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Jun 2, 2013

What Would You Do With a Bolt of Purple Corduroy?



I will not waste your time with any more hypothetical questions, friends.  This is for real.

I was walking the dogs today when what did I stumble upon just a few blocks from home than a discarded bolt of purple cotton corduroy.  I know it sounds crazy, but it really happened.

This is not the first time I have found bolts of fabric in the street, but purple cotton corduroy?  I'd love to know the backstory.







This bolt is 60" wide and has no stretch.  Inside the cardboard roll was this card:



A quick internet search led me to this website, which suggests that this is high quality corduroy, 100% cotton and woven in the UK.  How this bolt ended up abandoned thousands of miles from Lancashire is anybody's guess.

Now I must be honest: while I did once intend to make a cranberry corduroy suit a few years ago (I completed the pants only) and was coincidentally wearing lavender corduroy shorts when I stumbled upon this bolt today, corduroy is not my favorite fabric in the world, nor is purple my favorite color (though it is part of my "Color Me Beautiful" palette).



It has, for me, strong associations with the 1970's, for one thing.  It's not the stuff of ballgowns or chic vintage 40's ensembles -- or is it?







Then there's this very groovy vintage Biba midi dress.  Very "Rhoda."



I am going to have to think outside the box. What else could I make with this stuff?

Bell bottoms.



Doll clothes.



Bean bag chair.



Horse.



Mod pantsuit (with matching cap).



Sport coat.



Reupholstered sofa.



In closing, friends, what would YOU do with an entire bolt of purple cotton corduroy?

I'm all ears!

102 comments:

  1. Two words: Laura Mae.

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  2. I think you should donate it to me. I'm just saying.

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    1. I think you could then share it with me, SEWN;) That's a lot of corduroy!

      I have two young daughters, so I'd use it for them to make pants, skirts, jumpers, and jackets.

      I quite like the ballgown and vintage suits. Cathy could totally work those outfits!

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  3. Maybe not a reupholstered sofa, but a comfortable chair could look interesting and be super cushy and curl-up-able... :)

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  4. All of the above! I think the bean-bag chair cover is cool and a skirt and a shirtdress...

    and definitely some slacks!

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  5. I was thinking couch before I got to the end of the post, but a chair would be wonderful and one of my most favorite pairs of pants were purple ccrds...but it was 1972.

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  6. Please please please! Send me a two or three metres! I could make a really nice pair of jeans from it - and with winter approaching fast (it rained here ALL weekend!) I could use a new pair of purple cords!

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  7. I would invest in a rolling foot and then stitch up a vintage coat for Cathy. Maybe a matching one for Simplicity. I think Cathy would look great in purple with her dark hair.

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  8. Hmm, I have few kiddos that I know that I could make some cute clothes out of it. I enjoy working with corduroy.

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  9. I'd dye part of it into a deep purple, maybe a wine color too. I wouldn't stick with that color all the way through.

    Definitely a blazer in that color, a trench coat in a dyed color section, maybe upholstery.

    Dying it would definitely give more options.

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  10. Have a contest. Award the winner a bolt of corduroy. You could also sell it and use the proceeds to buy fabric you like.

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  11. It would make some lovely soft washable dog beds. I agree with Kris, dyeing it would make it a lot more wearable. I recommend Jacquard Procion dyes. It would probably take a black dye very well. Then send what you don't dye or make dog bed out of, to me.

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  12. OMG - you live the craziest life! I would never pick something up from the street (I'm flippy that way). And that colour/fabric is not my thing. I got nothin'.

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    2. K.Line: I'm squeamish too. At least it didn't have a body rolled up in it. In New York, things like that happen.

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  13. You know how some quilters' groups will give a packet of the same fabric to everyone, and then see what they make? Send a yard or two to each of your favorite sewists and see what they come up with!

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    1. Very fun! My other suggestion would be a Willy Wonka Halloween costume. Back in college, I had a purple cord blazer that I loved and wore with everything - jeans, wool skirts, trousers.

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    2. THat's a really good idea!

