Something from Nothing (almost)

This is a story of two stories.

The first story is this: Back in 1982, I was in Scotland. Having always heard that I had Scottish ancestors, I took the opportunity to research the family clan. I found the clan, the tartan, and the clan motto. (of course, years later I found that I started with the wrong ancestor’s name, but that didn’t stop me from claiming the clan for myself).

The clan motto was “Neither spare nor dispose.” I took that to heart. Although I’m not sure what the Scottish meant by it when they originally created the motto, I took it to mean, “We don’t give it away, and we don’t throw it away.” Thus I have justified my ability to collect more fabric, more yarn, and more patterns than I can possibly use in this life or the next!

This brings me to the subject of this entry – Something for Nothing (almost).

About a week ago I found I needed a Halloween costume. Yes, for THIS Halloween. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of CFIDS is mounting medical bills. Work missed + medical bills = not enough money for a costume. So I borrowed a phrase from my grandparents’ generation, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

I took a look around at what I had on hand. I found the aborted attempt at a purple chiffon wedding dress, 5 yards of sturdy black cotton in my fabric drawer, and an old pattern from the 1980s. I added $15.00 worth of netting and spiders, some silver buttons, and came up with this:

steampunk fortune teller

I really need to get a better camera so my pictures aren’t so blurry…

At any rate, I picked up the layers of the skirt on the wedding dress into swags. I cut the top of the dress off (the part that didn’t fit) and covered the raw edge with black ribbon.

The 5 yards of black twill cotton became a long, gathered skirt and a short fitted jacket. I used scraps from the wedding dress to make the lapels on the jacket.

the jacket

The netting and spiderwebs I draped into a bustle on the back of the skirt.


I’m adding a black snood, black lace mitts, a black lace shawl, and some costume jewelry.

So I will be reading the cards at a local Haunted House this weekend and next, dressed in my Steampunk Fortune Teller’s outfit.

So what do you have hanging around? Kids outgrown their jeans? Have some spare quilt batting? Turn them into potholders or trivets. T-shirts can be cut into strips and crocheted or braided into rugs. I even use my scraps of embroidery floss by putting them in the birdcage for our finches to buils their nest.

Oh, yes. I promised you two stories. Here’s the second story:

When I was 9 years old, my mother sat me down at her old Kenmore sewing machine and said, “I hate to sew. You will hate to sew. But every woman should know how.” Here I am, 46 years later, with an entire room devoted to sewing and crafting. She never dreamed it would take me so far. And when I sit down to work, I invariably think of her.

Thanks, Mom.

Now let’s go create something!