Dress Refashion

OK, so I finished this dress a really long time ago (we’re talking last November!). As usual, the hold up was the pictures (full body self-portraits are hard!). Well, I’ve been wanting to post about it, so better late than never. Am I right?

I packed this dress to wear on my trip to Venice last month and I had my friend Sophia with me to play photographer. This picture was taken at the Biennale outside of the Finland pavilion.

So, a little about the dress. The top portion came from a dress I bought a H&M which turned out to be a little too tight and a lot too short to wear comfortably. Below you can see the dress just before I chopped off the skirt portion.

dress before

The inspiration for the dress came from one of my favorite summer dresses that I bought from a boutique by my old apartment in Brooklyn. The stretchy jersey tank top combined with a light, breezy cotton bottom makes for a comfortable, yet polished looking dress. I could really wear it everyday!

Below is a picture of the inspiration dress. (Excuse the jumping picture. It was the only one I could find of the dress in my archives.) Coincidentally, here I am again with Sophia.

[ Day 151 | Year 2 ] june is for jumping

Another fun detail about the dress (as you can see in the picture) is that it has a few rows of pleats at the bottom, so I wanted to try to recreate that part too.

The making of the skirt wasn’t all that complicated. I basically cut a big rectangle adding extra length for the pleats. I measured each row, folded and ironed it, and then sewed on the fold line. Because of the eyelet pattern on the fabric, it was really easy to measure the folds perfectly (my occasional-perfectionist side very much appreciated that). Also because of the eyelets I had to add a lining. I added pockets which the original dress didn’t have but which I think all dresses should!

So this dress was actually only the second or third garment I ever made. Luckily I made it with the help of my sewing teacher or I’m sure I would have been frustrated at home in front of my machine on my own. I knew in theory how I wanted the dress to look but Layla helped me execute it.

Being a novice sewer, I did learn a few things along the way. First, the bottom half of the skirt turned out to be really heavy compared to the top half. In hindsight I now realize that the top of my inspiration dress was a double layer of knit, giving it more strength than my flimsy H&M dress had. Second, both fabrics I chose for the skirt were much heavier than the original dress so that also added to the weight. At first when I finished the dress I thought I wouldn’t really wear it because it looked awkward and bottom heavy. Then, this spring I changed my mind about the dress when I tried it on again but added a belt. I think that the belt totally makes the look, connecting the top and bottom half so they look like they were meant to be together.

You can see in this picture below a bit of how the dress looks without a belt. I wore it in California during the Dressember challenge. The skirt seems to be pulling the top down (though I think that’s just how the stripes are). It looks so much better as a summer dress! (All that yellow! What was I thinking?)

Dressember | Day 22

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