Monday, 13 January 2014

My first dress reconstruction

I found a dress at the thrift shop. It had a color I like, fabric I love (100% cotton) and it had a nice length. Apart from that I didn't like much else about it. I put it on my mannequin and stared at it for months....

For a housedress it's not so bad, but I'm not ready to do the housedress thing yet... I see 'dowdy' here.

I want to remove the collar and alter the neckline, make it more of a small scoop neckline. I see a japanese-style tunic in here.

Notice my seam ripper at the ready on the left ;)
Please note, my mannequin is a MALE store mannequin and does not have breasts lol

The back is okay, no alterations for now.

-Ripped out collar and eyeballed a new neckline (cut a little, tried it on, cut a little tried it on, etc.)

-Cut off sleeve cuffs and straps.

-Removed top pockets entirely.  I have little holes where the stitching was but I'm thinking about how to take the eye away from that :)

-Cut out front buttons and placket, sewed the two sides together. 

-Tried the dress on inside out (several times), pinched the excess fabric along princess seams from the breast apex* to the waist or to where the bottom pockets begin. Fortunately I won't have to remove the bottom pockets since the 'dart' tapers off to just above it. Ouf, that was close ;)  Pinched a little fabric in middle seam to avoid tummy pucker.

*I really fiddled with the princess seams and eventually had the seams go up past the apex nearly to where the sleeve meets the bodice. My next tunic with princess seams reconstruction, I'll probaly remove the sleeves at start to allow for room to manoeuver...

Pinched a little fabric in the back at the neck to create a dart that will eliminate the gap.

What happens when you don't have a proper dress mannequin... static hair !!

At this point, I'm working on the collar.  I tried bias tape...

...but I'm looking for a cleaner look.  Don't judge the princess seams 1) my tunic is on a male mannequin and 2) I had to really work on them as they were a challenge but I've come to appreciate the construction part of this type of 'architecture')...

So the bias tape didn't make the cut.

My son's cat keeping me company :)

I then thought to take the original collar fabric and make a type of bias interfacing type thing, but that didn't look good either.... However after a quick consult with my seamstress neighbor I settled on using the extra fabric as a real interfacing.and triple topstitching it into place. Very satisfied with my choice, glad I took my time and tried different variations.

The shortened sleeves with a nice triple topstitch. I like :)

Pur-ty :)

And here's the pretty-much-finished-but-still-undergoing-transformation tunic.

*sigh* I wish I'd cleaned the mirror before taking the pics...   

I'm wearing the tunic with the black and white horizontal striped leggings I made a few days ago that AREN'T FINISHED lol the hem on the ankle isn't done and I haven't even sewn in an elastic at the waist lol but I was too excited to wait :)  The tunic is made for warmer weather with a thinner shirt underneath or even nothing at all, but today it was -29C so turtleneck it is... 

Found a great pair of booties at the thrift shop (I tell you this thrift shop is magic, they always have what I need)...

After wearing the tunic all day I decided I need/want to cut a good 6 inches off the length, which I will proceed to do tomorrow.

I had a LOT of fun on this project, learned a lot of things.  I'm hoping I have time to delve into another project similar to this one soon :)  

If you have any questions, don't be shy ! They're probably the same questions I have lol we can figure it out together !

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