The only items I used for this refashion were the usual notions and sewing supplies plus about 1.5 meters of satin ribbon. So all up the total cost of the finished outfit was UNDER $1 (50cents for the thrift store top, about 30cents of ribbon, and everything else I used was in my sewing box.
Here’s the end result:
I definitely think this looks fantastic for the cost. What do you think? Here’s how I achieved the final look:
Cut top as shown in the picture along the shoulder seam and across the back and front neckline. I used the original seams and angles as a guide to the angle for the new cuts. Remove the fabric drawstrings from the front neckline casing.
Close shoulder seam by flipping garment inside out and by matching up the neckline openings sew right along the top shoulder from the neckline right over to and including the gathered sleeve puff.
This will also close the casing and secure the new ribbon in the neckline casing.
Now, remembering that the original top had sleeves that were elasticized at the opening, I unpicked a small 1cm section in an inconspicuous section and pulled some of the elastic out. I shortened this elastic to a more appropriate size and then restitched the elastic and casing closed.
I wanted to have a gathered waistline (and to draw in the size of the garment without having to cut and resew the side seams) so I used a length of ribbon sewn the length of the waist to form a casing for 1/4” elastic.
I didn’t insert the elastic just yet however as I wanted to create a shirring feature on the back of the dress (this too helped reduce the size and create overall shape).
On the back of the garment I measured in approximately 1”from the shoulder seam and stitched a basting stitch vertically to the waist line – I didn’t lock stitch this as it will get removed later, it purely acts as an easy to see guide for the width of my shirring rows.
I then shirred approx 25 lines of shirring between these two vertical guidelines beginning and using the already there waistline seam as a guide for the first row. I always begin shirring with a locking stitch (twice for good measure), the elastic hand wound onto the bobbin, regular thread for the upper thread and with normal machine stitch length and tension.
I complete one row and do another locking stitch but without cutting any threads I simply lift the needle and presser foot, turn the fabric and move up so that the finished row sits in line with the EDGE of my presser foot and this will guide the next row. I begin and end EVERY row with locking stitches but I don’t cut the elastic or thread until I finish all my rows. Here’s a really basic picture (I took a photo of the shirred rows but the busy fabric made it hard to see – so I used the computer to ‘draw’ an example of I did my shirring rows… hope it helps):
Now after completing what looked like a column of shirring on the centre back I fed the 1/4” elastic into the casing I did earlier with the ribbon and folded the extra centimetre of ribbon over on the placket without the buttonholes and sewed the casing closed securing the elastic at that end. I then repeated on the other side but before sewing closed I overlapped it with the opposite side, lining up the waistband and sewing both layers together.
I then overlapped the plackets from the waist to the hem and topstitched them together down both sides of the placket as I had earlier removed the buttons from this section and did not want it to open like a shirt.
Okay, so I did a little victory dance now – because it’s pretty much done!
Here it is:.
And here’s Big Little Miss M in the dress:
I love how the shirring column and the back neckline kind of like a mini Elizabethan collar…
Big Little Miss M was in a little bit of a mood when I took these pictures (Is it obvious from the really bland expression?)
But she sparked up a little when I told her to go wild and have a twirl!
Hope you like it – all for less than $1…. I AM HAPPY. I think it has a rather classical but girly look (I am a little biased though!).
Thanks for taking the time to look through this post and if you have a chance be sure to have a browse around my blog and check out some of my other tutorials and adventures (I’d love to have you become a follower too if you like – that way you’ll be sure to not miss any of my refashioning or from scratch tutes!). Also be sure to check out some of the wonderful blogs that host link parties (on the sidebar) for an endless supply of craftiness and ideas!
Oh… and while I think of it I am contemplating having a follower giveaway soon – I’ve made a couple of items from scratch as ‘testers’ for final products and patterns that I will be marketing soon in either an Etsy or Madeit store – what do you think? Would any of you like that?
And on a final much more serious note … please keep all the people affected by the floods here in Australia in your thoughts and prayers – it really has been an unbelievable tragedy, already such tragic losses and unfortunately the next few days look set to be worse still. Nature is such a beautiful thing because it is wild and untamed, free and uncontrolled but that same beauty can be absolutely tragic for those very same qualities.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses or livelihoods…
The Spangler x0