Friday, June 18, 2010

dress refashion #1

I finally got the after photos for two refashioning projects I completed last month. Here is the post I wrote about the first one:

What began as an innocent and simple little plan of shortening a couple of dresses has turned into the more significant project of full-blown refashioning. See, it started with my mom's suggestion that I shorten one of my formal dresses. I never have the chance to wear my formal dresses, and the idea was that if I shortened it, it would still be dressy, but not so dressy that I couldn't wear it, say, to an afternoon wedding. I mulled it over, liked the idea, and decided to shorten another formal dress too. I tried them both on, and then the ideas started getting out of hand.

The dress I decided to start with was one of my favorites for dressy flute performances in highschool. I decided that if I shortened the skirt, the original top (or...ah...the large shoulder pads) would make the dress too top-heavy. So, I decided to start by taking out the shoulder pads. Here is a list of what I did (if you're not interested in the details, just scroll on down to the "after" photos):

1. I took out the shoulder pads and discovered (as I anticipated) that without them there, all the extra fabric sagged, making for a very baggy bodice.
2. I next got my mom's help to cut off the sleeves and trim the bodice to where I wanted to reattach the sleeves.
3. The next step was to rework the darts, making a curved dart from the empire waist to the sleeve. This simulated what would happen in a fitted bodice made from three curved pieces. I had to sew, try on, and sew again several times until I got the perfect, smooth fit I envisioned.
4. I then reattached one of the original sleeves and tried the dress on. It looked beautiful: the curved dart was smooth, and the sleeve sat nicely. There was one problem, though: I couldn't move in it. I had taken off too much fabric to make the bodice smooth and tailored.
5. A brain storm time out was called. As I rummaged through my stash of patterns looking for ideas for a solution, I found a pattern with a graceful flutter sleeve.
6. I measured where I wanted the new hem line to fall and trimmed the extra fabric off the bottom of the dress. I had plenty of extra fabric for cutting out the flutter sleeves from the pattern I had found. With a little tiny bit of tweaking they fit perfectly!
7. I hemmed and sewed on the new flutter sleeves and hemmed up the bottom of the dress.
8. After a little bit of ironing, I was good to go! I had a "new" beautiful but not-too-dressy, un-top-heavy little dress.

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