Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Dress of Two Halves


Spurred on by my recent re-hash of the Vogue 1312 dress into a skirt, I went searching through the wardrobe for ‘others’.

I don’t know about you, but I have some sort of strange and possibly unhealthy, emotional attachment to things I’ve made – even those that aren’t perfect. When clearing out old clothes I find it much easier to give away RTW, even expensive ones, rather than part with a wadder. So my sewing room is fast becoming a graveyard of unworn dresses and shirts.

You may remember this.. Vintage Vogue 8851ImageImageMade in Paul Smith cotton shirting. It was OK, nothing special and I’ve worn it once. Probably for the photo. The fabric is deliciously smooth and soft but the dress did nothing for me. So out came the scissors…….

As you can see there is a waist seam at the back but none at the front and the front band extends well below waist length. The back is fitted but the front is loose.

Cutting a dress into a skirt is not always as simple as hacking off the top and making a waistband.

Instead of just cutting into the dress, I unpicked most of the seams apart from the bodice/sleeve construction and the skirt. A nice job to do in the shade of our big tree in the garden. I ended up with a top half and a bottom.

The skirt fronted needed darts for fit and the dress length zip was cut in half and extra stitches added as a stopper at the top – saved me having to re-insert the zip, though the in-seam side pocket had to go. There were enough left-overs from the original make in the stash box to fashion a waistband. I re-used the front band and added this to the front of the skirt as a detail.

ImageImageThe back still has the pleat so ease of walking and sitting is not restricted. The fabric wrinkles like mad – gives the skirt a loved and lived look.Image

Then I was left with the bodice. So much work went into this that I couldn’t just discard it, so I took a closer inspection as to how I could utilise it. The original dress had a huge 3″ hem, which was cut off when hemming the ‘new’ skirt which meant I had a bit more fabric to play with.

In the end I re-fashioned a jacket.

Sleeves and neckline remained intact but the front seam was opened and finished; the extra hem fabric was added as a band around the bottom of the jacket; added two patch pockets and sewed on two decorative buttons left over from the original dress cuffs.ImageImage

I won’t wear the two together – too matchy – but the jacket is a great little throw over especially to cover shoulders and arms in extreme sunshine.

From one dress – two new garments. And no fabric purchased!

37 thoughts on “Dress of Two Halves

  1. nice up-cycle I prefer these to the dress.

  2. Super re-fashion! I loved the skirt then scrolled down and got knocked out by the jacket. You’re giving me incentive to reanalyze some of my own wadders. 🙂

  3. Fantastic, well done they look great.

  4. VERY clever! Well done remake(s).

  5. Nice save on the dress. You know it’s a success when the remake is better than the original 🙂

  6. Win! Win! Win! What a great job on this re-design!

  7. Both new garments look as if they were your original intention rather than a re-make. Well done!
    The line drawing for the dress looks so appealing: do you think it might work in a winter fabric?

    • I’ve answered my own question by going back to the original post: line drawing nice but pattern cover garment photo not so nice……………

      • Yeah Juliet, I think I was drawn in by the line drawing too, but a heavier weight fabric might work. It’s the looseness at the front which wasn’t so appealing in the end.

  8. As always, I’m jealous of your instincts and your amazing garments. Much better. Love the new garments, dress not so much. You’re looking fabulous.

  9. Brilliant refashioning! The skirt and the jacket are so much more than the sum of their parts. I really love what you did with the dress.

    • It’s interesting that I had to make the dress first and then re-hash it. I don’t think I’d have made a skirt and jacket originally with this cotton.

  10. This is an example of why we love to sew. You got pleasure from making the first dress (nice!!) and then got double pleasure from the remake. Win Win.

  11. what beautiful new garments you made! very clever & successful!

  12. Brava! This is a brilliant remake.

  13. Very clever refashioning! Both such wearable items to come from one original. I, too, confess to difficulty in saying goodbye to me-mades. Perhaps I should learn the art of remaking…

  14. Great jacket! although I’m sorry to see your dress go, I did like it 🙂

  15. YOU!!are just too cute, love your smile, the designs selected and your message! always look forward to your blog. and your sewing is JUST RIGHT!

  16. Wow – an impressive refashion! Very neat!

  17. I really like this–especially the jacket. BTW, I’m one of the few who really liked the original dress in the previous post. I think that made two of us.

  18. Hi, I’ve been struggling to leave you a comment, fingers crossed this time! I think your eye for how you could refashion the dress is amazing. The way you’ve kept construction features but created 2 new garments is so clever. I particularly love the jacket 🙂

  19. Pingback: Indies 3 – Four Square | corecouture

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