25 May 2015

Refashioned vintage paisley dress

I found this vintage dress (probably 1980s?) in a charity shop a few months ago. I fell in love with the fabric, a red background with a floral paisley pattern in royal blue and white. The dress was a bit like a tent on me, but at the same time it was tight around my back and shoulders when I pulled my arms forward.

Because of the problems in the area of the armholes, I decided this was where I needed to start. I carefully unpicked the seams around the armholes, then made the hole bigger by cutting it about an inch further down at the bottom, then I hemmed around the armholes, making it into a sleeveless dress. 
Next I put the dress on inside-out, and pinned the sides in to give the dress more shape, and also pinned two darts at the front and two at the back. I was fairly confident about doing this as I've used this method on a dress before to give it a better fit. I tacked these in place, then tried the dress on again, and pinned again where I needed to alter the lines slightly. I couldn't make the dress fit closely to my shape, because it doesn't have a zip for getting in and out of it, but I did the best I could while making sure I could still get it on and off! I sewed the darts and side seams, added a line of zigzag stitching, and trimmed off the excess.
Next I got to work on the neckline. The neck was very high and frilly, and I don't find high necks very comfortable. So I folded the fabric in until I found a look I liked, then put some pins in to mark where I wanted the neckline - I kept it just above one of the existing buttons at the front, and kept it higher at the back by just cutting off the frill. I cut a curve above the pins, and folded and hemmed it. I left the length of the dress as it was.
I was really pleased that I managed to hem around the armholes and collar neatly! This was my first time doing so on a full-sized piece of clothing - I've only done it on dolls' clothes before, and I discovered that doing it on a bigger scale makes it so much easier! Now I think I will maybe have the confidence to make a piece of clothing from a pattern, which is something I've been planning to try this year!

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