Monday, 22 July 2013

Eek, here's my first refashion!

A few months ago I went to the Vintage Fair at the Town Hall in Oxford with a few friends. We all bought some lovely items and I picked out a couple of dresses for refashioning. I have never refashioned anything before but it has been high on my list for a while. The recent heat has revealed a lack of summer clothes suitable for work. I have been scrabbling around each morning and then I remembered this dress.

Poppies original

I was drawn to the print. I like the big poppies, which makes it busy but balanced through the visible background. It is made from a lightweight cotton, perfect for warm weather although it does it has a high crease factor. I pondered for a bit about what I wanted to do and as I was inspecting the item looking for inspiration I realised it was hand made! I first noticed that the edges have been finished by hand. The darts and seams are all back stitched. It must have taken an age to stitch this together. Being able to appreciate the work that the previous owner had put into it made me decide to stay true to the original design and more determined to do a good job. 

Poppies: hand made proof

To begin with I removed the sleeves and the shoulder pads. The side seams were taken in a fair bit to give a more fitted shape and finished using mock french seams to encase the raw edge. The original dress didn't have a zip and I wanted to avoid putting one in, if possible as the centre back seam allowance wasn't in the best condition as it hadn't been finished. It was the only seam that hadn't. I took care of that with a zigzag overlock stitch. 

Poppies refashioned 2

I took in the shoulder seams by 2cm to align more with my shoulders. I originally wanted to finish the edge with bias tape on the inside but it just wouldn't sit right and after two failed attempts I gave up. Bias tape made from the original sleeves worked much better!

Poppies refashioned

The original hem was deep, easily 10cm with another 3cm folded under. I marked a new hem, just above my knee, and snipped off the excess fabric. I chose a 3cm hem to provide a little bit of structure. 

This was a simple refashion but it was good to dip my toe in the water. I'm pleased with the result. It felt good to wear it in the office - this is very much a work dress! 


20 comments:

  1. That's a great refashion, I was the same, had to build up to actually having a go, but with such a success you must be feeling really pleased. Perfect for work in this heat :)

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    1. It's strange, I'm happy to take on a complex sewing project but a refashion took me a long time! I'm very happy with it.

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  2. Such a great print, and what a difference with a few simple alterations. I keep meaning to give refashioning a go but it always seems more hassle than just making something from scratch. This looks pretty simple though, and now you have a perfect dress for working in this weather.

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    1. Thanks Jo. It is definitely worth trying. The problem I had is knowing where to cut to make the changes!

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  3. Claire, that's bloody marvellous! I'm rubbish at seeing the potential for remakes. You've done a great job, and it looks lovely on you.

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    1. Thanks Sabs! I also struggle to see the potential and am often envious of other refashioners. It was good to try it.

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  4. Wow! Incredible! I just don't have the eye for refashioning, so I'm always super-impressed with anyone who can do it! Your "new" dress is lovely!

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  5. it looks soooo much better now, great job. here's to many more refashions :d xxx

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    1. Aw, thanks Hannah. My adventures into refashioning will be baby steps!

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  6. You've done a great job with that Claire, a vast improvement on the original!

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    1. Thanks Sam, not bad for a first try!

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  7. The dress looks wonderful now - and you've also learnt how garments used to be made. I remember overcasting seams by hand on the first dress I ever made. And hems were always deep - the idea was that it weighted the garment.

    It certainly will be lovely in the office. I wonder what you could do with the leftovers - although I suppose the bias strips used quite a bit.

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    1. Thanks Sarah Liz. I have some leftover and it has gone into my scrap pile while I think about what to use it for.

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  8. Wow! You've done a fantastic job with this :) It's really flattering on you and a perfect work dress. Well done!

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  9. That's lovely Claire, and I like that you've managed to keep a lot of the original shape and style of the dress, as well as turning it into something really nice.

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    1. Thank you, I wanted to try and stay true to the original.

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  10. You did an amazing job! And the dress looks so nicely fitted - did you take in the side seams a bit? I just thought, the dress will go perfectly with a blazer - so really great for the office even on colder days :)

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    1. I did take the side seams in, quite a bit around the waistline to bring a little bit of definition. Good thought with a jacket, I can see that working with a pair of tights as autumn approaches.

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