Frumpy to flirty…1950’s inspired refashioning

 

1-before and after1

I adore charity shops there seems no end of inspiration. It might just be my own obstacle, but am fearless to alter items bought secondhand that I would hesitate to alter new!  Thrift store or charity shop seem to bring out my adventurous  side- especially if there are only a few pounds at stake!

Sundress before frontThis dress caught my eye – I knew the style was not right for my body shape but the fabric thrilled me so much I bought it anyway. It is your standard maxi sundress – with a shirred top, you can find lots of dresses like these at the moment, even in charity shops.

Summer sundress fabric

As you can see this fabric is wild! Lots of different colours going on – including different coloured backgrounds. the great thing is that there is no directional design, it all seems to flow freely, which makes pattern cutting easy.

Sundress before

You can see from this picture why this dress style doesn’t work for me – the uni-boob is not a flattering look! My waist has completely disappeared and as this dress falls from my boobs, it has added excess inches around my whole body! As if I need any more inches adding! lol.

Sundress skirt length

Look what happens when I lower the gathering down to the waistline, it already looks a lot more flattering. It is a very generous skirt, there is lots of fabric to play with – and definitely enough to make a top half! While the shirring is a great scale for bodice, it is a little too wide for my waistline- so I shall shorten it and remove the top edge.

Vintage 1950's pattern

My inspiration for this re-fashioning came from a vintage 1950’s pattern –   the gypsy top element to this dress pattern is a delight! When I was growing up in the 1970’s gypsy skirts and tops were everywhere I loved swirling around in my circular skirt – an enduring link with hot summers and gypsy style remains with me today. I love the way the puffy sleeves give a bit of balance to the full skirt in this pattern it emphasises the hourglass shape. It is unashamedly girlie!

New Look top 6277

Given my love of gypsy tops, it won’t surprise you that I had this pattern in my stash! I wanted the bottom left style – intending just the top section to be used for this re-cycling dress. Somewhat less of a square neckline than the 1905’s pattern- but the sleeves would more likely cover dreaded bra straps! (Monster bra straps are a necessity for the larger bust!)

New Look no longer sell this pattern, but there are a couple of similar ones that would work just as well. New look 6892, or New Look 6891.

Take largest pattern piece and measure the overall length  this will determine how much fabric you need to cut off the bottom of the skirt. As mine is a maxi skirt I had plenty of fabric to play with so I ended up with a circle of fabric that was just a little bit longer than my top pattern piece.

The key here, is not to un-pick any seams: as it will reduce your overall available material. I folded the fabric over with a seam running straight at a fold and then cut the bodice piece with  the centre front at the ‘fold’.

My fabric was so wild that the original seams disappeared, even though one old seam ran across one of my sleeves at a corner edge, the material still remained intact. The pattern matching was easy, but I did make sure the pattern pieces went in the direction of the dress, e.g. the top of the pattern piece was at the top edge of the fabric.

Upcycled dress neckline with decorative elastic edge

The main feature of a gypsy top is the gathered edge that is either elasticated or gathered by using a cord. I had this delightful heart shaped lingerie elastic, so gently zig-zagged it on to bring the neckline in.

If you are using any of the patterns listed above, shorten the bodice and back to just below the waistline, then add the dress to the lower bodice edge. The shirred section is now the waistline.

It is just a case of then finishing your hem edge, we are so used to seeing overlocked edges I decided to finish mine in black.

1-DSC03781

I don’t think this dress is far from the original 1950’s pattern inspiration – more importantly it makes the most of my waist which is more flattering.

As an re-vamping overall I am very pleased with the results – so much so that I am going to scour the local shops for more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A vested interest -grey to glorious cosy underwear

It is cold, blustery and wintery, being a chilly morsel I am reluctant to turn the heating up too much out of respect not just to my purse but the planet. I am not a fan of jumpers – they seem to make me into a blob with mono boob!

I wear dresses mostly, some of them are cotton so I need a little extra warmth. These little vests might be a little old fashioned, but they are so delightfully warm without bulk and slip easily under a dress. Pretty they aren’t!

Grey lace top

Revamp, top, sewing, lace, insert

I like to wear pretty things especially underwear but these scream out old lady! bear with me, this can be beautiful with a few little tweaks.

Remove old elastic

recycle, upcycle, revamp

Cut off the knicker elastic edging – it is a good time to consider lowering your neckline if you don’t want the vest to be seen. If you aren’t sure try it on under one of your dresses and mark where you want the finished edge to be.

Adding lace panel

adding lace, replacement, upcycling.

There are so many beautiful little lace panels available – this pretty little design was relatively inexpensive – and it is beautiful!

Marking lace edging

use a marker pen to indicate where the lace panel will be.

Mark your positioning with an erasable pen, or tailors chalk. Check to see the lace is balanced and central.

stretch needles

Always use stretch needles when working with knits.

You can get lovely stretch lace from eBay or your local fabric store, I bought this on eBay for about £2.99 per metre, the rickrack  looks like little hearts to me. You will also need stretch needles, these are rounded so that they push between the threads rather than breaking them. Ordinary cotton thread is perfect.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

Set your sewing machine stitch to a stretch zig zag  – it looks like a broken zigzag, this allows the stitches to stretch with the elastic. You can see what the stitch looks like on my machine.

Attach the elastic edging around the neckline right side of the vest to the wrong side of the elastic. The decorative edge should be on the outer edge and the flat edge of the elastic should be lined up with the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

Set the zigzag stitch width to cover  the elastic, but leave the ricrac edge free. Stitch between the two marked points, while slightly stretching the elastic lace.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elastic under and top stitch around the neckline using a 3.5 stitch length once again stopping at the marked points.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

Lay the decorative lace in place and using a narrow stretch zigzag follow the lower edge of the lace attaching it to the vest.

Trim away the vest to the zigzag edging and then you are done!

with new lace edging

with new lace edging

Your pretty lace detail can peek from your neckline, no-one would guess you are wearing a vest!

Summer dress – Up-cycling project – Adding Sleeves and Modesty Panel

01-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel

This is a very flattering dress: it accentuates a small waist and hides wide hips nicely beyond the lightly gathered skirt. Most pear shapes or hourglass figures will suit styles like this.

04-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -003

There are a couple of elements that I am not entirely happy with

The neckline is rather plunging – especially as I am quite busty.

05-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -004

I am also not a great fan of sleeveless dresses, I prefer to keep my underarms under cover!

06-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -005

Luckily this dress comes with a long generous wrap, which is enough fabric to make sleeves.

If the dress you want to revamp doesn’t come with a wrap, you can always take fabric from the bottom.

08-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -007

I created a bit of a cap sleeve pattern – using a sleeve from another pattern as a guide.

As the fabric is chiffon, I traced the outline of the sleeve using a dissolvable marker cutting the fabric in a strip.

Using a pretty narrow zig zag stitch and matching thread, follow round the sleeve following the outline

then trim close to the finished edge.


14-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -013

Stitch the sleeve seam and then add a gathered edge using narrow elastic

You can just see the elasticated edge here, I use a large zig zag stitch to create a gathered edge.

Pin and stitch the sleeve into the armholes. 

19-IMG_1591

The modesty template is triangular, I doubled over the fabric,

making the top edge along the fold because of the transparent nature of the chiffon.

10-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel -009

Once again zig zag the side edges, so that the panel is in one piece.

Stitch in place between the cross over bodice.

20-IMG_1592

All done! Now I can wear it without the need for a teeshirt underneath.

I have enough fabric left to make a matching hair accessory and a rose.