Tuesday, August 19, 2014

gifts from an ugly green dress

I had a dress in the late '90s/early'00s. I found it in an op (charity/thrift) shop in Australia. It was a slightly fitted, short sleeve shift dress and it was made of a strange flecked, 100% unnatural stretch fabric in various shades of green. It was affectionately known as The Ugly Green Dress and I wore it with clumpy shoes. It became one of those nostalgic items that I couldn't throw away, so it migrated to my stash. I used it to make a cushion for my sewing chair many years ago and the rest has been languishing ever since.

Then I had a baby who, way back in February, was getting good at doing animal noises. She was particularly good at a snake hiss, so I got the remnants of The Ugly Green Dress out of the stash and I made her a snake to play with.

The body of the snake (do snakes have bodies or are they mostly tail?) is made up of two long strips of patched together sections of the dress. The forked tongue is red leather and the eyes are buttons.

I made it in the evening and left it poking its head into her cot for her to find when she woke up in the morning. I have to admit I wasn't sure if we were going to wake up to her screaming at the intruder but she was happily playing with it when I went in to say good morning.  Months later and she still likes to play with it. The snake does lots of spinning with her! 

Cut to last month and my friend's birthday. She's a crafty gal who likes to sew who lives in a flat that faces the wrong way to get the right sort of light for house plants. So again I reached for The Ugly Green Dress scraps to make her a cactus pin cushion. Hooray, a useful house plant that won't die! 

This time I used the wrong side of the fabric because it looked more cactus-y to me. I drew a cactus shape as a template, stitched it right-sides-together, clipped and turned it and packed it really tightly with pollyfill.

I attached the cactus to a gathered-together 'soil' ball also stuffed with pollyfill and stitched a patch to the bottom to cover up the messy gathers. The cactus sits in a little pot I found in a charity shop, and being able to take it out of the pot like this means that you can store extra pins in the base of the pot if needed.

I really like this pincushion and I reckon I have just enough of the fabric left to make one for myself. 

Thank you Ugly Green Dress, you just keep on giving.