Wednesday, May 13, 2015

DIY Dress Refashion: Sheath to Full

Hello, everyone!

As some of you know, I've been going a little crazy lately. The arrival of spring has filled me with a need to decorate and DIY, but Kenny and I are too close to moving out for me to spruce up our current apartment, and too far away for me to focus on packing. And I'm bursting with ideas for how to decorate our new space, but I have to wait nearly two months to start acting on them! ACKJHG.

So instead, I decided to channel my energy into revamping one of my much-loved, but rarely-worn dresses.

Probably should have ironed this dress before taking a picture of it. 

And here it is with a belt and ill fitting shoes.  See why change was needed?
To be honest, I've only worn this dress a few times. The fact that this is a sheath dress and I have hips means that the dress and I were doomed from the get go. But when I saw it in the store years ago, I fell in love with the purple color and the flower print and the $5 price tag. Which is how we arrived here, 4 years later, with an unflattering dress that gives me a faux baby bump every time I put it on.

So this weekend, I decided to refashion this dress and give it a fuller skirt. Now for many people, this would be an easy task: rip out some seams, throw in some new fabric, take in the waist: voila! Me? I still can't figure out how to thread a bobbin correctly in my sewing machine (but that's another story).

When I decided to take on this project, I was full of aspirations: I'll create a fabulous DIY tutorial! Women everywhere will thank me for these simple, easy-to-execute instructions! Pinterest will worship my beautiful transformation.

What I failed to take into account was my ongoing war with my sewing machine, my inability to sew a hem and my crooked hand-stitching. So this 'tutorial' has turned into more of a cautionary tale. Buckle up. Here we go.

How (Not) to Refashion a Sheath Dress

1. I started by using a seam ripper out the seams. I took out all of the thread on either side of the skirt, stopping once I got to the waist. If you are a novice like me, be super careful not to decimate the actual fabric. Or accidentally pick at an edge until it starts fraying. I also recommend keeping as much of the original hem (at the bottom of the dress) intact as possible.

2. Next, I put the dress on top of a dress that has a skirt I love. And then I aimlessly took measurements, not really knowing why. Then I draped my fabric over the dress, realized I couldn't just cut willy nilly, and decided to make a pattern.

Apparently the dress has an 18" skirt. Now we know. 

3. I don't know what people usually make patterns out of, but I used parchment paper. Because I had it. I used a ruler to measure an iscoceles triangle with sides that were the same length as the dress. Then, because I am clueless, I just kind of eyeballed how wide to make the triangle based on how full I wanted the skirt to ultimately be.

3.5 I think this is when I ironed everything? I probably should have ironed things earlier. I'm assuming you get the most accurate measurements when fabric isn't wrinkled.

4. After cutting out the pattern, I pinned it to the dress to make sure it was the correct shape and size.

Then, I unpinned the pattern from the dress and re pinned the pattern to my new, pink fabric and cut out the fabric shape. (I don't really know if that's how you're supposed to use patterns, but it worked for me!) Then I repeated the whole pinning process, because I kind of wanted to add fabric on BOTH sides.

I didn't cut a flat bottom to my triangle. But I should have. You should!

5. Next, I turned the dress inside out and pinned the edges of the triangle to the dress' original seams. BUT, I forgot to get a picture of that stage. And I'm sorry. Because that probably would have been the most helpful thing to have a picture of. I warned you this was a cautionary tale, right?

6. And then I started sewing. By hand. Because my sewing machine hates me. And that took...a while. But it turned out okay. Not terribly straight, but okay.

7. Then I attempted to hem the poor thing. If I had remembered basic geometry, I would have known that you can't just fold the bottom of a triangle up and expect things to line up. But I didn't, and the hem didn't line up, so here we are. Ready to laugh and cringe?

In the end, I think it turned out okay. And it's definitely more wearable than it once was! Pairing the dress with the gold shoes from my latest thrifting trip helped tremendously too.

And here's the Before and After:

And my 'fall' look, because apparently I should still expect 45 degree weather in May in Minnesota.

Want to remember what NOT to do the next time you're tackling a dress refashion? Why not pin a beautiful picture (haha) from this blog? Look at this picture, just perfect for pinning!

Check back next week, when I attempt to hem my new coral jeans (ha.).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds just like how I'd do it but it looks great!


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