My last refashion was made from the costume haul which I salvaged from my time as costume assistant for the 2016 Cambridge Greek Play. But I didn’t just take one pink dress. Oh no. I took three. I’m very pleased to present the second refashion in the pink dress series. I began with this delightful coral number:
It wasn’t awful. I liked the colour, and the skirt was nice and flowy. But it didn’t fit well at all round the shoulders and armholes, and there was this weird extra panel over the bodice which made me look like I didn’t have a waist at all. But no matter! I had a vision. I wanted a flowy summer maxi dress, with skinny straps, a side split in the skirt and, most crucially, gathered off-the-shoulder sleeves. So I set about changing the things I didn’t like about the dress, and I think the finished look is much, much better:
The first thing I did was seam ripping, naturally! I took off that weird flappy panel and salvaged the bias binding from the neck and armholes. I then measured and cut out my new neckline. I used the leftover fabric from the neckline and shoulders to cut some strips for bias binding, which I duly made and joined to the original binding I salvaged from the dress. This strip was now long enough to bind the whole of the new neckline, front and back, and to extend over the shoulders to create straps. To make the neckline sit nicely I crossed the straps over at the back (for some reason it wasn’t looking good with the straps going straight over the shoulders). Then I tried on the dress, and the back was waaaaay too loose! As a quick fix I added a strip of elastic behind the bias binding to gather the back snugly – and this has the added benefit of making the dress easier to put on and take off! Later I added more straps going straight, just for decoration – I think the finished back looks quite pretty:
This picture also gives a nice shot of the sleeves. I cut as long a piece as I could from the ‘flappy panel’, and then cut that into two equal pieces. For each piece, I sewed the ends together to make a tube, and gathered the top edge into a loop of bias binding (luckily, the bottom edge was already hemmed from its previous ‘flappy panel’ life). I attached each sleeve to the side of the dress with a zig-zag stitch, going back and forth a couple of times to secure it well.
I wish I had had a bit more material to use for the sleeves. They weren’t quite as flowy and gathered as I would have liked them to be. But that’s the nature of refashions! You have to work with what you’ve got and adapt your plans as you’re going along. I’m still really pleased with how pretty the sleeves look!
The last thing to do was create a side split in the skirt. I seam-ripped straight up the side seam until just below where the lining ended (I know the skirt looks pretty see-through in some of these photos, but I promise there’s a short lining that covers all the important parts!). Then I zig-zagged the raw edges, and sewed them down. And I was done!
I’m pretty pleased with how this refashion has turned out. There are a couple of small things which aren’t perfect (such as the small hole my naughty iron burned in the fabric at the very last stage) but I love the criss-crossing straps and the off-the-shoulder sleeves. The dress is also really comfortable – the elastic waist will easily expand after a large dinner, and the length and side split make walking in the dress a complete breeze. Pretty successful for a dress that cost me nothing at all!