Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The green dress (or how I nearly botched it up, but it turned out nicely in the end)

It was, I'll admit, a damn close shave. I'd finished my vintage Simplicity 4491 dress, and then began to paint it. Recklessly I covered the dress - a dress I'd spent about three days making - in paint, beginning to get more and more worried as the white disappeared and the green took over.

As the dress dried on my mannequin I stood back to have a look. And then I said the "F" word over and over and over, because I had completely ruined the poor dress (fear not, Grumbles was happily at school, not sitting listening to her mother turn the air blue).

Instead of a soft white cotton delight, I now had in front of me some weird sort of stiff paint reptilian creation that would have even been looked at askance at a costume party. I could imagine the scene now - whispers of pity and confusion from behind covered mouths:
"What do you think she has come as?"
"Um, maybe a dead mermaid?"
"Nah, she's like some alligator-martian fusion, yeah?"
"My bet's on fungi!"
"But it's nice, don't you think, that some people try and make a costume? Even if it turns out like...um...that!"

Cue the laughter.

Dancing around in a strange tango of despair and rage at my own idiocy, I suddenly had a scathingly brilliant idea: maybe I could wash the dried paint stiffness out. So down I raced to the washing machine, threw it in at 50 C, then crossed my fingers and hoped the best.

Out the green thing came, and she was no longer the stiff creature from before. The hot water had washed off the excess paint, leaving only the stain that I had originally planned for. I could look back the sewing community in the eye because I finally had a wearable dress!

And even though it didn't quite go to plan, I'm really rather happy with the result. Sure, the paint is splotchy in parts, but I think it works in a 'cool art school' kinda way. I'm glad I shortened the dress, as it was a bit too "Posh Spice designer skirt" in the original length, and besides the short skirt works far better with the painted effect.

All in all I think we have a winner. The dark horse won the race, phew!

Project Details

Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 4491
Fabric: "Kiko" cotton print from Tessuti Fabrics
Notions: 18" zipper

Loved making this pattern. So easy, but then again I'm a sucker for anything with facings. Don't ask, I just like them put them in. Next time I'll have to make one with a fuller skirt. Very wearable, very paintable. Hah!


  1. Looks super cute. I tried using that same paint with a freezer paper stencil on my tea-towel swap and it did not work at all - too thick. I think. Now I see I could maybe have diluted it....

  2. Lovely fit - I like the dark area around your hipe - is that the print of the fabric or did you paint that? Nice dress...

  3. Thanks guys!

    Stompergirl, I did dilute this paint, but not enough as you can tell by the disaster documented above. Still, all's well that ends well!

    Cherri, I painted the darker area myself using a darker paint. It was so much fun!

  4. If i were at the fancy dress party i would have sworn you had come as a green goddess!

    It looks faaaabulous dahling!xx

  5. I love it!! It looks awesome - especially love the darker area. xx

  6. You ! are freakin' amazing !

  7. Me LiKey!!!!!!

    So brave! All that work! Yay!!!

    Lovely figure, looks edgy!

  8. That dress looks really fab on you. So stylish and cool!

    Because you looked so fab in the other (strapless) dress you made, I made one and finished it today. I love it (thanks!) but I still like it better on you.

    I may have to copy this dress, too!

  9. Oh poops - it's a vintage one (just like that one-strap one). Oh well....

  10. What a save! Super-hero you! It looks fabulous. And I'm pleased to hear that it took you 3 days to make...blogland sometimes makes me feel like everybody else is whipping stuff up whilst I am labouring away for days.

  11. I did wonder about the green, but it does work!!

    A fuller skirt would be perfect too.

  12. hot stuff lady! And a very nice save to boot...

  13. Wheeet-wheeeew (er, that's a wolf-whistle).

    Clever! It looks fabulous. I hope you get those paints out again soon!!

  14. LOVE IT! the color is gorgeous, nice, nice work lady!

  15. I'm so glad that you were able to save it because it's sooooooo cute!

  16. What a fabulous looking dress. Hurrah!

  17. My jaw has hit the floor. Whoa do you know how to wield the green! I'm liking the chutzpah while also keenly impressed that you own matching green shoes!


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