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    3. I like this idea too... Or have one of those contest like the refashionistas (miss p...) are doing right now. Send some yardage to bloggers and see how creative they can be. :)

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    4. Then everyone could gather at the next MPB Day in their creations. Wait. Wouldn't that be almost like a Von Trapp moment? But instead of discarded toile drapes, discarded purple corduroy. Sounds like a fab photo op!

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  14. P.S. I'll take a yard or two for the contest- it'd be fun!

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  15. They used to say that "in London the streets are paved with gold" that doesn't matter at all because in New York the streets are lined with corduroy. Peter - free fabric you are so lucky! I vote you make a pair jeans for you with some of it and of course something for Ms Cathy Lane. The 40s jacket and Skirt looks swingadilla!

    Hugs
    G

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  16. Ever since 1971, when an ex-boyfriend had a three piece suit tailored for him in purple velveteen, I've wanted one too. Purple corduroy would make a dandy casual three piece suit.

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  17. Make a bag! (Surely gentlemen have bags, no? Cathy I do not see with a corduroy bag ... but maybe a playsuit?) Or a vest! A jacket could look awesome, but the purple might be a little too bright? :) Geesh, what luck you have and so many metres ... if the colour turns you off, just dye it, since it seems to be good quality, it should come up with good results. And if you really cannot cope with the fabric and/or colour, I'd take a few metres "off your shoulders", too. ;)
    What would I do with it? Skirt or dress. (How do you call them in English? Jumper?) A Vest for sure (love them). Then a bag out of the left-overs. I'd love every little tiny piece up. :) Corduroy is my favourite, only surpassed by my gigantic love for tweed (and all wooly-fabrics). *sighs*

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    1. here in Oz, what Americans call a "jumper" we call a pinafore or overdress. Jumper (here) is what they call a sweater (or a kangaroo!)

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  18. Is it a fine pin-wale corduroy? Because the answer is a shirt of some kind. If I had enough for pants I would make it a set! Some silver jewelry and I would be good! Very, very Halston!!

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  19. Dye it and use it to upholster the couch...I love purple just not this shade .... Curtains might be another option but then I don't like dark curtains either ....

    But I'll tell you this - Lucky you! Fabrics and machines do seem to find you ...

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  20. Ooh, I love purple and I love corduroy! I think you should make a pair of trousers for you, a coat or gored skirt for Cathy and then share the wealth! LOL!

    I'll take 2 yards :)

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  21. ;) Donate it to me, and it will become winter dresses for four little girls this fall....

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  22. Lap robes to donate to a VA hospital. Corduroy is great backing for lap robes as the lap robe will not slide off a wheelchair patient's lap.

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  23. Purple 40s-style suit. Purple 70s maxi dress. Purple sofa. That's what I would do.

    You might cut it into 2 yard bits and send it to your fans for the cost of postage.

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    1. Fab idea! I love purple and corduroy and will happily pay postage. If that doesn't appeal, then a Bibaesque dress for Cathy.

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  24. I SO want you to make a frock coat and trousers! That's what I'd make. With a vest.

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  25. My oldest is obsessed with purple (she's 13, so that's probably why). She'd probably have me do another beanbag cover in purple corduroy, as well as a couple of big throw pillows for the floor for when friends come over. Then she'd probably request several different garments - pants, a skirt and a jean jacket. Also probably a bag of some kind and maybe even a hat.

    My younger daughter (6.5 years) would probably want a jumper or some kind of a dress made from it. As a matter of fact, I have some velveteen in a wild print that has this exact shade of purple, but not enough for a dress, so I'd use it to accent a purple corduroy dress. She might even take some pants of some kind. Purple is her second favorite color, after yellow.

    I'd happily take some yardage if it were offered. :)

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    1. ahem. _I'm_ obsessed with purple (just ask my family and coworkers!) and I'm certainly not 13, so I'm not sure why! I have purple hair (well, partially, anyway) and wear purple so often that people at work ask what's wrong when I choose to wear another colour!

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  26. Last year I made my partner a 70's style coat (Butterick 6464) and flares for our annual Winter Party (I wore a kaftan) out of purple (jumbo) cord. I have also made us both overalls out of (micro) cord. Very comfy to were around the house when your sewing or relaxing. So thats my suggestion: Purple cord overalls!

