Frankenstein’s couch

20 Jun

It may not say much for my taste, but I’ve always liked the fashions of the 1870s because, not in spite of the fact that they look like upholstery: pleats, cording, heavy swags–love it.

Upholstered dresses, mid-1870s.


Making curtains into dresses, of course, calls to mind two famous cinematic (or novelistic) scenes: Scarlett O’Hara dressing up in drapery to go seduce Rhett Butler, and Maria Kutschera dressing her charges in drapery to, as it turns out, seduce Captain von Trapp. The critical commonplace (“critical commonplace” is what people say when they’re about to use a scholarly cliche) about women’s fashions of the mid-nineteenth century is that they restrict women’s movements as a symbol of restricted social roles, and that the upholstered fashions are symbolic of the way that women were supposed to be decorative rather than useful–in theory, at least, if not in practice. That’s why Scarlett’s use of curtains is supposed to be (I think) subversive: it upends the idea that women are supposed to be decorative by literally using curtains in order for Scarlett to do something extremely useful, when the men have all failed her. She’s performing being decorative in order to get the money that she needs: it’s an amplification of what women were “supposed” to be doing and I think is supposed to point out how absurd that is.

Anyway, my predilection for upholstery-inspired fashion is the only explanation I can offer for this:

A little blurry, but the only decent backside picture.

I don’t know what possessed me to think that this fabric would make a good romper. I wanted to make some rompers for Abby because she has a hard time crawling in dresses, and, well, rompers are cute! So, I spliced together the Sadie Shirt and the Big Butt Baby Pants and came up with something that can really only  be termed a monstrosity.

She’s been taking some steps!

Every once in a while I look at it and think, Hey, that’s not so bad. And then I see the look on my husband’s face and determine that, actually, it is that bad.

She's still pretty cute, though.

I’m going to detach the pants from the bodice and see if it works as a shirt–although, I cut the neckhole too big, so it may just end up in the “quilt” pile. That’s how I steel myself to cut into fabric: I promise myself that someday I’ll make a quilt out of all the scraps. As you can see by the mess on my floor in this pre-bias taped version, Abby located that bag of scraps.

What else can she destroy?

To say nothing of the fabric, I think my skills have not quite caught up to my vision. Maybe stick with other people’s patterns for now, hm?

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4 Responses to “Frankenstein’s couch”

  1. stitchandpurl June 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    I love your title! It’s not so bad… is it? The pattern on the fabric is fabulous though.

  2. firstmute June 22, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    I can’t tell how bad it is, that’s the problem! I do love the fabric–just wish I’d made something else with it!

  3. Kristine July 1, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    I really love that print and bold patterns and colors on babbies and toddlers in general.. I have never understood why pastels seem to be the uniform so many babies are issued …

    • Kristine July 1, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

      um, yea, I meant BABIES, not babbies. But now that I think about it, “Babbies” is a pretty cutesy word. There might be a children’s book series around that idea. Hmm …

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