Thursday 3 September 2015

Fuchsia Dress Makeover

When I was expecting B, I bought a dress. I don’t often buy dresses, preferring to make my own, but once in a while it happens. It has been used a lot since, mostly during my two pregnancies, but on other occasions as well, as it’s very comfortable, and cool in summer. However, it had a few issues. For one it was too short. I don’t wear clothes shorter than below the knees, and, as even skirts of that length show off my stubby legs to disadvantage, I most often wear them a fair bit longer than that. When I’ve been heavily pregnant the dress became almost indecently short in front. As a result, it has always been worn over a longer skirt, like it is here.

 Aren't the mice adorable? I made them for Halloween last year
and liked them so much I just had to leave them out.

Second, the neckline was too low in front, especially when the bust increased a size of five during pregnancy and early nursing. I needed to wear it over a tank top so as not to fall out during those times. (Alas, the difficulty of being "well endowed"; the slightest décolletage will make you look like a wannabe exhibitionist, at least if you're wearing anything more supporting than a nursing bra.) Also, the elastic was too wide, making the neckline warp in a weird way where it curved.

 Third, the sleeves where a bit too short for my liking, for a similar reason as the overall length.

After thinking the dress needed a makeover for the past four years,bu never getting round to it, I finally decided it was time. I found a piece of fabric in my stash, a gift from a friend, which would work well. There was just enough of it to make the changes I wanted.

I unpicked the seams at neck and sleeves, and removed the elastic. I cut the neckline a bit lower at the back and sides, as that was high enough already, but left the front be, as I wanted that raised. In retrospect I could have cut away a bit more at the back and sides. I then stitched a strip of the new fabric to the edge, and inserted narrower elastic. I did the same for the sleeves, except that I did not cut them shorter.

For the skirt I just sewed a strip to the hem. I didn’t have enough material to make it curved like the skirt, so I had to very lightly pleat a straight strip. Not the neatest job I've ever made, but it does the trick. I can now wear the dress as it is, with only a light petticoat under it – the material is quite thin. 

 I wish the sleeves were a bit longer though – as it is I still prefer to wear a cardigan with it. 

Yet, all in all I’m pleased with how it turned out. I did all the sewing by machine, a very rare thing for me. As I did, for once, make a New Year’s resolution this year, to become friends with my sewing machine, it felt very nice. I have another dress like this one, in a greyish black, that also need a makeover. I must consider how I want to go about that, as I want a slightly different design than to this one.

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