Sew... Y' know that skirt I was making into something else..?

Here's a quick reminder of what it looked like, a 'Before Shot' if you like;

I wanted to work with the drape of the material, not fight it... In other words, I didn't want to set a task for myself that was at odds with the lightweight poly-cotton fabric of the skirt. So no 'Laurel Part 2' for me. (*that was the whole point, obviously!).

I also wanted to keep much of the work that had already gone into the skirt; namely the interfacing in the waistband, and the panels that made up the entire piece. Apart from that, I thought I'd make a decision and see where it took me... so I started by deciding the dress would have an asymmetrical hemline. The short-cut way of describing this is to say it's shorter at the front than at the back; it's also been called a 'mullet' hemline, and a (prettier by far) 'waterfall' hemline. Funny thing is, I really wasn't convinced when I first saw dresses with this high/low hem going on (a couple of years ago); but it's since grown on me. I think it's quite flattering, for a start, and in terms of working with the drape of this fabric, it works a treat...

And here's the blog post soundtrack; at the risk of you finding it more interesting than this piece (!) this music encapsulates what I'm trying to achieve - taking something recognisable and making it into something more... interesting...)



Firstly I set about cutting a substantial amount of fabric from the hemline; more at the front than at the back... This left me with a raw edge, so I hemmed that quickly (afraid it would fray whilst I worked on the rest of the garment... and yes,
before you ask, this has happened to me before!). I was then left with a long piece of fabric, and a question hanging over what the top of the dress was to consist of. So I decided the fabric that was previously the hem, would be the 'bodice'. The reason why I've put that in quotation marks is because calling it a bodice is pushing it..! I realised the skirt would still be long enough to hitch up and be called a dress - the only thing I had to work on was a neckline (not the entire upper body bodice).

Why didn't I use more/different fabric? A few reasons... firstly I love the idea of being thrifty and not NEEDING more fabric; and secondly I thought it would be a job in itself finding fabric on the roll that had the same properties as the skirt... I really wanted to avoid it looking mismatched. Or home made. Or shoddy. Or amateurish. OK. I'll stop now. Or hap-dash  STOP! OK.


Less inner-monologue, more dress..!
I made the decision to go for a halter neck style dress, but it did leave a question as to what to do with the zip. I figured, if I removed the zip and used that 'v' shape for the neckline, then the waistband (that was) could continue around the back of the dress, to secure the halter. In other words, the skirt was back to front - with the zip removed, and that V shape sitting on the collar bone.

I then set about sewing the (old, cut off) hemline to the removed-zip area, and finished the tips to a point, so they could tie behind the neck. I used a curtain weight to give the right drape at the front of the dress. My thought was that,
curtain weights!
sewing it together, and ironing it flat (like the waistband) would mean losing the natural drape - which would be a shame given the hemline choice. I like the idea of there being a balance between the two. I think a neckline on that dress, straightened off perfectly and finished with interfacing, would work much better with a straight hem... again this is just my opinion! And this is what this entire project was for, as much to figure out what works, as what I FEEL works... After all, if I'm going to wear it (even if just to the beach) then I need to feel confident in it... Again, I digress...

I then added darts to the back, just for a better fit, and toyed with the idea of re-inserting the zip - just so I could have a more fitted waistline, and still get in and out of the garment... but then I thought "Why on earth would you do that, Gema? And what kind of girl talks to herself, including their own name, Gema? And who are you calling 'girl'?"... erm. Point is, because of the drape, I made the decision to leave it loose at the waist, and nip it in with a belt, if need be. And I'm glad I did, as it works (in my opinion, at least) both ways...


I would love, at this point, for there to be a 'Sketch your idea of what I'm left with' Blog post! I love Blogs with a 'Before And After'. Or TV shows with a 'Before and After'. Whether it's that American DIY show that sends families on holiday whilst the super-fast, super-crafty, team pulls their home to the ground, and builds something magnificent in it's place... what's it called again..?? Oh! The UK version's called DIY SOS... FYI, I love that too. AND!! That episode in every cycle of America's Next Top Model where the girls get a radical make-over? I love that too!! Have I just lost every ounce of respect you may have had for me previously? Maybe I have - but at least I'm being honest; there's nothing like a Big Reveal to make me gleeful. So now to my Skirt To Dress disappointment 'After' shot!






Obviously, in 'real life' I won't be posing like a wannabe catalogue model on a rattan chair - please excuse my goofing around..! But at least you know I'm having fun with it... and you!! And Rod... Well, we can't leave him out, can we?

But... you know what..? I might even wear this out! It's really comfy! I could wear it with a cropped denim jacket, belt and espadrilles... or flip flops, that enormous hat, and LARGE sunglasses. Why the heck not??!

What next..? I'm heading into my wardrobe right now to see what I can customise... :) As always, get in touch if you have anything to share - whether it's a similar refashioning of your own, or a couple of tips that would help me - and anyone reading this - in future! Thank-you!




Comments

  1. Sooo Continental Cosmopolitan Dahling, if only the oncoming weather would reflect the effect for you!

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    1. Exactly! I'm constantly let down in that regard..!

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  2. I can't believe that's the same skirt you showed me last week. Is there no end to your inventiveness ! The skirt weights reminded me of when we did an updated version of 'School for Scandal' and borrowed a 1920's dress, which we found later had coins from that era in the hem. Maybe you could put the dress in a time-capsule when you've finished with it? (unlike the time-capsule we buried on a new site when I worked with George Wimpey - and later dug it up when the crowds went home - but that's another story for another blog ...). Very well-done love - to quote Dr Who (badly) 'Go on you clever (boy)girl'.

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    1. I might think about the time capsule idea, when I've had a couple of years' wear out of it... altho' goodness only knows what anyone (*in the future) would make of it if they dug it up, or what time they'd think it was from...
      And thanks Mum xx

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  3. Have time capsules had their day? Since the world wide web it's very difficult to delete all traces of information, for example your photos of that skirt conversion will be stored on a server or backed up somewhere virtually forever.

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    1. ...but it's all about 'vintage', dahling! Including the retro idea of digging up a box - that which can't be faked on the virtual landscape of the internet... :)

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  4. A great transformation from a skirt into a dress (thanks for teaching me the difference) and going through it.

    You should make a winter collection of individual pieces and auction them with profits going to a charity of your choice.

    Looking forward to seeing the next addition of #GemsBlog :)

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    1. Thanks Carl! I'll bear that auction idea in mind, might come in handy at some point... :) You'll be the first to know!

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  5. Awesome job! Yes, I totally understand what you meant by the skirt being "not you". This is a much more fabulous garment now. Good luck on the rest of your refashionings this summer!

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    1. Thank-you so much Caroline, you always look classy so that's a real compliment coming from you! :)

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  7. I love what you did with the skirt, your halter dress makes me long for sandy beaches and warm weather!

    I find myself envying the polka dots so much that I need to go thrift something dotted for my own projects!

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    1. Thanks Rachel - and yes, me too! Can't wait for the sun to return.... but at least you've got plenty of time to refashion the polka dots before then..! :D

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    2. P.s. please drop by and post a link to the blog- would love to see your polka dot refashioning when it's done!! :)

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