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.
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.
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.
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!
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!