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  27. I'd be in a cord challenge and I'm in NY next week. Whatdayathink? I can drop by and pick up a piece from you.

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  28. Well, first I would wash it to check it for holes and bugs. After that? Either a project that calls for scads of yardage or give it away, because that color can't keep popping up without me getting sick of it- And it seems a shame to muslin forever in a fabric that so many people want!

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  29. I was going to suggest something evocative of Biba.... That shade of purple cries out for something grand and ostentatious like a historic inspired vintage getup. For me, I would make a corset with embroidery on it, a jacket to go over it --something a little on the steampunky side and a hat. Then I'd make a cover for my chair and a sewing machine cover to match my PCP, Perhaps a skirt or jumper in the vein of the last PR winner too. With the gobs you have, there would still probably be enough to make play clothes for the Von Trapps as well.

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  30. A purple maxi dress! Now why didn't you pick up those false eyelashes at the street stall a few posts back...
    Or you could end me 3m via Velosewer! Count me in if you hold a contest!

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  31. Send it to me! Corduroy is somewhat of a family tradition for The Hubby's side, and purple is hands-down my son's favorite color. Since his waist is so itty-bitty but his legs are lanky I have to make all of his pants.

    But, seriously, what a great find!

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  32. I'm going to suggest something boring like garment bags. When I used to ride horses it was the trend to have matching garment bag, saddle cover, helmet case and boot bag in barn colors. Purple could be your barn color.

    http://www.suitability.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=7333

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  33. I was rather drawn to the ball gown, because really how often do you see that. Well, considering where you live you actually might come across this more often.

    Actually I can see a vintage coat in that. Vogue has rereleased a pattern (V8875) that in itself looks not like much, but the original release looked much better and I think it might suit the purple corduroy. Here is a site where you can see a picture of the original pattern envelope.
    http://blog.pattern-vault.com/tag/vogue-patterns/page/5/

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  34. I think its gorgeous! I like the idea of a 'common fabric' project with a few of your fans, but I would use it for a bright trench coat, and maybe a circle skirt. Certainly getting to cordrouy weather here (NZ) some slacks would be good, but I also love the ball gown in your post. Good luck deciding what to do with it!

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  35. A long trench coat and matching flat top cap? Time Cathy visited the early 70s perhaps?

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  36. I think Cathy needs that mod suit with the matching cap.

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  37. No bell bottoms! I like the horse, the dog jacket and bean bag chair. I'd hate to see you spend a ton of time on the sport jacket and pants and not be able to wear it much!
    Holley in Roseville MN

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  38. First thing I thought was to reupholster something traditional. Dining chairs, perhaps, or a club chair. Perhaps your cousin Cathy has a tuffet or a makeup stool at her vanity? If you'd like to make me that 40s suit, I won't complain ; ). A pencil skirt would be nice, as well.

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  39. I think it should not be make into clothes. Sorry. It would look very good anywher around the house.

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  40. Honestly, I think you would look Devine in a sport coat. That bean bag chair is a really good idea. You have a lot of fabric at 60" wide, you could slip cover more than one chair, make coat and the bean bag chair. Don't forget to frame a piece so that you have a great conversation item to share. I love a good story. Brilliant!!!!!! Don't forget an out fit for the pups in your life. Oh, list it on etsy, under supplies. Sell what you don't use, use the money you have earned for charity, one good turn deserves another. Lastly, pass your good fortune on, make something for a homeless person. The universe works in interesting ways. Lastly, I love your blog.... Gabrielle

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  41. Wide leg trousers is what I'd make, I love a pair of wide-leg cord trousers in winter (it's winter over here atm)

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  42. Sell it on ebay and use the money to buy something you really want?

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  43. I agree - purple will be forever associated with the 1970's in my mind. I can't stand the colour purple I'm afraid - not sure if the two are linked. BUT I'm very excited that your roll of purple cord started life about five miles up the road from my home town in Lanchasire!! x

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  44. good find!
    I would make a newsboy cap and some skinny pants. Our local university has the colors of purple and gold, so I wouldn't look out of place at all, people would probably be asking where they could get the lovely pants and cap. also some sewing machine and serger dust covers and maybe some beds for my doggies. or use it to back a quilt to keep in my car, kind of like a nice, sturdy picnic/beach blanket.

