Sunday, January 31, 2010

Knowing When to Stop

This refashion made me curse. A lot. The really naughty swears too. Not because it was p'tictly difficult but because I apparently don't know when to stop.

It made me rethink my most dearly held belief, "everything looks better with a ruffle or a bow" and I had to take TWO days of stepping away from it to realise that it was done. AFTER I'd made unnecessary meters of ruffle and after I'd drafted and cut out a Peter Pan collar (which actually was good practice but frustrating not to use).

Anyway. Here's the before, purchased for silly cheap in the Old Navy sale :

Blue dress before

It's, well... when my sweetie saw it on for the first time he said, completely earnestly,
"I like your new nightdress".
Which yup. Totally fair. I explained that it wasn't in fact a nightdress and he stammered about what a nice new dress it was (because he's awesome).

But I knew he was right the first time. Still, I actually wore it in all it's shapeless glory a few times with jeans and a cardi. And an extra 42 lbs of Erin chubs. It was not my bestest look ever.

But I turned it into this:

Blue dress after

It's now proper dress length instead of unflattering tunic length, it has slightly puffy sleeves and it has a drawstring waist. I'm actually really happy with it.

Here's what I did.

First I snipped the lining of the dress out. Which means that I'll need to wear a slip. But actually, turns out my granny was right, one really should always wear a slip. Avoiding cling and smoothing bumps AND not flashing your dainties is awesome. She was less right about the smoking and alcoholism, but you can't win em all.

Then I got rid of the STINKING pockets.
Those suckers sat exactly at my hips and puffed out. I'm plenty puffy on the hips already. So I sewed the gaps up and cut the pocket fabric out.

The length was just exactly wrong on me. . I used the hemmed bottom of the lining to add length (yay for LAZY!) but I added a bit of interfacing so it wasn't so flimsy.
I used the blue bias binding along the hem to tie together the two colours and (I hope) make the bit at the bottom look less random. I used it on the sleeves too.

Next, I unpicked the ruching from the back yoke and added a huge, practically-the-whole-length-of-the-dress dart, which made it a bit less sack like.

I was going to add darts at the front under the boobs but while I happened to be perusing Anthro (big surprise!) I spotted this little Orla Kiely number.

It's the Beanstalk dress and it's $229 Canadian.
I decided that a drawstring waist was the way to go, so I made a channel on the inside of the dress to run a drawstring through. Then I hand stitched two buttonholes to pull the ribbons out of. I can take pictures of what that looks like if you've a burning curiosity. I found it about a MILLION times easier to hand stitch the buttonholes than to machine them and pick them out 50 times.
I used a spot of grey ribbon as a drawstring but I might switch it out for the plain light blue. I tried it with the dark blue but it was a bit "HEY TUMMY! WHOOO" which, as previously discussed, is not cool.

And ta-da. Done. Well it would have been if I had the sense to leave it alone. But nope.
I made acres of ruffles out of the light blue. They looked... not awesome.
So, inspired by the Orla dress I made a collar which looked.... nightdressy. Also not awesome.

So I stalled. Hung the dress up and left it alone for two days.
And realised. Dude. That dress is done. So here it is.

While we've had a mild winter it hasn't been, strolling-around-in-shirtsleeves-warm; so I've shown it as I'll be wearing it now. But here's how I'll wear it when it warms up a bit. (um, but with a slip underneath. You can see my foundation garments a bit in this shot. Avert your eyes if you're easily offended!)

Blue dress summer1

As a weird aside, I look a bit like a picture of my mum in the '70's in this shot, only not as pretty (my ma, is a stone fox).


  1. Well done! (I can't see your undies at all in that photo!). Great dress. I'm also guilty of buying shapeless sack dresses... they seem so nice and look great on anorexic people... but I tend to be of the opinion that if you have a waist, you're better off showing it off!

  2. Love the drawstring idea! That would be cute on a tunic, also. I'll have to file that away in my idea bank. :)

  3. I love what you did to this's quite lovely. And don't think I'm weird, but I think you are quite beautiful yourself.

  4. Oh, SO much better! No-one will mistake it for a nightdress now.

  5. Thanks you guys! I wore it out for a lunch date with a short blond fellow today and I'm STILL really happy with it!


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