Showing posts with label altering vintage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label altering vintage. Show all posts

Friday, September 21, 2012

DIY: Room to Breathe

Vintage dress found at the Goodwill Outlet for pocket change. Don't hate.
 This past week has been such a busy one that I've felt a little suffocated. Like I didn't even have time to catch my breath or come up for air. And it was all my fault. Poor time management. Piling too many things onto my crowded plate. Procrastination. You know what that's like. Thankfully, the craziness has died down a pinch and I finally have room to breathe. Inhale. Hold it. And exhale. I feel like I could exhale for days. 

All of that breathing wouldn't have ever been possible in this dear vintage dress. Uprooted from a crowded bin of thifted cast-offs, this amazing vintage dress, with it's scalloped sleeves, too-many buttons and sweet floral fabric, was meant to be mine. Despite the fact that the waist was 20". And mine is not.
Is it just me or are all of my Vintage 911 posts about me trying to eek into too-small-vintage? I mean first there was The Armpit Blowout and then the Zipper Blowout. At least I was able to shrink one vintage dress. Perhaps it's time to cut back on my thrice-weekly pizza habit. Or not.
 So after giving this dress a good hand washing, I hung it up to dry for a day. Which became a week. And that turned into a month. I just didn't know how in the world I was gonna alter that dress to get it to fit. Then, when going through my fabric stash, I found some lovely lacy fabric. And the idea hit me: create a lacy back panel. I know, sometimes, I'm a regular Einstein. I read books and stuff. Makes me smart and whatnot.
 Now for all of you oh-my-gersh-I-can't-believe-you-cut-into-vintage peeps out there, I ask you: who in the world has a 20" waist? And do I really want to know them? I think I'd rather just punch them in the face. Who are they to be skinny enough to fit into my Goodwill find? But I digress. Lemme just tell you how I made this lil number work for my not-20"-waist, erm-kay?:

I began by seam ripping the collar from the back panel and the back panel from the waist. I added a panel of lace that was approximately 8" across and 2" beyond the length of the back. Before putting it in at the neck, I gathered the top with a basting stitch and then stitched it onto the collar. From there, I sewed the lace to the turned under sides of the dress. And finally I gathered what was left of the lace and reattached that to the waist. This part wasn't nearly as pretty as the top as there wasn't as much lace to gather. So I covered it with one of my belts.
My only beef with this sweet little number? The 5000 buttons up the front. Pretty to look at. Not so much fun to deal with.
And it was really as simple as that. Plenty of room to breathe. Which, thankfully, I'll have a little bit of time to do. That is before my poor-time-management/procrastination/piled-up-plate catches up with me again. Until then, just breathe...

...sorry, I just couldn't help myself. These guys were my all time fave sappy band in the late '80's. Enjoy!

By the way, if you voted on the last Vintage 911, thank you so much. I believe I'll be leaving the sleeves on the dress. I appreciate your input!
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vintage 911: Shrink My Dress

Vintage 911 before...and after.

Just recently a totally awesome coworker gave me this amazing vintage dress. I immediately fell in love with the print. I mean, it's got it all: umbrellas, toucans, starfish, a startled lady in a swim cap  -- it's just the most adorable thing ever. The prob? There was just a little too much fabric. Everywhere. A nip/tuck was in order.

Upon close examination, I found that this dress was entirely hand sewn. Can you imagine? In high school, when I was sewing-machine-less, I hand stitched the hem of a skirt. The process and the end result were equally painful.
 When thinking of how I would alter this dress, my first thought was to simply take in the sides and be done with it. However, that proved to be impossible for a couple of reasons. One, the dress only had a top button at the back of the neck. If the dress was altered to be form fitting, there would be no getting in and out of it. Two, the dress was pretty poorly crafted. I mean, it was hand sewn, the seamstress did what she could. But I wanted to do this dress up right. So, no short cuts. No slight modifications. This was gonna need to be a complete redo.
 I began by dissecting the dress. This was so hard to do as I wasn't sure exactly how this was going to end. I couldn't bear the thought of facing my work buddy knowing that I'd needlessly slaughtered her dress. Despite my sweaty palms and worry, I hacked away.

After cutting the back of the dress from top to bottom, I then took out the seam connecting the bodice to the skirt.

The original dress had a bodice that was gathered at the waist. I prefer a darted bodice, so I got out the dress pattern that I've used here, here, here and here. This cleaned up the bodice and created a more fitted look.

The sides were still wide, so I pinned and altered on my mannequin, as seen in the photo on the right.

 To be certain I took in an equal amount on both sides, I created a tissue pattern. I sewed along the line of the tissue paper, trimmed and ironed open.
 Once the bodice was complete, I was ready to add the skirt. Before I did, I took up 3 1/2" from the bottom. I then baste stitched two rows at the top of the skirt so that I could gather it.

I gathered the skirt to fit the bodice, pinned it like mad and stitched it to the bodice as seen on the right.

Gotta love a wind-created crinoline.
And, viola! Couple hours later and the dress was complete.
After adding even bigger darts on the second fitting, the dress fit much better.

Putting in the zipper was the last step. I used the zipper/tape trick again and it worked great. This dress has a beautiful pearl button at the top that I was able to keep in the dress.

Now, with the dress complete, I need your help: do I keep the parts of the dress that come off the shoulders (on left) or get rid of them (on right)? Hubs is leaning toward the look on the right...while I'm not sure if I want to take away from that wide collar.

So, what's your vote? You can cast your vote at the top of this page on the right. The last time we played this game, I was seriously out-voted (gee, thanks guys). After you vote, feel free to leave me a comment and lemme know what you think. Thanks for playing!

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