I See Crazy Patterns

Sewing as illness

Pretty Poly?

Can Crimplene ever be cool? I mean, anyone who remembers the mid-’70s should know that wearing it’s a clammy business, but my question is meant in a philosophical sense.

I have often thought of it as a highly underrated fabric.  What could be better than a dress that doesn’t crease? Until Stella McCartney or someone knocks up a dress that can fill in SORN applications or end the career of Bill Tidy, nothing.

Anyway, I loved Simplicity 5961 so much that I had to make it again. Research revealed that I actually can’t wear that Minnie Dress, so I went to Walthamstow Market and picked up a yard of orange cotton and a yard of turquoise cotton. When I got it home I realised that it was thin enough to spit through; so thin that it took on the colour of whatever lining I put behind it (you didn’t expect me to have the right colour lining did you?)

So I decided to make a dress out of one of the pieces from the fabric mountain in the back room. And there it was. CRIMPLENE! A pale blue, heavily textured (until I started ironing it, at least) yard or so with a white geometricy-type pattern on it, purchased from eBay during my great Crimplene phase of 2003 (shortly before I realised Crimplene was a disgusting fabric and swore never to make anything from it). This is what happened.




So, Crimplene pros:

  • Doesn’t crease
  • I like the idea of a fabric manufactured by ICI
  • Nobody else will wear it

Crimplene cons:

  • Static
  • Flammable
  • Image problem

Incidences of me being set on fire have dropped dramatically since 2004, and so I’m willing to brave the Cons. I’m obviously a fashion leader, not a follower, so any image problem is YOURS to be frank.

I’m travelling a lot this year, and so I really could do with a dress that I can just crumple up into a ball (and potentially set on fire). First of all, I’m going to the Edinburgh fringe – can I wear this without becoming one of the acts?


17/08/2009 - Posted by | Sewing | , , , , , , , ,


  1. I know what you mean, I have a feeling of slight shame regarding crimplene, as if I’m doing something I shouldn’t be. I have a few dresses that I’ll wear with pride – remember the turquoise and white one? There is also a striped blazer that I like, but I could never bring myself to wear the matching trousers.

    Comment by The Director | 17/08/2009 | Reply

  2. I think the striped blazer and trousers combo sounds amazing!

    Oh yeah…I’ve got a turquoise and white one too, as worn in the same photo! Oh we need that photo again!

    I also have a BRIGHT green and LARGE white polka dots one, which I could only wear on the Gijon ‘holiday’ from hell – I wished I was dead at that point, so I had nothing to lose.

    It’s so PRACTICAL though isn’t it?!

    Comment by natalieannjohnson | 17/08/2009 | Reply

  3. Does this come in bridal white?


    Comment by gypsyrosewrites | 24/08/2009 | Reply

  4. If anyone would ever want such a thing, it would!

    Comment by natalieannjohnson | 24/08/2009 | Reply

  5. I have decided to give this pattern a go, so am doing it in a red, white and blue patterned fabric with a red collar – wish me luck!

    Comment by The Director | 24/08/2009 | Reply

  6. Fantastic – I think you will enjoy it. Much more than the pleats! I didn’t wear crimplene or Minnie Mouse in Edinburgh btw… May make it again myself, in a wearable fabric.

    Comment by natalieannjohnson | 24/08/2009 | Reply

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