Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dress Refashion

Two weekends ago the folks that live in the first house of my subdivision had a garage sale. This weekend they had the remnants out at the curb with a giant FREE sign. I'm sure by now most of you know how I get when I see people giving away junk. It makes me positively giddy.

The box ended up being a six on the excitement scale. It had about two yards of heavy weight, striped fabric in it that I'm not loving, but I'll still play around with and a bunch of kids clothes in various sizes-most of which I'll probably just wash up and give away on Freecycle. I like to keep the free trash cycle going.

One item that caught my eye was a little girls dress. It caught my eye because it was one of the ugliest dresses I had ever seen. It was sailor style---but not cute sailor, tacky sailor. Plus, it had giant puffy sleeves and it was ankle length, which made the dress far too dressy for the chambray it's made of. Simply put, everything about it was just too much. (Think The Duggars.) I kept the dress though because it looked as if it had never been worn and I thought at the very least I could use it for scraps.

Later on that day I looked at it a bit closer and thought that just maybe I could refashion it into something I wouldn't be embarrassed to have my daughter wear. So I set to work first by getting my seam ripper out and removing the offending areas. Bye-bye giant collar and puffy sleeves:
Taking off the collar was by far the easiest part. It was a separate piece sewn between two layers of fabric. All I had to do was take it out and then sew the neckline up again. From start to finish, it took less than five minutes.

After removing the giant sleeves, I was stuck. I had no idea what to do and the dress sat for a couple of days. Then, this morning it was as if a light bulb had lit up over my head and I knew how I wanted to finish it.

Do you remember the pink floral fabric that I used when making this apron and the lining for last weeks bag? Well, I still had some of it left and I decided to use it to make trim for the arm holes.Then I cut three inches(!) off the dress and trimmed the bottom with the floral fabric as well.
Here are some full length shots of the dress, but I must apologize. At the time they were taken my model was being quite whiny and unwilling so, bad lighting and all, they are what they are.As you can see, even after slicing off three inches, it still comes well below her knees. This was a freakishly long dress.

The waistline. I'm not loving it. (Is it called a princess waistline? Anyone?) Whatever it's called, it's not my favorite. But because the dress ties in the back, I didn't attempt to change it. I thought of slicing and dicing, but didn't want to cause problems I couldn't fix.

All in all, she loves the dress and I like it so I consider the hour or so it took to make it, time well spent. I'm hoping I can convince her to wear it with her pink Converse sneakers instead of the green Crocs she wants to wear with everything.

Note: I attempt these refashions fairly often, but most of the time they end up as failures either because I don't have the skills to make it work, or what I had planned to do just wasn't possible. Would any of you be interested in reading about some of the failures as well? I've thought about doing it a few times because I would love feedback about the projects from not only those of you who sew, but everyone. The way I see it, even if you don't sew, you probably have an idea of what looks good. So, if you leave a comment, let me know if you'd occasionally enjoy reading about my screw ups or if it would bore you.


Daphne said...

1. Completely adorable, actually. Great job.

2. Who doesn't love looking at fallen cakes and bad renovations? Bring on the failures! :)

Barefoot_Mommy said...

First of all: LOL at "ugly dress, think the Duggers!" *laughs*

Anyway, I love how it turned out! The trim really makes it very cute. If you have anymore, why not use it to hide the waist line? Remove the ties and make a wide-ish "belt" with the same fabric to cover the waist line and then have IT tie in the back.

Gotta love those cranky little models. I have one of those! And pink converses would be SOOOOO perfect.

Karen said...

It's a basque waistline. Do not ask how I know these things.

You did such a great job renovating the dress. I especially enjoy the trim.

I would LOVE to hear about the failed efforts. It would make me feel so much better about my own, I'm sure.

Dani said...

You did a great job...not Duggar-ish at all. That makes it a success right there.

I enjoy reading about the "train wrecks" of other people.

Green crocs are better than pink & purple tie-dye. The Girl's choice, not mine. As if I needed to tell you that.

Tammie said...

daphne: thanks!
and that's how i feel too. reading about other peoples mistakes and failures is the best. it makes me feel like i fit in.

barefoot mommy: when i pulled that dress out of the box my first thought was "duggar-rific!" i wish i had taken a before picture. it was just out of this world bad.
its funny you mention the waistline thing because this evening we were outside playing and as i was watching her run around i thought the same thing. but by then my model was getting really cranky. do you think i could just sew it over the existing waistline or would i have to cut the dress in half and make a whole new one? after its washed i may take another look at it. if im motivated. ;)

karen: i won't ask but wow! im impressed. and thank you.

dani: ha! yeah the tie dye is bad. my girl also has a pink pair that i bought a size too big so shed have them to grow into. she insists on wearing them now. you know, as if appropriately sized crocs aren't big and bulky enough.

thanks everyone for all the positive feedback on this. :)

Mari said...

Very funny! dress looks cute, but I think we won't be scared off by the occasional disaster!

Not Your Aunt B said...

Very cute. I love being thrifty. And if you are ever fed-up with it, send it my way! I see a future Cinderella dress in the making! Maybe because of the waist...

hester said...

That looks fantastic. Girly in a nice understated way and you used that gorgeous rosebuddy fabric that I love. I'll have to show you a picture sometime of the babywrap my sister made me when Em was born with the same trim.

kraftykash said...

Only you could see the good in the original dress. LOL I think it look great, you are sew creative!! The girl looks so irritated. Korby would have given me the bird or something. :) haha

Maria Rose said...

I really like the sleeves! They change the whole look. I would love to hear your mistake stories. Not because I could give you any advice, but because I'd love to hear what advice others may give.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

Very impressive! Stop by when you can, I have an award for you.

BloomingAlmond said...

what a great job? the waistline actually i think it's quite good 'cause she's a princess alright but a kiddie princess that runs around and has to be confortable i guess...
And i'm still waiting for my skirt.... lol
I looooooooooove the way the flowers fabric gave a bright touch to the dress :)

Betts said...

Fantastic refashion. It turned out great. And I'd love to read about your failures so I can stop thinking of you as the sewing wizard.