Combo Destash, Good Stuff, 50 Projects: The Grey Dress Project

The first major project for this year began as a few metres of a really nice, soft, drapey, grey cotton from stash. I used my tried and true basic dress pattern I designed and created purely for comfort, ease of making with little to no waste of fabric, wearing and caring for. AND, it has pockets, usable, practical pockets, on show, not hidden away in the side seams. (It looks better on me than on the dress form, but I can’t take images of me wearing it)

Can’t remember at all what I purchased the fabric for, nor how long ago it made it’s way into my fabric collection. The first choice of yarn had to be discarded, even though the colour would have been a really nice match, because the care requirements could not be adhered to if attached to the dress, and I was not prepared to put on, take off, put on, take off the embellishments as laundering was undertaken.
Thus the long discontinued grey Raffaella yarn from stash was chosen.
I truly do love this yarn, it’s been in stash for about 15 years or so, along with it’s many siblings in different colours purchased on a massive throw out sale. I’ve made so many blankets, shawls, scarves, washers and things from it.

Crochet hemG

The plan was to incorporate a crocheted hem, and maybe a crochet edge of some kind on the sleeves. This one was going to be long sleeved so there’d be no need to wear a top layer unless it gets cold. Working out the most effective method for the base crochet row took a few tries. Used a bodkin and a sharp pointed crochet hook. It was slow and painstaking getting every stitch as evenly spaced as possible. From there, the design was one I’ve used as a flowing edging on other items, so was relatively easy to complete to a satisfactory depth.

All the pieces of the dress had been cut out, but not sewn up as it’s easier to crochet around smaller pieces. I decided to edge the sleeves differently from the hem and so cut narrower pieces the size of the sleeves, and blanket stitched on the inside so the outside would look neater and cleaner. I also crocheted a different pattern as one doesn’t want to catch sleeves on every pokey thing around. After forming the blanket stitches and the first few rows of crochet, I then stitched the blanket stitches down on the inside of the cuff to ensure they would not pull out of shape in wear or washing.

Pressing the stitching at every step kept everything neatly in it’s place. A final steam block and press shows the embellished cuff sitting neatly.

Grey dress Project pocketsG

The top is partially lined, with a buttoned placket and breast pockets. The top pockets are slightly misaligned, which I didn’t notice until the final sewing was done - am still thinking about what, if anything, to do about it, as undoing and redoing those underlying layers of stitching is fraught with it’s own difficulties.

Bodice pockets and buttons in place, with skirt pockets sewn on at a slight angle for ease of use. I love these pockets, they hold everything I need as I go about my days. Crochet cuffs and hem completed.

I gathered the crocheted flowers and buttons made while watching tv and embellished the skirt pockets and skirt with them, sewing them down for permanence.

Grey Dress Hair AccessoriesG

Then finally, to use the very last of the yarn, I crocheted a hair holder (similar to a bun hat but using a stick to securely hold in a pony tail), and two embellished hair clips.

Last of grey raffaellaG

The final result left only these tiny pieces of grey Raffaella yarn. There’s still about 1/2 metre of grey fabric left but all in all, a most successful destash and use the good stuff!


impressive and beautiful!

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Thank you. It’s very soft and comfortable to wear too.

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I admire anyone who can sew clothes. This is such a unique and fun outfit.


Very nice! I love the crochet embellishments. And pockets!

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I am impressed that you created a tried and true pattern that you can use over and over and yet have a new look by fabric choice and embellishments!

The crochet edging is lovely. I have found some beautiful edgings on vintage gowns. I salvage as much as I can of these handmade beauties.

I also like your bun cover.

What a good use of your stash!

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It’s so great that you know that you will get lots of use from this stash buster project and that your good stuff won’t be tucked away in the collection any longer!

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Nicely done! And I really love that color.

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I love crochet edgings on clothes; you’ve done a beautiful job on yours! And great destashing, to have so little yarn left at the end.

