Refashioned America Dress

America title

I had this blue dress from H&M for many years, and I loved wearing it. It lasted years until a combination of shrinking over many washes and me growing upwards meant I had to stop wearing it, for fear of my cheeks getting cold. Too much? You’ve all been there.  IMG_1001

The fit on this dress was great, so it seemed a real shame to get rid of it. The red patch is where a hole developed at some point. IMG_1002

My first step was to remove the bodice from the skirt. IMG_1004

I then left both for ages whilst I moved house and whatnot. But, once all that had settled, I got a second hand duvet from my stash and saw the possibility of merging the two.

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Spots and stripes, in a matching I think looks a bit like the American flag, thus the title of this post! The duvet has buttons and buttonholes so I used these already existing fastenings for my new dress. I unpicked the duvet, leaving me with two big rectangles of fabric.

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To make the skirt pattern pieces and in construction I followed the instructions for the Clemence Skirt from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons. As a beginner to gathered skirts this really helped and I would heartily recommend this book to people who want to improve their basic sewing skills into actual garments. IMG_1122

These are the pieces. I also cut the waistband pattern out on interfacing, which I ironed on to add stability to the waist.

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Next, I sewed the waistband to the bodice. IMG_1126

This is a terrible photograph but it’s here to show how I folded over the ends so that no raw edges were exposed. I had this extra fabric because the pattern uses a zip fastening, whereas I am planning to make a buttonhole here instead. IMG_1123

I went for french seams on the skirt because they’re pretty.IMG_1124

See? Also, a round of applause over her for that pattern matching, for a novice I’m pretty damn chuffed about this.

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I gathered the skirt and sewed it to the waistband, matching the middle back points and edges to keep the gathers as even as I could.IMG_1133

Next, I made a buttonhole for the waistband. If you’ve never made buttonholes before my advice is follow your machine’s manual and practice a few times on some scrap fabric. These things are nearly impossible to unpick so go slowly on the real things! I also ended up sewing a little popper just below the waistband before the next button, because when trying it on there was a bit of gaping. IMG_1189

A hem later and it is finished. IMG_1190

And, the back. For a first go with gathering, I think it went ok. I will be more accurate next time (and I was next time, more on that in a later blog post) but I’m really happy to get more wear out of this bodice, and to use entirely second hand fabric to make a new dress. Now, I couldn’t get any good photos of me wearing the dress but I’m sure this will get a good wearing during Me-Made-May so watch out for a better photo then. Until May, here are some bad photographs which didn’t include my head, to give a bit of an idea of how it looks on.

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Thanks for reading, and see you on the flip side. Yee ha! Which is the only America reference in this whole post.

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12 thoughts on “Refashioned America Dress

  1. This is lovely! I’m so impressed with your gathering and careful matching of the stripes. Thanks for the book recommendation too – I haven’t done any unassisted dressmaking in years, so that could be a very handy guide.

    If you still have the leftover fabric from the original dress, you could make patch pockets to go on the skirt. Pretty *and* useful 🙂

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    1. Thank you Lorraine! I would definitely recommend Love at First Stitch for getting back into the swing of things, because it teaches you the techniques through actually making things. Plus it’s a very pretty book! Good luck! 🙂

      Like

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