Monday, June 6, 2011

Thrift Store Skirt to Dress Refashion

I have seen a lot of really darling upcycles and refashions on many of the blogs I follow (see the links on the side).  And I am always impressed by the "drab to fab" clothing that people make. So, of course I had to try it for myself. Take something and turn it into something else...easy! After all, I am a former props artisan, I used to do that for a living! No problem!
Ummm, where to start? Well, at the local thrift store, okay I can do that, but what am I looking for? And what should I do with it? And is there a net under this tightrope??? Gulp. 
So I went to my favorite Goodwill and I started randomly buying items that appealed to me. And I left with a smallish bag of shirts, skirts and one pair of really ugly pants, the fabric is great though.  When I got them home I laid everything out on my bed and thought, now what? It wasn't happening, I was not able to look at this pile of random clothing and see anything but a random pile of clothing that would not fit anyone in my house.
Now it turns out that I made a good choice at this point. I stuffed them all back in the bag and tossed them in a closet, kind of forgot about them, and did a whole bunch of other things. But that bag of clothes was lurking around in the back of my mind, especially late at night. So I went through it a few weeks ago and found this skirt.

And I had a creative vision well, ummm, okay really the idea was more like, this would be easy to turn into a dress. It was pretty small to begin with and the pattern is really cute, would look great on a little girl. But what style of dress? And again I was stumped, so I started looking, really looking at every child's dress I saw and my first thought was a halter dress. But we have quite a few of those and I really love to overreach challenge myself so I chose to make a yoke style dress. The bottom of the skirt is fluted and was a big part of the reason I bought it, so keep that part.  After trying it on my daughter ( I suppose I could have done this part with a measuring tape, but my model lives here and will sometimes go along with me) I realized I wouldn't have to lose much of the length and only needed to take out 2 of the skirt panels to make it fit.
So I took a big, deep breath and started cutting.

I cut 2 panels from the back including the zipper.

Then stitched a new center back seam, leaving about 2 1/2 inches open at the top so it will go over the head. Since I don't currently own a serger, I zigzag over my seams to help prevent fraying.

Then I cut out two armholes. 
I should note that in this photo my seams on the side are uneven, don't do that.

Added some black bias tape to finish the arm holes, if you don't have the right color bias tape it is very easy to make your own. I forgot to photograph this next step but essentially the dress looks like the photo with the arm holes cut, but now finished with the bias tape. Ran a gathering stitch across the neckline on the front and one across each side of the back (also forgot to photograph, sorry) and put these aside while I figured out the collar. So at this point I started winging it. Didn't use a pattern, didn't really measure until after I had a shape I liked, and hoped for the best. And here is what I came up with--

So I cut this shape once on the fold of the fabric + lining for the front piece and cut 2 for the back piece + 2 lining pieces. (the back will close with a button) I also added some iron-on interfacing to the front collar. I like the added structure this gives this kind of collar, but it's not absolutely necessary. Then stitch the fabric pieces together at the side seams and the lining pieces together the same way. 

Then I pinned the two collar pieces right sides together and stitched around the inside of the collar around the back edges and about 1/2 inch on the outside. Then, trimmed and clipped the seam, turned it right side out and pressed in the outer seam allowance and topstitched it onto the neck of the dress.
Like so---

I ended up with 2 rows of stitching on the outer edge, which I was not crazy about. So later I went back and removed the upper stitching.

And this is what I ended up with. Cute! But it was missing something. Luckily, I had bought some black ribbon so, once I tried it on Lilah (and breathed a  huge sigh of relief that it fit) I figured out the placement for ribbon on her waist. I stitched it on all the way around, stopping 2 inches from the back seam on either side and now it looks like this---

I think it's a cute detail that makes the dress a little more special. (And it balances the sweat socks!)
The skirt is still super twirly and fits like a dream.

From the back.

And the front. Not sure about this pose.

I am so pleased that a) this turned out at all and b) that it fits, she likes it, and it fits! This was really, really fun! I can see many more refashions in our future.  
Let's go back to the closet and see what else we can find.......

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1 comment:

  1. stumbled here and wanted to comment. That dress is lovely!! I'm dying to learn how to sew! Also loved those t-shirts you made for your son. I always love the mini-Boden stuff for boys, but their applique'd t shirts are way too expensive!


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