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  45. If it were my choice, I'd sell the corduroy online.

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  46. Are you a Winter? How about a bustle gown for Barney?

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  47. Off topic but I thought you might like it: http://ia700808.us.archive.org/11/items/tailoringbook00bate/tailoringbook00bate.pdf

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  48. I think the contest would be fun.

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  49. I like the beanbag chair idea and a couple of matching pillows for the sofa.

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  50. I'm saying couch. Your couch appears in so many of your photos. And you always seem to be looking for new challenges - why not see if upholstery lights your candle?

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  51. I would make Cathy a pair of adorable overalls!

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  52. If I didn't like the fabric and the color and didn't want to use it as practice fabric I would donate it. Life's too short.

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  53. If it were me that had found the fabric, I'd make me a mini-skirt or a pair of jean-type trousers. I had some in a maroon colour when I was a kid and I loved loved loved them. I'm a little taller and a little wider now though.

    As it's you that found the fabric, I'd say make a corduroy smoking jacket - put 'compare the meerkat' into Google! :0)

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  54. How exciting! I live in Manchester, England. And my friend is from Todmorden! They call it 'Tod' :-) I love corduroy... it's the best fabric for a pair of 'Sunday' trousers. Lounging about pants which you can quickly smarten up. Purple may be a little loud... maybe go for house ware? It would make some lovely cushions, or uphosltery!

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  55. That gown is pretty amazing, but my first thought was 3 piece suit :o)

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  56. What fun! So lucky to find free, useable, fine fabric. Have fun with it make things you would never normally attempt like the gown in the first pic, it's fab!

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  57. Looks like you got a couple of suggestions to dye it. I think that's what I'd do. Black maybe. I did like the corduroy dresses you showed pictures of. That would be nice, too. Lane

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  58. Find a Laundromat and run it on hot for twenty minutes or so, to kill any bedbugs.

    I love the ballgown and the forties outfits. Also, a chic dogbed for your pups would be an excellent use.

    The doll would have a humungous wardrobe if you used it all for doll clothes!

    Perhaps Michael's theater group could use it for a production? You could make all their costumes and get some more professional creds.

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    1. I'm glad someone mentioned bedbugs. Before I experienced them myself, I would have picked up a free bolt of fabric without a second thought. Now, bedbugs are the first thing that come to mind. Baby bedbugs are tiny - practically invisible. Definitely protect yourself with Piffle's advice. Run the fabric in the dryer on hot for a good long time, and get rid of the cardboard/any other packaging outside of your home ASAP. If you can't get to the laundromat right away, put the fabric for now in a plastic bag and seal tightly.

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    2. It's on the balcony till I can launder it all.

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  59. I'm voting for a blazer and bean bag chair. Dye the rest!

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  60. Quilt some of it, as in add batting and diagonal stitching, not make a quilt, then use the quilted part for a vest, bodice of the ball gown, etc. The quilting will add texture Although some will quibble with quilted corduroy, I say you can't have too much texture.

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  61. I thought I posted earlier but guess it didn't post. Great find,I don't mind fabric rescue of any sort-all squeamish business about trash or plucking at the curbside evaporates at the sight of fabric calling save me. If you sell any online,I'd like to be in on the buy.

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  62. Oh I meant to add if I were sitting there in a pair of corduroy shorts wondering about this fabric, that would be a big clue as to what I could do with it. I'd get acquainted with some dye if I got weary of the purple. I'm sure you will think of all sorts of uses for it since you have it on hand. How about a luxurious piped robe for winter wear.

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  63. I think it would be sad to dye it. It's a pretty color, and I don't think it would be quite as nice once it was dyed. Still, that's a lot of fabric. Maybe a slip cover for your couch? Or sell it on ebay, maybe.

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    1. Not to mention the stains it would leave in my bathtub!

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  64. I would make the world's swishiest maxi skirt, and pretend I was Stevie Nicks! I love the photos you've posted, the strapless dress is amazing! Good luck with whatever you decide to make with it.

