Monday, August 15, 2016

Starry dress becomes a matched set


In May of last year, I purchased this dress on eBay. I loved the starry pattern (If you read my fashion blog, you will quickly learn I am a sucker for stars), but not so much the cut. The blousey waist wasn't doing my figure any favors, and the weird high-low hem wasn't helping. I really wanted to refashion the dress into something more flattering, but, though I tried it on in so many ways, I couldn't figure out what to do.

Some of the many ways I envisioned re-making this dress
I separated the top from the bottom, decided it would look better if it were more fitted, and added a couple of princess seams up the front. This necessitated cutting open the back so I'd be able to get it on and off.

Then, using another skirt as my guide for the bottom edge, I cut the bottom into a more typical skirt shape.

After this, I was just stumped as to how to make a closure for the back. I  have a fear of zippers, so my solution was some healthy procrastination!

I was only inspired to start on this project again a year later, when I didn't have anything to wear for my birthday party. At 12 midnight, with the party only 12 hours away, I decided it was high time to finish what I'd started!

Because it was so late, the light was bad, and I was rushing, I really didn't take a lot of pictures.

But my steps, in a nutshell, were:
  1. Cut open the back of the top and install a zipper. I had a bright green zipper that I'd removed from a retired purse, and I thought it was a nice funky accent to the green of the dress.Unlike most garments, this zipper is fixed at the top and opens at the bottom, so that I can pull it over my head, then reach behind myself and zip it up – er, down – without assistance.

    Warning: zipper not installed to specifications! I still don't know the right way to put in a zipper, but I was in too much of a hurry to learn it right then, so this one is a little wobbly and doesn't really stay shut without the aid of a safety pin.
  2. Hem the bottom edge of the top, making it into a crop top.
  3. Remove a few inches from the side of the skirt so that it exactly matched my waist size without elastic. For the liner, I did this by taking in the side seams. For the outer layer, a series of darts did the trick.
  4. Cut about 6 inches down the back of the skirt to make space for a zipper.
  5. Attach the zipper. Sadly, I had only one bright green zipper in my stash, so I had to make do with a mismatched white one for the skirt. Beggars can't be choosers, right?
    zany zippers
  6. Reattach the skirt liner to the outer layer, forming the seam at the waistband.
  7. Make a rolled hem for the bottom of the skirt.
By the time I was done with all this, it was 3am, and I was ready to sleep! The next morning, I had to do a few touch-ups, but I finished my dress in time to depart for my party at 12:00! It enjoyed a pleasant afternoon at a winery.

P.S. Does anyone have any good recommendations for learning how to put in a zipper? It's about time I learned how to do this properly and stopped letting zipper anxiety derail my projects for over a year!

P.P.S. I was in a particularly creative mood for this refashion—so I made it into a poem! Check it out on my blog, The Unfashionista!


Jean said...

There are some good tutorials on utube. Jump in, it's not all that hard... just make sure you give yourself a little time. Good luck

Queen Of Rods said...

Nice the starts :) The Renegade Seamstress has an excellent zipper tutorial that you night find helpful.

Chickie Walsh said...

Much more modern and the stars are great.

jennifer elliott said...

I love the final look -- perfect for warm summer days. Great job.

Jennifer, EOD

Marisa Glied said...

Nice refash! Love that star pattern!


Sue Atkins said...

If you do this type of a project again, I think I'd look for a short jacket zipper that you put together at the bottom and zip up, and install it in the front.

OR, put a zipper in upside down under the arm and have the opening at your waistline. This one would probably be the easiest to sew, and work with when you put on the garment. We used to have zippers on dresses that were in the sideseam, ending at the hip line. I didn't like them, I usually caught ME in the side zipper. Maybe that's why we don't see them much any more.

So what about the top out of something that was knit fabric, stretchy. Make the back neck wide and you won't need a zipper at all!!