Tuesday, September 17, 2013

refashion // lined dress with sequin appliqué

I think my poor husband had a heart attack when I brought this dress home from the thrift store.
 Honestly, I couldn't really blame him. It was about two sizes too big, and those SLEEVES! Hello 1998!
I couldn't pass it up when I saw it, though, for a few reasons. First, that chevron knit print was delicious; the perfect cross between the tribal trend and the chevron trend. (Personally I think chevron is making its way out, but I still liked this. It was more zigzag than chevron, anyway). The details of the dress were less than flattering, but I knew I could pull a few tricks and salvage this puppy.

A couple of amputations and a little cosmetic surgery brought this little dress back into the 21st century:
I picked up the vintage sequin appliqué at a shop in downtown santa barbara in a lot of three. I have great plans for the other two!
The lining of this skirt fit well before I started working on it, but the outer chevron knit was a few sizes too big. To fix this, I turned the dress inside-out and flipped the lining up, then took a few inches off the hips. 

Next, sayonara sleeves! I made sure to cut as close to the inside of the seam as possible, which separated the lining from the shell fabric. Then, I chopped the "shirt" off of the "skirt", keeping the elastic attached to the waistline of the skirt. This will give you three pieces: Shirt shell, shirt lining (should be same shape; my lining was slightly smaller than the shell to give the blouson effect), and skirt.
 You know you want our carpet.
Next up, what the heck to do with the top part. I could have just left it a tank and called it a day, but the pattern itself was relatively boring and I wanted to add some interest. A vintage appliqué I'd picked up at an antique store was just the ticket, so I decided to do a modified t-back to incorporate the appliqué.
I  drew all the cuts with chalk before making them, and then cut while the fabric was folded on itself. I could have lined the back of the appliqué with the dress fabric, but I decided not to this time (No reason aside from not thinking of it until I'd already chopped off  the middle.).

After the shell was cut, I carefully inserted the lining fabric and made the same cuts. This didn't have to be exact, since I would trim it again after sewing the pieces together, but I wanted it close to make my job easier later.

The two pieces were then layered RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER (so the seams were showing on both sides), pinned, and sewed together.

I used a quarter-inch seam allowance on all edges, and went very slowly around curves because I suck at curves. Just ask my mother. ;) Love you mama!

Before flipping the top back right-sides out, I made sure to clip valleys and notch mountains in my sewing. If you have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, go to this post on Make-it-Love-it. She explains it much clearer than I could.

Once that was finished, I flipped the top back so the seams were on the inside (using a chopstick to turn the shoulder straps). Even though you can't tell in this fabric, I ironed all of my new seams so that they were nice and tight, then pinned them together so I could topstitch.

To do the corners, simply sew almost to the edge, then stop the machine when the needle is still in the down position.  Lift the foot, then pivot the material and continue sewing like normal.

Next, I pinned the appliqué onto the shoulder straps to play with placement on the back portion. As you can see below, I needed to take a little more in so it wouldn't gape open on the sides, crucial for an almost open-back dress!!! 

 Once I was satisfied with the placement, I sewed the appliqué onto the back. Although I've heard that it's better to sew beaded appliqués on by hand, I ultimately decided that this one wouldn't get too damaged by the machine if I avoided the beads along the edge. Aside from a few snags, it did pretty well.

Then it was time to reattach the shirt piece to the skirt. This would need to be sewn right-sides together, so I turned the shirt inside-out and placed the skirt inside, right-side out. That ensured that the outsides of both halves were touching.

Next, I matched up side seams as best as I could and pinned the two pieces together. 

Because the elastic pulls the skirt portion tighter than the shirt, creating that blouson effect, I made sure to pull the skirt as I sewed to avoid puckering later. I sewed the two pieces together with a zigzag stitch to accommodate as much stretch as possible.

And that's it! Admire your handiwork!

 I loved this little number; I wore it to Adri's wedding shower as well as Jordan & Elisse's wedding; don't worry, there was no guest overlap so no one knew. Um, except you, because both events were chronicled here. Oops.

What do you think?
shared at: DIY showoff


  1. I am super impressed. I am not good at sewing at all. I would have gotten the dress home from the thrift store with my lofty ideas, and then I would have gotten frustrated from my lack of ability to execute them. It looks lovely on you!

    1. Why thank you kindly ;) I was actually really surprised this turned out--it was executed over the course of several days because I kept giving up or not thinking it was going to work out. I finally had to just bite the bullet and commit already because it was two days before my future SIL's shower and I still had nothing to wear!


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