I added a crochet edging to the hem of a shirt once, although it didn’t turn out as nice as yours. Before I started stitching, I took a ruler and measured out where the stitches would go then marked it with a pencil, which worked pretty well.


Have you tried tiger tape? It comes in all sorts of increments and is reusable. I use it to crochet around fabrics as well as for embroidery spacing.


Thank you for your very kind comments. :heart:

I am very fortunate to be able to make the majority of my own clothes, it’s the only way I can get anything I like, or is comfortable. And which has usable pockets! :grin:

It’s really satisfying to be able to incorporate different design elements and a variety of crafts into a completed garment - makes it a very personalised one of a kind.

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Thanks for the reminder of the reason many of us took up clothes sewing: to make personalized clothing to not only make what we need with proper fitting but to also embellish and make unique items…I never liked the clothes available when I was a teen, so sewing all mine and my sister’s clothing was the only way to get what we wanted!

I have a pile of clothing fabric that I have available to use…now or never!


Yes, so much to this. I was first taught to sew around age 5, by the lovely lady who looked after me, on her treadle sewing machine. Apparently I made dolls clothes, which I went on to continue to make when allowed, on Mum’s treadle as I got older. Mum made our clothes, or they were hand me downs sent in tea chests from an Aunt. I don’t recall having a new dress made for me until I was almost 15. That dress was white, looked like a maternity dress and was to last me for every event requiring me to be ‘formally dressed’ for the next 2 years. I hated that dress so so much - there are no words to express that hatred and the ire I felt about the whole situation.
The sister got new clothes (because she’s older and needs to look … ), the brothers got new clothes, shorts, shirts, long pants (because they’re younger and wear / grow out of their things).

So I learned how to sew for myself, absorbing all I could about any craft or embellishment handiwork I could get access to. Not allowed to use Mum’s electric machine, I learned how to repair the belt on the treadle, how to service the bobbin workings etc - basically how to keep it going so I could sew.

I made my ‘going out’ clothes all through high school, and it’s never stopped really. I learned so many things, and continue to do so, and continue to make and remake too.

The first thing I purchased with savings from my pay was a second hand sewing machine!! With money of my own, I could buy fabric I liked, instead of always recycling second hand clothes, and make for myself. I still recycle and upcycle though, that has never waned. :smile:

It’s not always the things we are encouraged to do that drive us toward being better people, or learning new, different and better ways to help ourselves. :smile:


I enjoyed your story…

The first sewn dress I made for myself was with my mother. My dad was in Vietnam so my mom occupied herself with crochet and sewing. We did not have a machine. She bought precut lengths at Woolworths (now defunct) for herself, my sister, and me…all the same pink and orange floral --very fashionable back in 1968! She taught me how to use a pattern, a simple shift dress with darts and back zipper. We sewed them all by hand using backstitch and hem stitch. I LOVED that dress and wore it a lot. I was given a brand new Kenmore sewing machine from Sears that Christmas…it was the start of a lifelong hobby and has given me more than they will ever know. From then on, I made all the clothes for us, including prom gowns and wedding dresses.

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What kind and caring parents you must have had! :heart:
I cannot imagine what such a childhood would have been like, hearing such things always sounds like a fairy story. I’m glad you have things you can look back on with such joy and love.

I made all my children’s clothes, and while living in the outback where stores were roughly 8 hours travel away, I created a business making ball gowns, christening gowns and baby’s and children’s clothes, which later included a teaching program for home sewers which was supported by one of the tertiary education platforms operating.

I enjoyed those teaching and learning times immensely. :smile:


Ooh, this came out well! I like the way the flower accents bring it together & get the lace shade into the body of the dress instead of just having it as edge contrast.

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Thank you - I often add more colourful embellishments, but this time I wanted everything to be the same grey.
So much so that I’m thinking I’ll make a simple, small, possibly drawstring bag for the things that won’t fit in my pockets when I go to medical appointments or whatever. And a mask to match as well to keep complete the look. This colour really appeals to me and doesn’t look as dowdy on as it might seem to. Anyway, I don’t care what others think, I wear what works for me these days. :smile: