October 13, 2010

Wardrobe Refashion Wednesday #6: Love is all you need.

I have to admit that this is the recon I'm most excited about since I started this little weekly tradition! It's also the most ambitious Wednesday project to date, so this post will be a little picture-heavy. Consider yourself warned...

Last summer (as in 2009), I was at a downstate Goodwill with my friend Nicole, looking for materials for what would become last fall's Ren Faire costume. And I also found this shirt....dress...thing. I'm pretty sure it's a dress, but it was a bit wonky in spots.

Like, for instance, the neckline that was only semi-attached. It was supposed to hook over to the one side, but the eye was missing and it was half-ripped off the other side when I got it.

And the extreme amount of flare for what was a somewhat stiff material--it just didn't have the drapability that this sort of silhouette would require.

And, well, the hem was pretty uneven too. And though you can't see them, there were some dark stains on it that just didn't come out in the wash.

I'm thinking the original was homemade, actually...for one thing, there were no tags. And the seam finishing definitely makes me think that it was a sewing project. I didn't notice this until after I'd already bought it, because of everything that was awesome about this dress. Namely the embroidery around the sleeves and the neck. And though it's not my norm, I kind of fell in love with the spicy pumpkin-y color. Perfect for autumn. And the fabric has a really nice sheen to it that makes me think it just might be at least part silk. (I'd have to do a burn test on the scraps to know for sure.) Plus it's fully sort of lined, sort of underlined with some cotton-ish gauze stuff. So whoever made this definitely put some time and thought into it, and I can appreciate that. And it made me get later-era Beatles songs stuck in my head, so that's never a bad thing. (You know, after they started bringing Indian influences into their music. See, it's relevant!)

I didn't have to do a ton in the way of tweaking to bring its greatness from potential to reality, actually, though of course it took longer than I thought it should have. I'll blame that on the lining, since that meant I had to hem twice! So I ended up chopping over a foot of fabric off of the bottom (I'm pretty sure I got all the stains off in the process, too!), adding 3" slits to the bottom of the sleeves (which were a little too tight around my elbows for comfort), and altering the neckline a tiny bit. And the results:

Ta-da! Doesn't it look so much nicer at this shorter length? And you can see what I ended up doing with the neckline-- I detached it enough on the tearing-off side that I could chop a bit off, fold it under and stitch it, then I sewed this down permanently all around. So it's high enough that I can wear this without a camisole, but low enough that I can still get it on and off over my head without having to add a zipper or anything.

The sleeve slit--which also counteracted the embroidery not quite lining up right in the original seam! How convenient. (And much more comfortable!)

It was still a bit loose-fitting for my taste, so I took some of the fabric from the part I chopped off and made tiebacks to cinch it in. It gives it kind of a nice peplum effect, I think.

Sooooo much better-looking on me. (Just please ignore the messy room. Sure, I could have worked on cleaning it today, but then this would still be sitting in my bin of stuff to reconstruct, and we can't have that now, can we?) Besides, I like to think that whoever originally stitched this up would be happy to know that their creation was being put to good use again.

So now that the weather is supposed to be all nasty and rainy again tomorrow, I think this shirt will definitely be on the agenda once I get home from work. Along with a big, steamy cup of tea-- spiced chai would fit the vibe nicely, don't you think? And some pumpkin cookies, if I had them, but I think that's going to have to wait until Friday since I'm supposed to bring a dessert to the movie night my friends are having and I have yet to make them.

(One last note, for Scruffy Badger-- thanks for the tagging! And I'll get it up as soon as I can--still coming up with things to add to the post!!)


  1. I love Indian embroidery. Great save - very pretty.

  2. Wow! Great save. It's such a pretty tunic.

  3. I like the shape! very cute!

  4. Hi Becky - I love your refashions - & love what you have done with this top - really suits you.
    Thank you for your comment about sewing silk - By the way - what's the burn test for silk? I have some saris but can't tell if silk or not ...


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