Nasturtium Blouse

by Leigh Reveley


Our latest design planted itself in my subconscious about seventeen years ago. It all started with this one piece of fabric I would see out of the corner of my eye at my studio. Every day. Every damn day for the DECADE that I did Textile restoration. It was unceremoniously shoved in between stacks of fabric from the 30s and 40s, scraps we collected for repairing quilts. It was white with the faintest of gray stripes and orange and green Lantana blossoms. 

It was ALMOST a dress- a little 1940’s day dress, the darts and gathers were stitched, but the top and bottom were attached with rusty straight pins- an unfinished piece that haunted me- who was the woman who made this 70 years ago and then just discarded it? What was her life like? Did she have pincurls in her hair, watching her kids out the screen door? And this fabric is PRETTY, it is hard for me to imagine anyone just quitting on it. What happened? I would let my mind wander, thinking about her story while I repaired tapestries and lace veils.

I guess twelve years is my threshold because twelve years after I first saw it, two years after I’d left the studio, I just broke down and asked if I could have it.  I am now the proud owner of an almost dress.

When Cricket and I were trying to find fabric for our boat neck blouse, I came across a more modern, vibrant version of it. Instead of Lantana, it is Nasturtium blossoms- still orange and green. To top it off, the green has a malachite thing to it- a continuation of my design stream of consciousness from our dyed malachite blouses for St. Patrick’s Day. It was perfect. AND ORGANIC.

And the almost dress? It’s almost a blouse. After cleaning up the rust from the pins and damage due to age, there was less fabric to work with, just enough for a lovely little silhouette from the 40s. I will post pics when I finish it.

Libellule's Nasturtium Blouse and Summer Skirt are available at Peony Nola at 2240 Magazine St. in New Orleans.