Friday, January 22, 2010

Refashions #12 and #13

Whew! What a start to 2010. Anyways, here I am back in Boston, classes start Monday, and I spent the entire day knitting and sewing. Aaaaahhhhhhh, sweet bliss.

Anyways, remember how I had that one seam to stitch up and it took me 7 weeks to get on with it? Well I finally finished that project up before I left for CA in late December, namely Refashion #12: the blue blouse refashion.

When I was in Berkeley last June, I stepped into a thrift shop and spotted a dress that sent me hurtling pell mell through the store, desperate to lay claim to it before anybody else. Of coure, it turns out I needn't have bothered about the 3 patrons that I nearly knocked over in my haste to reach this since I was the only one even remotely interested in it, but oh, check out that collar would you? And the blue with the large white buttons. And it's handmade, with french seams and hand-bound buttonholes. I never seem to have much luck with finding thrifted items with strong personality or character, but I definitely struck the jackpot on this one.

"Very Jessica" is what my mom called this, I believe. Unfortunately for me, though, this dress had a bit of an odd fit. It looks presentable from the front, but check it out from the side:

I can't tell what era this dress comes from, but it does puzzle me a bit to think who would want to make a dress that is shaped like a rectangle from the shoulder to the top of the hips, and then to taper the dress in at the hips and legs? This dress had about -0.2" of ease around my bottom half and way too much room in the middle. I even tried cinching it in with a belt because I loved the look of it as a dress so much, but it didn't really work too well. Also, all those crease lines where it pulled at the hips were pretty unattractive.

Ah, I've never been good with belts anyways.
So, I did what any refashionista would do and turned it into a blouse. Having no dress form and having never fitted a darn thing to my body that required too much in the way of darts or curves, I hemmed and hawed over starting this project for about 5 months [although I did use part of it to make the waistband of this skirt].

Ta da! Admittedly this is not, I repeat not, the best fitting job in the world. Tips on what I could do next time to make it better? It involved a lot of flipping inside out, pinning, basting, trying on, then repeat, repeat, repeat. I think I don't have the same amount of ease all the way through or something and so it pulls a bit funny in the abdomen area and doesn't quite lie flat in the back? [Yes, I know I need to iron it better too] Thoughts or suggestions for improvements?

Once again, my linebacker back. Not quite sure why I'm always standing tilted in these behind shots.
And a glimpse at the inside [sorry for the sideways photo]:

You can see that I finished the hem with hem tape. There was very little room to turn it under because of the cut of the original dress. Still! I am looooooooooooooving this. I wear it right now over a white T for winter weather, and it should wear well in the spring and summer months as well. And blouses! After making myself no less than 17 skirts, I certainly could use some blouses to go with them.

Speaking of 17 skirts ... here's Refashion #13/Skirt #17: The 20-minute refashion:

Forgot to take a before picture. Essentially, this started off as an Eddie Bauer skirt that was 4 sizes too big. I pinched in about 2.5" at the waist, tacked it down with the sewing machine, then sewed 2 buttons on top of the flap of extra fabric. Super quick!


Zonnah said...

I love the skirt, that is such a great idea!

Antoinette said...

Wow, nice job on both! I love that skirt and want it! LOL

As for the shirt, I think if you extend the darts upward, so that they end about 1" from the fullest point of your bust, they will be perfect. You did great on those improvised darts. On the back, there may be some pulling on each side of the dart from how the darts are sewn. Honestly, I would leave them be rather than unpick. The other wrinkling, the horizontal wrinkling at the base of your back, I think is from "swayback" -- a term I hear a lot in the sewing world that seems to mean that your back arches more than the adjustments you made will allow so that the shirt hangs wrinkle-free from the back. Oooh, this is a long comment. Sorry, let me know if you have more q's and I'll stop for now.

Sigrid said...

Two great refashions! I have the same experience in thrift stores, competitively grabbing stuff that no one else cares about.

Stephanie N. said...

What a neat solution for taking in that skirt! It looks great, very fun and chic!

Anonymous said...

The skirt is so adorable I just can't stand it! Now I want to find a too big skirt in a cool plaid so I can do the same thing! Sooooo cute!