Monday, May 28, 2012

Refashion #31 // Dress #9 :: Sally

As the weather here slowly changes (and then changes its mind again), I've been swapping out my winter wardrobe and in my summer one, hanging up old favorites, evaluating where I clearly seem well-stocked and where I've got some gaps.  Summery skirts, it seems, have possibly multiplied while enduring their annual hibernation.  But last year I donated a bunch of dresses, both handmade and thrifted, and I began to think about what it is that I like about the remaining dresses and want more of ... and what I want more of in general.

Rayon, it turns out, is high on that list for both.  Prints, too.  I especially admire all those bloggers who take granny chic and turn it into chic.  It seems like there's that fine line, you know?  Is this now chic?  Still more granny than chic?  More fabulous than hideous, or am I kidding myself?  Why walk that line so closely, Jessica?  But what is refashioning and the ability to make your own clothing for, if not to take risks sometimes?

I've been telling Ali far more often than she'd care to hear how I am recently obsessed with 90s rayon dresses.  They drape so nicely!  The prints!  Cool to wear in summer!  And often cut generously, leaving more room for refashion potential.  Plus, not so rare that they're impossible to find at the thrift shop.  If I can rustle me up enough of them, I might just make it my mission to do nothing but refashion those all summer long.  Anyways, this dress definitely fell into the "more granny than chic" category, so I gleefully brought it home to chop up.

For inspiration, I thought I'd keep it authentic and look to the 90s.  Does anybody remember the pink dress that Meg Ryan wore in When Harry Met Sally?  (can't find a photo, sorry)  Its towards the end when she and Billy Crystal are both dating other people and they're having a couples board night.  Anyways, when I was rewatching that with my parents, that dress immediately caught my attention.  The scalloped collar and sleeves!  The swooshiness!  I both knew I could replicate it, and thought it would make a fabulous combination with my rosy rayon dress.  Fabulous, or hideous.

I admit to having some serious doubts the whole way through (as Ali can attest), but am utterly thrilled with the result.  I think this one will be in regular rotation all summer long!

(Sewing notes: I used the embroidery stitch on my machine and stitched right over the neck facings, then trimmed away along the pink outline.  The original dress had some very dowdy sleeves so I shortened and capped them.  I also ripped out the elastic at the back waist so that I could breathe, and took up the hem by 5".  Easy peasy!)

***Edited to add: Some of you requested a "before" photo --- here you go!


Roobeedoo said...

Pretty edging! I wish my machine did fancy stitches!
I wish you had shown the "before" as well as the "after" - that is always intriguing!
Is rayon like viscose? I remember having a lovely 90's viscose dress that I wore constantly before I got too fat (babies happened to me in the 90's)

mel said...

I love this post. I personally can't do the 90's rayon thing a 2nd time, you know. I mean I was in 6th grade the first time, but still, it feels wrong.
I agree a before pic would've been great, but overall, fantastic job, especially on the scallops :)

Sigrid said...

I love the edging too, and think you scored a great print. It takes real vision to look at one of those big 90s dresses and see something a bit more chic like this!

Ali said...

lovely! really a lovely shape on you and good job with the sleeves and length.

in my little fabric book, it's labeled "rayon viscose" so I assume the two are synonymous?

you know i LOVE rayon -- i'm cutting up a rayon dress right now that's sort of hideous but big on potential (i want to say it's late 80s). can't wait to show it to you :) and i'm following your new blog!

瑛翹 said...

love this!!

Minnado said...

I like it - not granny on you at all. the scalloped neckline is a lovely detail. I am going to look out for a dress like this while thrifting now.

Amy said...

LOVE these pictures of you. Oh, and the dress is cute too! ;-) The rayon dresses I loved in the '90s were the ones that harkened back to the '40s. Ish. I still have the first dress I ever spent real money on, when I was just starting my working career--it's a lovely, long rayon thing with buttons all down the front that look like vintage black jet. I think it still holds up, floral pattern and all. (And also--SO excited about your new bloggy writing adventure. I'm all subscribed to you in my reader! In both places!) xo