Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Refashion: the almost perfect dress

I bought this skirt from Goodwill for 50 cents a couple years ago for a halloween costume, and held on to it because it's super soft.  I figured it would make a nice sewing fabric, once I knew what I wanted to make with it.  In to the stash it disappeared.  

Earlier this month I found myself in the odd situation of not having any sewing projects on the table.  I'd finished everything that I had fabric for, and was about to put my sewing machine away for the week when I came across Heather's blog, Closet Case Files.  I don't know what it was about her blog that I loved so much, but I was so inspired that I just had to start a new project.  I drafted out this pattern and cut the pieces out within the hour, and whipped the rest of the dress up in the next day.  

I'd been meaning to make a shirtdress with simple pleats in the place of darts ever since I saw one of my sixty year old professors wearing one in class.  Inspiration comes from the strangest places.  

As I was sewing this dress I was convinced that it was the Most Perfect Thing that I have ever made.  The insides are all french seamed and beautiful.  The sleeves fit and don't restrict my movement.  Great, right?  Well, once I put the dress on I realized that the bodice was a couple inches shorter than I had intended it to be.  The result of this is that the dress is also a few inches shorter than I intended, and that the waistband is right under my chest.  This might not be that big of a deal, except it's a very tight waistband.  Remember how the sleeves don't restrict my movements?  The same doesn't apply to the waistband.  Yeah, I can't pick my arms up higher than shoulder level.  No big deal, right? 

At a vintage bazaar earlier this summer, a woman selling 1940-style dresses told me that waistbands on shirt-dresses used to have snaps at the waists instead of buttons, so that belts could lie flat over them more easily.  I thought it sounded like a great idea; my waistband has two snaps instead of a button.  The result of this is that if I stretch too violently the snaps pop open.  Oops.  

Next problem: the binding on the neckline was not supposed to stand straight up.  I think it's kind of cute that it does, but that was not intentional. 

Regardless of the fact that the fit is a little off on this dress, I still love it.  I just can't wear it on days where I have to move around a lot, is all.  


  1. I think you did a realy great job on this. I don't think I would have been able to pull it off.

  2. So cute! I'm so impressed, and if you ever feel like you need to practice making clothes for people beside yourself, well, just let me know ;)

    1. Haha thanks Scout! I've gotten this offer from a lot of people. If you were to find yourself near my sewing machine with enough fabric for a project, sure, I'll sew for you! But it takes time, and also it's difficult to do from across the country!

  3. Fantastic work! I love the neckline best :)