All That Glisters...

There's a gold dress I've had hanging in the 'refashioning' part of my wardrobe for about a year now (no joke, I now have a queue of items waiting to be 'done up' - that's my Nan's expression, by the way). SEW! 

Here's the Before of my gold dress, waiting to be Done Up...

And here's the Blog Post Soundtrack for today, has to be Gold!

You see the dress is quite a shiny little number, with a small black and bronze pattern woven into the fabric. It's not in the least bit stretchy, and so - a bit like tin foil (!), shows every crease... Apart from that, I suppose one of it's redeeming features is that it's fairly easy to accessorise with, or customise, as it's so 'plain'. I started to look around for any style inspiration, and then it came... 

Back in December 2013 - which now seems like a lifetime ago - I saw a dress in Warehouse shop window that made me stop... it wasn't because I was in love with it, I realised later it was because it seems to show the very lines I try to obscure in most of my sewing creations... In other words, it's style was wholly dependent on accentuating the tailored seams... Better to show you what I mean! 

And, if I'm being completely honest, I'm not even sure I liked it... but I still wanted to try it for myself!


Into my stash I went, where I found wide black satin bias binding... and promptly halved it lengthways, all the way through, to prep it for the lengths of the dress. I went to buy more later on, when I realised there wasn't NEARLY enough for the whole garment... and I also cut out the hanging ribbons from the inside of the dress to use... I mean, does anyone ever use those things?!

I realised, that in trying to to copy the dress from the shop window, owing to the fabric, (both of the dress and the satin ribbons) showing every mark noticeably, I'd likely have to use hand stitching; which is something I try to avoid, if at all possible...

It made me think about the fact I often choose the quick way to do things... Eat. Drive. Even phone calls to make social arrangements for the following week. I often choose to run with Rod, instead of walk, given the chance. I spend a LOT of time rushing through things... And whilst I can tell myself I normally sew on the machine because it gives a much better, longer-lasting, finish - I think part of it is down to my attitude to everything else in life. Being fast-paced isn't a choice any more, it's my go-to speed. And I'd like to change that... Maybe this dress is the start of a new way of life..! And maybe I'm pinning a little too much on a refashioning...... ;)

A bit of background...

The dress has very little give - it has no stretch content, so I figured the satin ribbons worked well as an accompaniment, they have similar properties in that regard. On the inside, attached to the top of the bodice, there's a sticky line of silicone/plastic you may be familiar with (often found in off-the-shoulder dresses) - intended to create friction against the skin, and keep the garment in place.

So, instead of finding out the hard way if the dress actually NEEDED that strip, I unpicked one side - with a view to inserting the black bias binding, and re-sewing. *I felt suitably prepped to use this, given my recent foray into bias binding!

I also used this opportunity to take the dress in at the waist... I used to feel it was a little 'boxy', but this refashioning gave me the chance to add darts in the back area, something that really helped the fit.

I experimented a little with the ribbons before deciding to go with the final look... one in particular felt a bit costume-y, in a Xena Warrior Princess kind of way...

What do you mean, this isn't good enough for you?
I mean, I don't want to draw those parallels unless it's for a damn good reason... like Halloween!

Where was I? Ah yes... so, I dallied with a couple of styles before making the 'final edit'. But was it worth the time overall..? It wasn't a quick refashioning, by any means... Should I avoid sewing garments by hand again, and only ever use that technique for 'finishing'..? Or am I simply justifying avoiding the Go Slow in favour of my usual quick-fix sew..?
These are questions I've been mulling over... Do you make a concerted effort to spend your downtime doing things that make you slow down and think, which is in contrast to how you usually are..? Or is that not even a concern for you, every day being a series of precious moments that you savour and reflect upon? (and no, I'm not advertising any kind of chocolate bar!). Maybe the answer, for me, is to rotate my projects in that regard... quick projects, with more meditative, well-considered activities...

