This post is long overdue! I have been procrastinating on my sewing AND procrastinating on my blogging too.
Actually I’ve been procrastinating on almost everything… just this afternoon I got caught up with putting a pile of things away in the file cabinet. Even with as little as we file, I had stuff in the pile from last September!
But anyway. I wanted to share a couple of dress refashions that I have been working on lately. Both dresses came from Value Village. I think I bought them last fall. Both were ill fitting but made from awesome print cotton fabrics.
The first one, a long lightweight black and white cotton dress, was quite big, with strange wing sleeves (the kind of thing I imagine was supposed to hide a bigger woman’s upper arms?) and a pocket full of used tissues and throat lollies. Ugh! But hey, a pocket! And it was an easy fix.
I cut those wings off (sorry, I didn’t photograph it first, so the above left picture is a bit of a re-creation) and wore it the first time pinned over a simple black dress because it had no straps yet, with a denim jacket to hide that small problem. The following week I cut 2 long strips of fabric from the wing sleeve and sewed them into a flat tube. I wasn’t sure if I would use the print fabric side or the trim side (which matches the trim on the front of the dress) so I gave myself both options. I tried it on and chose the print side and sewed the straps onto the dress. I was in such a hurry that day, finishing sewing the dress in the last 5 minutes before I needed to leave for work, that I actually left the long tails inside the dress for months before I committed to the straps for real. Yeah, procrastination. I did have to narrow the bodice area slightly with a line of stitching down each side, but the dress fits OK. I always wear it over the black dress anyway because the strappy style is not work appropriate as it stands (and I think it might be see through!) but I love this dress so much!
This picture (below) was taken the first day, right after I bought the dress, after I cut the wings off.
Now, for the other dress. I might have shared this picture before. This was the original dress and my initial plan for it. It was a really cute dress, soft, made from Indian cotton, but the bodice was made for a girl with very small boobs. Very small. Which is not me. So the plan was to cut off the bodice (which is just tucked in to test the effect in the picture below) and to make a new bodice out of a tank top. It was a good plan. It would have worked I think. But I had trouble finding a tank and then I chickened out and the dress went into the project basket for a few months.
Then Value Village gave me a gift – a second dress, identical to the first, the same size even. I thought it would look better with a new bodice made from the skirt of the second dress. If only I knew how to make a flattering bodice. hmmm… I couldn’t be bothered actually learning how to do that. So back into the basket went both dresses.
I eventually got the courage up to cut off the old bodice (“ruining” one of the dresses) and tried on the skirt again And then I made a decision. It just didn’t sit very well as a skirt. It wasn’t full enough. But since I had two skirts to work with… I looked up patterns for full gathered skirts (inspired by Zooey Deschanel in this adorable music video – sorry friends, sharing yet again!) and found that the two skirts together would be the ideal amount of fabric to make a lovely full skirt (tutorial here). Especially since the fabric is very lightweight. I cut the bodice off the second dress, then cut down one side of each skirt, preserving the zipper on one of the skirts. Then I pinned them together and sewed them into one big tube.
Now if I was patient and more invested in my sewing I would have sewed the lining and the skirt separately. Or at least done a French seam. But I am lazy so I just sewed both layers together. The lining will fray, I can tell. I am probably going to regret that laziness… -shrug-
I used a method for gathering that I found online. Basically you couch over a cord with a big zigzag and then pull the fabric on the cord to gather the waist. The tutorial is here. I had a hard time with it because of my aforementioned lazy sewing skills and lack of patience, but it was a very effective method for gathering.
I made the waistband using the waistbands from the two old skirts. I sewed them together to create a wider band and sewed it over the gathering. I did the first side by machine and then hand sewed the inside down. It covers all the gathering mess (and it was a mess! because I’m lazy and the fabric was slippery).
And here’s the skirt! It works well with the wide elastic belt that came with one of my winter sweater dresses. I wore it with a grey tank and a cardigan and it was pretty good for work. Maybe about an inch or two longer than it needs to be, but I liked wearing it. There are some loose ends to tie up (frayed ends) but for now the skirt works. And that’s good enough for me.
One day I might do things properly. You never know.
But probably not. I just don’t like sewing that much.
btw, I am borrowing a friend’s machine until she moves this month. So I have a deadline on some hemming I have been putting off. Better get on that soon!