red dress remake

When I saw this red dress, I couldn’t believe how fine the wool was, and I deliberated for a long time as there were so many bits.  I normally avoid pieces with too many seams as it’s a compromise from the get go.  So I took out my little muji measuring tape and still though the strips of red – measuring about 25cm wide each was too small, and although the sleeves contained more fabric, I still went ahead an bought it………. it was the lovely wool.  I placed a good few patterns over it – but not enough fabric, so I decided to make a simple shift and work pretty much with what was there.  I had originally thought to work in some strips of orange fabric or pink worsted wool scraps I had, but as there was a bit of topstitch detail already, I figured I would leave it at that.

red dress remake - upcycle refashion remake dress


The before picture is a bit dee-sasterous looking, very difficult to see the red clearly, so I have a drawing below with the before after as this shade of red and my basic camera seem to just blur it all.


red dress remake - upcycle refashion remake dress


 I took the front apart so I could turn the middle panel the other way to get the wider cut (bringing the 80’s shoulder fabric content down to the hem), and still keep the pockets.  I should have realised that the wool was stretched when I was cutting the dress out  and I should have steam shrunk it then (see first photo below) but I left the side panels as they were.  By the time I was sewing the side panels on I was questioning my reason.  The pockets would not line up – I sewed and resewed far too many times before I got the measuring tape out.  I really could not understand how I lined them up and they would then ‘look’ so wrong.  It turns out the pockets were never even on the original dress – and my best bet was to have the top of the lhs one a bit higher making the bottom of the pocket a bit lower so its balanced – hard to believe I never saw it to begin with, I had to take a photo to show.




By this stage I was beginning to swear a lot, and when the whole piece was together, I was in continuous swear mode….. the stretch in the wool was everywhere and draping where it shouldn’t and the whole re-made well-made seemed a bit silly. I had hoped for this to be my Christmas day dress – ho ho ho – like that was going to happen – however, I really liked the overall shape and proportions.  I figured I would leave it till January to see if it could be rescued and this in itself would be better for my sanity. So last week I undid both seams to check grain, and the lhs was slightly off so I straightened that, and then, I decided to try and steam shrink with a hot iron and let the fabric rest and cool, and it seemed to do the trick (well improved it a lot)! its still a lil’ bit uneven – however, its also finished, will be worn and pattern most definitely used again!

issey miyake – one and one more (dress to a top)


issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats

There are so many brilliant blogs online, and some many tallented makers, more often than not, I want to ditch what I am making and make what they have shown, and this happened after I saw the Issey Miyake top some time ago on Handmade by Carolyn..  The fact that it wears well tucked in and out, was a bonus, and it had an effortless quality about it.  I wasn’t sure it it would suit me, but it had such a simple look, I figured it was worth a go.  

I made the blue top some time ago,   It was an inexpensive polyester, and has a peach-skin finish.  I top stitched the folds, as in Carolyn’s blog, and while it was tedious, it is also very practical.  It launders a dream, the top photographed on mannequin is just out of laundry with no ironing.  It is incredibly comfortable to wear (and I would agree with Carolyn comment of it looking very ‘arty’), and I have worn it a lot, and thought it could be good to try and make up another, my sister had commented that the front opening would look better if the opening was not as low down, and I also had the tension a bit tight on the top stitched pleats. 

issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats




 When I re-read the post from Carolyn’s blog, and read the comments,  one comment mentioned permanent pleating and showed a photo of her own pleating (which looked amazing), so I decided I would make another one with no top stitch in silk (bit risky on silk as it seems its not the easiest to perma-pleat)


I had a purple silk dress to refashion.  Its a dress I got years ago, and haven’t worn for a long time, so thought it would make a good candidate for another top.Basically it is a pinafore style dress with soft pleats at top and each side of the dress was the exact amount of fabric I needed for top!

issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats

I made the purple top, hemmed, and put the front and back opening on each side, basted the pleats and pressed them (see below), I bar-tacked the pleats and did the side seams, the shoulder seam, and removed the basting.  The pleats move so beautifully and the fall of the pleats work so well, and really shows the fabric at it’s best.  I am now trying to find an excuse to make another polyester top with permanent pleats, as in the ‘pleat test’ this came up the best.  


The Pleating

issey miyake vogue 1142 refashion upcycle dress to top pleats


The solution I used is about 50:50 vinegar to water.   After basting,  I spritzed the silk well, put a press cloth over and spritzed that, and pressed till dry, and repeated.  Both pieces were done flat on a folded duvet cover on the kitchen table, and both pieces were left for a few hours resting after pressing.  I did a quick press the following day on a polyester scrap and silk scrap – they got half the treatment of the silk and then only rested for 10 minutes before being gently hand washed .  The polyester held the crease very well (i gave a final press at a high temperature), the silk not so well, but the crease marks could be seen, which meant they could be placed back while the silk was damp.  (As I tend to spot clean/hand wash and steam clean silk – bought a whirlpool steam clean unit years ago, probably indulgent at the time, but after having it for more than 10 years, its brilliant – I figure the purple top should be easy enough to maintain?


Pattern Magic Hoody T Shirt – ‘dress to a tee’


pattern magic hoody t shirt - dress to a tee

The pattern magic books are pretty inspiring.  I know when I first came across them I was got such a  kick out of some of the quirky ideas and when I would show to some friends* the reaction was often simply – “but seriously, would you really wear that”  (probably about crushed can top!)  just goes to show, unbridled enthusiam is not always infectious.
   

pattern magic hoody t shirt - dress to a tee


This one was made from one long one euro jersey dress and the pattern was quick to draft, but I should have made the neckline slightly smaller but only by 1 cm all around.  The tee shirt is very wearable and very comfortable.  It was quick to make up (not having to finish seam edges helps).  I like the way the tee is plain to front, and draped to rear.  The tee shirt took up most of the fabric of the dress, and I cut bias strips from left overs to finish sleeve edges and neck.  

I have also made a second one from a jersey skirt.  I had to made this one a bit narrower at the base of tshirt as there was less fabric to play with, but it still worked fine.

*just to add, some of my lovely friends are not sewers so the reaction was probably to be expected!