Now before I share the 'After' shot with you, I want you to understand my facial expressions... you see, earlier on today I found out I'm a little scared of my knees. (I know I over-share). I'm not scared in a "Don't come any nearer or I'll shoot!" kind of way, more in a "Oh my word, I forgot about you over the winter months... let's not mention your footballer looks, and wait for the summer to get you out - when no-one will notice...". The first pic is me realising they're 'out', then I make the wise decision to don a pair of footless tights... which is why I'm so gleeful in the last shot. 

*The sun may be shining, but it's still WAY TOO EARLY for my knees to come out and play. Lesson learnt. 

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts; either as to how you may have approached a part of this project differently, or feel free to share a link to something you've done that relates in some way to this refashioning - I'm always eager to hear more!


In other news;

  • Look at what I found in yesterday's Evening Standard; an intriguing article for anyone who gets excited at the thought of stumbling upon designer goods in charity shops...! Get to a Cancer Research UK shop near you, as quick as possible, to be in with a chance of discovering a real gem in this year's Tatler Treasure Hunt!
  • In my next post I'll be able to tell you all about what's happening in my TV guest spot, this Sunday coming... I'm still worried I'll jinx it, so I won't tell all just yet - wish me well, I'll need all the luck of the refashioning gods on my side ;)
  • I watched American Hustle last week, and it reminded me how much I adore 70's fashion... I realise, if you lived through it, it must seem very passée - but I love it! In fact, I found a hat only yesterday that confirmed it for me, one of my next creations will DEFINITELY be heavily influenced by that decade. Or maybe even a copy of one of the movie's outfits... thereby fulfilling the promise I made in my Witches of Eastwick post... I feel the start of another Movie Remake coming on!!

Have a wonderful week!


  1. Love it, I think the biding brings the dress up to date, although I suspect anything would look good on you :) I understand what you mean about knees, they are not the prettiest especially as we age and they get baggier, elbows are a bit the same :)

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, but no- I certainly have to be picky about what I wear (smoke and mirrors!!). And maybe we're onto something here, a business idea..? Makeup for joints?!! Invisi-knee Cream? ;)

  2. Your dress turned out great. May I ask why you hand sewed it? Was it to make stitches invisible? Because it seems to me that you could have still stitched it by machine (in fact I've done something similar on a wedding dress)... the only thing you must realize is that it's important that if you plan on stitching on the edges of the bias.... you stitch in one direct say on the top of the bias, then go the other direction on the bottom edge. Do you get what I mean? This way you don't make the bias stretch... or ripple. Your way honestly.... although slow, was by and by the easier way then what I've told you. Enjoy your dress.

    1. Hi Jean! Firstly thank you so much for leaving a comment, and for the tips on sewing binding. You're right to ask, it's something I should have made more clear in the post... :)
      The reasons why I didn't use the machine, firstly because I wanted to leave the lining attached- I wasn't sure how much of a faff it would be to re-attach after (so therefore couldn't sew through both layers...). Secondly because I used satin ribbons, (as well as the bias binding), and they show every mark (if I was going to do this again I'd very likely use grosgrain!). And finally (and mainly) because I had no-one to ask- that sounds sad doesn't it?!! That's why I love it when people leave comments, there's only so much you can pick up from YouTube- and experience counts for SO much more, I'd LOVE to see the wedding dress you made! Thanks again Jean, chuffed you left a message x

  3. Brilliant design. Your should definitely have a range and get them on a catwalk!! #TalentedToTheNines

  4. Hi Gema!
    UAU, what a difference! I LOVE it! It gave life to the dress! And you know what? I LOVED SO MUCH Xena the Warrior Princess! For a change the Warrior was a woman and not a man!!!
    Kisses from Portugal!

    1. Hi Helena! Thank-you so much for visiting, and commenting :) And I'm really pleased you like it... yeah, I'm a bit of a Xena fan (or at least, I was... where IS she now?!). Kisses from London! x


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