Too Early For A Summery Sew? No!

A Belated Happy New Year To You! And, Feliz Día de los Reyes Magos (if you're Spanish)! One of my resolutions for 2014 is to Blog more. In fact, let me expand upon that - not JUST to blog more - but to Blog Better! 

Let's face it, regular posts are worthless if they're a bit boring - or useless... So, with that in mind, before I post anything - I'll ask myself the following question: "Would I be interested in reading this, if I wasn't writing it myself..?". Hopefully that will mean I cut any excess baggage (word-wise), and stick to writing content that matters... 
Before I start - let me introduce you to the newest member of my family, Dolly. Father Christmas was especially thoughtful - considering how much I've been pricking myself with pins and needles over the year, he thought a dressmaker's dummy would be beneficial. And my word, she REALLY makes a difference. So - here's Dolly's first assignment... 

The refashioning I'm about to share with you brings together my sister's need for a more 'modest' neckline on a black cotton summery dress she has worn on many an occasion, and LOVES - with my love of flowers... I don't attempt to hide my love affair with flowers - or more to the point, roses, in fact... my house is full of them. Not real, you understand, but printed... on cushion covers, rugs, table cloths, fairy lights... if you can imagine it, likely I've got it. 
See how I share too much with you? What was I saying about being more harsh with my editing. Well THAT resolution went out the window quick enough... Now where was I..? Ah yes, flowers...

*Designer catwalk photos taken from a popular Spanish fashion magazine, Summer 2013

If you're new to this blog, this is where I suggest a track for you to listen to, whilst reading the post I've written (hopefully you have the option of another window opening so you can listen and read simultaneously). So, in the spirit of trying new things in 2014, and of celebrating flowers (!) let me introduce you to South Korea's answer to Justin Timberlake (my words, not his!)... here is Yong Junhyung with Flower... I think he's rather cool!

A Floral Fascination

Seems I'm not the only one with a penchant for flowers... whilst putting together an impromptu mood board for this project, I found LOTS of designers are using flowers in their collections... Currently, the February issue of InStyle magazine has an interview with fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu, they attribute him with the accolade of making 'florals cool'... and, if you're reading that mag, you may as well turn to p21 - where Nicole Richie makes a flower-embossed Alberta Ferretti top look exquisite. I'm only mentioning this magazine as I happen to have it - chances are, it wouldn't matter which mag you're reading - I can tell you flowers are IN. And THAT means... MY TIME HAS COME! I feel an evil chuckle coming on, as I wring my hands together... this proves, that if you stick to your guns, and wear what you want to wear for long enough, it will become fashionable again (even if it wasn't before)! Maybe now's the time to bring out my floral Laurel dress?!

And Sew To The Project...

...a quick look at the details...
The first thing that needed to be done was to lessen the gape in the neckline, that crosses over slightly at the front... I decided I'd add a wide band of elastic to the inside of the neckline, before deciding how to proceed with the 'refashioning'. I turned the dress inside out, pinned the elastic to the neckline, starting at the strap on either side, continuing to the point where it met with the high waist of the dress. I then turned it right-side-out (pins still in) to make sure it was equally aligned on both sides... and then I sewed it in place!

From Pinning Prep...
To Sewn Finish...

I should point out that Rebecca's a big fan of Spanish label, Desigual. This makes it easier to understand why I went down the refashioning route I eventually chose... Desigual are known for their use of patchwork designs, flamboyant splashes of colour, and all-in-all an asymmetrical distinctive look - resulting in a very unique fashion line - so I certainly had quite a large remit to work within, design-wise, which just so happened to work well with the mood board I'd already prepared...

I experimented by pinning on my favourite florals from my stash (!) onto the dress, and felt the larger flowers (taken from remnants from my Laurel dress) overwhelmed the light cotton feel of the garment... they were just too much. Granted, I'm not known for my subtlety... but on this occasion I felt the smaller woven lace flowers worked best, I just wasn't convinced they should be matchy-matchy, spaced neatly on either side of the neckline...

So where did the pink flowers come from..?

Further proof my brain's often wondering how I can use fabric in ways that weren't originally intended... the small pink flowers were actually part of a pair of knickers. There I said it. No shame in it..! When I spotted the pants on a market stall years ago, I knew I'd never wear them as they were - but it occurred to me that lace flowers are fairly expensive to buy, so I may as well chop the pants up into their smaller parts, for use at a later date... this is that date... with a pair of knickers. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere, but I'm not searching for it......

Deflowered Pants. That is all.

And sew, with Dolly's help...

The finished garment! I really hope Rebecca likes it... although I was careful to sew the flowers onto the elastic, not the dress itself, so that it's fairly easy to unpick, should she recoil in horror!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Rebecca a) reads this post (!) and b) lets me have a pic of her wearing it, so I can share it with you. I can't wait to see it on her... in fact, I'd love something like this myself - so expect a similar job for a tired dress of my own, in the not-too-distant-future!

In other news;
  • The Pinny Prototype is coming along quite nicely, as mentioned in my previous post... not too long now before I share it with you...
  • I've been working on refashioning an old gold dress in my wardrobe, using a design I spotted in Warehouse - that's high on my list of Blogs To Write, again coming soon! (*update - gold dress refashion here!)
  • Finally - I'm thinking about adding another tab at the top of the Blog to say 'Gallery' (next to Home, Makings, Musings, etc.), so that readers can skip to the posts they're interested in by 'look'. Does that sound like the kind of thing YOU'RE interested in, when visiting a Blog? Skipping straight to the posts that appeal to you, visually?
As always, it's great to have your feedback, thanks for visiting and contributing! 

Gema x


  1. Galleries do add to a site, you could have a default gallery on the front page, auto rotating.
    I'm glad father Christmas listened and got you a dressmaker's dummy I seem to remember one or two in my family as a youth, seemed to go out of fashion for a while, maybe that was coincident with the drop in home making which seems to have been reversed.
    When you add delicate flowers etc to a dress, does it become harder to maintain?

    1. Thanks Brian, I'll investigate that further re the gallery... :D As for the flowers, yes it would make it harder to maintain, if the fabric of the flowers was quite delicate. That's one of the main perks of using off-cuts of fairly hardy cotton material, they'll take a thirty/forty degree wash as easily as the rest of the dress... Good question, and I should have mentioned that in the post, as it certainly played a part in the decision-making process! :D Thanks Brian!!

  2. What if you tinted/dyed the flowers in a shade/tone closer to the dress's? Not exactly matching but closer in intensity? Just a thought. Like the ideas.

    1. Hi gml! Thanks for posting, yes- I really must try dying, I read so much about it in other blogs, and I can see how that would have made it a bit more 'expensive' looking... Will put that technique on my 'list'! Thanks you, always grateful for new ideas :)


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