February 25, 2011


Posted by Ethne~

I’ve had some fun with my dress re-styles, and have had lots of ideas thanks to one of my fave blogs – New Dress A Day.  But I’m no regular clothing seamstress, so there’s no guarantee of perfection – or even a wearable item.  I told myself from the beginning, though, that if I make a mistake, I'm only out $1.00, not a whole paycheck.

This is a woeful tale of failure – inasmuch as anything that’s fun could possibly be a failure.  More like a misfire.  Flop.  Accident.  Mistake.  Miscalculation.  Botch.  [I'm an English major – we love descriptors.]

The dress at issue had some potential (Shaun disagrees).  It is something of a red and ivory houndstooth pattern, and looks like it was handsewn (I feel guilt for botching it).  I had visions of shortening this a little: professional, shorter, fitted, and pairing it with an ivory cardigan sweater, ivory tights, and cute shoes for work.  But it wasn’t to be.

BEFORE: Red dress

First, I measured the length to shorten, and miscalculated COMPLETELY.  It’s way too short.  What the heck?  A perfect lesson of measure twice, cut once my friends….


Second, I tried to fit it a little closer to my figure and my size – flop.  It makes my pear shape (I’m not complaining that I have curves, but I do wear clothes that flatter my figure) look Fruit of the Loom-ish.  Terrible.

Not gonna happen.

Now I have kept the fabric that I cut off, and I can rip out the take-ins that I performed so they could be re-done.  It’s potentially salvageable, but now I’m gun-shy (pardon the term) and my zeal for this re-style is lost.

Salvaged scraps.

That’s where you come in, Friends!  Collect your genius on my behalf and post suggestions for fixing the dress.  I still would love to wear it with cute tights and sweater to work.  Plus, you could ease my guilt for hacking the work of some unknown fine seamstress.

AFTER: sad!

If you comment, I will fix.  (And as an aside, if I ever have amnesia, I command you to show me Field of Dreams again for the first time.  LOVE. IT.)

Personally, I find the fact that I ruined this dress as entertaining as something I get right.  I hope you do too. J Plus this could be our first sequel!


Debbie said...

Hey Ethne,
Valiant effort! I see why you chose this dress. The original one had a cute top and could have really worked with a cardigan. I think I see the nature of the problem though. If you notice, the original dress curves in before it goes out. Generally when you just cut off inches from such a dress, it makes a tulip shaped skirt which can only flatter the abnormally hip-less. Marissa does a lot of seam-ripping, and this looks like it was due for a seam rip at the cut below the bust. After the bottom skirt was removed, taking inches off the TOP of the skirt and sewing it back on the bustline would have created a more flowy look that pinches at the hip, and flows out at the thighs. I tried this after a similar flop and it seemed to work a lot better. Thanks for posting, it was fun!

Jen Kross said...

It looks like those pleats are the thing that messed up the final style when you tried to fit it colser to your figure. The only thing I can see (and I don't sew anything except buttons and hems so take this for what it is worth) is that it might make a nice maternity shirt by chopping it off to waste level. I don't know, maybe I just have maternity clothes on the brain right now.
I do enjoy your blog,

WOM-MOMS said...

Jen, Good thought. Congrats btw!

Hannah said...

Good to know im not the only one who sometimes has flops!!! I agree with Jen, i think the pleats are sort of what makes it funny looking....


Katie said...

I don't know much about sewing, but could you add a few inches of an entirely different color/pattern of fabric on the bottom and hide the seam with a ribbon or something?

PS: Botch... mistake... flop... those are nouns... :)

I heart wom-mom! I'm so inspired by these posts. I've never even sewn a hem, but I may just have to try this project sometime!

WOM-MOMS said...

How about I change it to "descriptors"? :)

Katie - find a dress at a thrift store - rules are it must fit you (right size or too big), be a pattern you would actually wear (even if it's wild), and be cheap. When you do, tell Lori and me and we'll discuss your options!

Sally said...

I actually think the length looks great on you, just do a quick hem on it to finish it (and add those boots!).
Second, I would remove the white band if at all possible - it cuts your breasts in half (I have this same problem with some shirts!).
Third I agree about the pleats not looking right, can you take your cut off part, and sew it into a band and place it over the pleats so its around 1"
- 2"s wide (you will have to tell for sure) then even possibly adding a simple lean long bow along the side.
Or where you are wanting to wear it under a cardigan, remove the buttons as well, and make ruffles going down. Where the pleats are high enough, you would probably never notice them under the cardigan.

WOM-MOMS said...

Keep these comments flowing!! Great ideas friends!

Anonymous said...

Or if the situation gets desperate, you could cut the top and make a skirt...

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could cut off to blouse length and sew up the pleats? Depending on the density of the material, maybe the lining could be removed at some point....I wish you good luck with which ever way you go!

Anonymous said...

I think it would make an awfully cute bib apron if you decide not to keep going forward with it as a dress. - Chrissy

Anonymous said...

I would split the dress down the middle in front and turn it into a short sleeve pseudo cardigan.

Anonymous said...

It is so comforting to know that I am not the only person who can take a nice piece of clothing and turn it into a nightmare!!
My suggestions are to either remove the skirt and re attach bottom as the top to get some curve going the right way or to create an adorable apron out of it... Sally was right about the white line up top!

Tuna said...

I would shorten it to tunic length and wear it with jeans and a fitted jacket. I love your dress re-styles and can't wait to see what you do next.