millimetre out of line, yet most people are wowed by the result. I know I am šŸ™‚

  17. Wowsers! This is fabulous, definitely worth all the effort – and the colour is gorgeous. Good luck with the stash replenishing. Not a problem that I have! I may have had to go to Ikea last week for more fabric storage boxes…

  18. So glad you got to pick up where you left off and got this dress finished. It certainly looks like it was a challenging pattern, but your perseverance has paid off and you have a lovely dress to wear. That colour is so flattering on you too. Great work.

  19. That looks really good on you! It’s a great colour, and the styling with the boots is very Ralph Rucci. I don’t think I would ever have had the patience to finish this pattern.

  20. It looks great. Fabulous colour and I like all that quilting and topstitching.

  21. That’s impressive! Both the finished garment and your perseverance. I had considered this pattern, but amazingly had not thought through the difficulties with all those layers and I wouldn’t touch it now, even though it looks great. Im also impressed with the lack of stash, I’ve got about 50 lengths. X

  22. Gorgeous! If only I had a waist….

  23. What a beautiful dress, the colour just sings. Well done on pulling it out and finishing it off, I think its a sensational. I have looked at that pattern in the catalog many times but didn’t realise that was all quilting. Wow.

  24. Fantastic! Would you call that color spring green? Whatever it is, it’s beautiful! Awesom, as always!

  25. Really pleased that you finished this dress, Ruth. Must give you a lot of satisfaction, especially as you had put so much hard work into it already.
    What a nice situation to be in – no stash! I haven’t got a massive stash myself but to start afresh with none feels to me quite liberating. I would love to be a sewer that works on one project, complete and then buy the next piece of fabric and pattern and start again. I think my brain would find this more restful than my present methods. However I find it impossible to go fabric shopping and not come home weighed down. Probably harks back to days when fabric wasn’t so readily available in the wonderful choice we have now.

  26. I remember this dress (have I really been reading your blog (and so many others) for three years. I was intrigued by it, as, like you, I really do enjoy a challenge. But your story put me off. Having seen it now, finished, I really like the shape of the dress. The stant of the pockets, the way the sleeves work, the flattering waist shaping – it’s really a nice shape. I wonder if this pattern could be simplified to avoid all the quilting and just focus on the basic shape. I have to salute all your efforts and I am glad it is finished. Well done.

  27. Pingback: No Fabric…. 2 & 3 | corecouture

  28. Just pulled this out of my pattern archive yesterday coinicidentally Ruth. Lovely job and I would never gloss over the quilting, it makes the dress and is the standout feature. Beautiful and now I’m afraid to tackle it!!

  29. Wow! Finding that was like Christmas all over! Although I can’t imagine being a happy person without 2 or 3 m of fabric to play with. I like this one. I love the style. Very elegant. I can’t see any mistakes! Although I am not a fan of some shades of green on me – it looks fabulous on you!

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