I love embroidered pieces but lack the patience and skill to embroider garments myself. Reluctant as ever to resign myself to ready to wear I got creative and asked my antique dealing mother for any embroidered table cloths she has knocking about. She kindly donated two such cloths to my fashion cause and one really caught my eye in particular. A heavyweight cotton with bold embroidered flowers from the four countries which make up the British Isles- a daffodil for Wales, shamrock for Ireland, thistle for Scotland and rose for England. There is something so delightfully traditional about this idea of national flowers and although I do not consider myself to be wildly patriotic I do enjoy learning more about longstanding traditions. For example, when researching this blog post I learnt that the rose was adopted as England's emblem after the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485) as the civil wars were fought between the houses of Lancaster and York who's emblems were a red and white rose.
These four symbols can be found in various designs throughout history, most recently embroidered onto Kate Middleton's wedding dress by the Royal School of Needlework.
So I was inspired to make my fancy tablecloth into something more special. There is something so joyful and summery about the contrast between the white cotton and the bright embroidery threads and so, as I was planning a hot summer holiday to Portugal at the time, I decided to make a little loose flowy cotton shift dress.
I decided to use McCall's 7080 as I have made it in pink spots and pink elephants for myself and in green spots for Clare. I did alter it slightly by omitting the waist tuck. I used an old sheet for the skirt panel cos I'm classy...
I spent a long time deciding the best way to cut the bodice and put a seam down the centre front to allow me to make it symmetrical and I am actually really pleased with how I placed the embroidery.
The finished frock ready to merrily skip through British fields...
So super comfy in the heat. Here are my dress and I having a lovely time finding signs with my name on in Lisbon.
That's all for today. Hope you like my tablecloth dress. Who doesn't love a dress project, special thanks to my lovely mummy for the table cloth, and to my boyfriend for letting me cut up one of our sheets :) If you too would like to make a dress like this but don't have a mother with a cupboard of old tablecloths then I would recommend visiting antique shops, charity shops and carboot sales. Remember to check for stains which you can't cut around.
Thanks for reading and happy sewing x o x o