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  65. Ms. Cathy should get a outfit from it and Michael should get a coordinating jacket. You could do cords also.

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  66. Surely Simplicity will need some fall weight rompers in this corduroy fabric? I would find myself opening all the boxes of fabric that were in the same pile of things and having a field day selecting fun fabrics.

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  67. Hubby's favorite color...he swears he's royalty! Drapes ~ but no pinch pleats here ~ casual, fabric edges simply turned under, clipped up with fat rings. I like to change things up once in a while, furnishings are easier to change than paint, furniture or flooring.

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  68. How about a tie, a bow tie, make a striped fabric painting, the possibilities are endless!

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  69. If a shirt, a western one, using the corduroy for shoulders, collar, cuffs. If a bag, a backpack or a duffle. I would find deep purple leather to accent. If for a woman, a corset. If for an outgoing man... Chaps. For realsies, with skinny black denim or leather pants beneath. If a jacket, a bomber with a feather edged hood. If home dec, a heavy room-separating curtain for an entryway that has no door.

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  70. I love purple. Everyone is very excited by your find. So many possibilities!!!!!!! How about bias skirts (gored)? Or maxi skirts with interesting details. Hubster found a book at a sale at Sally Ann, to help us think out of the box, and change patterns, by Kate Mathews - Weekend Sewer's Guide to Dresses. She has books on other garments. More like costumes. I used to have a deep purple smock, with embroidery. Got a lot of compliments. Corduroy away. Love corduroy. Must check my corduroy cache for Sept. sewing. Cathie in Quebec.

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  71. Purple says "Mardi Gras" to me so I would make a long cape with a hood & use green & gold fabrics (or trims) to embellish the edges & around the hood & also a lining in those colors! If I was really clever I would do a Mardi Gras themed applique OR a wonderful fleur de lis for the back of the cape.

    Or you could just do a window treatment & be done with it.

    Nana

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  72. >sigh< A WHOLE BOLT of COTTON cord in my FAVE colour, just LYING ABOUT on the street!! And you say this is not the first time you have found bolts of fabric??

    Anyway, if you want a cheapie way to ensure no bedbugs, wrap it in a black something-or-other (a length of black cloth or a plastic tarp will do nicely) and LEAVE IT OUT IN THE DIRECT SUN for several hours.. Bedbugs die for sure very quickly at about 140o F.; I read about a guy who is cleaning up by going around with a portable heat chamber for people to put their furniture in and heat it up to 140oF to destroy lurking bedbugs.. That's not hot enough to do any damage; in fact the average hot water tank is usually set to about this temperature, maximum.. But a something wrapped in black and left out in the summer sun will get pretty hot and so kill any lurking vermin! I did this with a daybed mattress; for 2-3 days it lay on the deck under a black cloth in the July sun. I turned it every couple of hours to ensure it got hot all the way through.

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  73. Sorry, that should read one hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit, not 1400 F.! The zero and the small o are the SAME SIZE!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Oops, sorry about the deleted post above. I meant to say, ha, it took me a minute to figure that out. I had visions of their furniture being incinerated along with the bedbugs!

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  74. Since so many people like it, divide it up.

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  75. Oh blimey, I used to live near Todmorden, or Toddy, as it is affectionately known locally! Trust me, it will be a super quality cloth, the Mills in that area still produce for the seriously big fashion houses and Saville Row to this day. I'm a bit envious of your find, and could see you sporting a 70's suit with matching cap! Keep looking at it Peter, something will come to you I'm sure.

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  76. This is a tad more tasteful than that other 60s or 70s fab offering, Pea green (which I love). It has to be outer wear. and with this colour it's more evening wear. A 50s or 60s, a lovely opera coat with contrasting lining, or double breasted evening coat, or perhaps something with a hood? I love hoods on coats, wide ones that run from a wide collar. I do like to see lavish colours on furniture, but it would probably fade in direct light, which would be a shame.

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  77. Definitely a reproduction of Winston Churchill's smoking onesie. The original is a rich burgundy velvet with a gold monogram on the chest pocket, but hey, purple corduroy could work. I went to Churchill's birthplace earlier this year, where the smoking onesie is on display - I've been obsessed with it ever since!

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