It's been quite the week! I became an aunt yesterday and I'm just a little bit excited. I've been so distracted looking at baby pictures that I can hardly get anything done. I started this project early in the week, but it turned out to be more than I bargained for - a driving-in-the-dark-without-headlights kind of sewing excursion. This won't be a fully illustrated tutorial, but I'll try to explain what I did. In principle it's fairly straightforward, but in practice the chiffon is so darn finicky.
I hate dresses that don't earn their keep. If it has sat in my closet without being worn in the past year, it's time to go or be recycled. Bridesmaids dresses are the biggest offenders.While I loved both of these dresses (and the dear brides who chose them), I was never going to wear them again. The turquoise (David's Bridal) was too small and the navy (J.Crew) never fit quite right through the bust.
|nice crinkle chiffon|
I knew I wanted the navy on bottom, but I also wanted to keep the original hemline (a beautifully pleated treasure that I didn't want to waste!). I cut the lining and chiffon out separately and trimmed them to the right length (I was going for about knee length).
Next I ran a basting stitch through the top of my chiffon and ruffled it to fit my lining.
Sew these two layers together.
Now the most important element of this dress was the shell (which ironically did not get its own picture). I found a Loft spandex shell that was the perfect color to go under the turquoise chiffon. Who knows what I would have done otherwise, but God is good. Even to DIY refashionistas. :)
And this is where I have a gap in my picture taking (lots of hair pulling, muttering, and stomping around interfered)...allow me to paint a mental picture:
1) I cut the skirt portion off of the turquoise dress - this left with me with a nice "tent" of fabric. Throw it over your head and it's a poncho!
2) I ran a basting stitch around what used to be the waist (it should be the only raw edge on this piece) and ruffled it to fit the neckline of my shell.
3) With the shell turned inside out, I sewed the ruffled chiffon edge to the neckline. Make sure you have your ruffles (now looking more like pleats) where you want them before they're stitched down. Flip the chiffon over to the outside (right side) and voila!
Ok, missing a picture here too. Now with the neckline sewn, I trimmed and sewed the chiffon wings on each side so that they just bloused a bit, stopping before the sleeves. Notice I left extra fabric around the sleeves.
Oh look, I've drawn you a picture. (Have I ever mentioned I used to teach 3rd grade?)
Next I folded in the fabric around the sleeves and hand sewed it in place. If you only stitch through the shell and not the chiffon, it will look invisible.
|Stitched sleeve. Ok, maybe a stray stitch or two slipped through the chiffon.|
Whew. Are you still with me? Do you see now why picture taking was the last thing on my mind??
|My ruffles around the neck got a little lopsided. Thankfully it's not as noticeable on the finished dress.|
Now we have a top and a skirt. Time to put them together! First figure out how high you want your skirt to sit on the shell. (I re-pinned it four times before I was happy!) I only pinned and sewed through the shell, not the chiffon. Mistake: I should have sewn through both layers. I ended up rolling, blousing, and hand stitching the chiffon in place and I wasn't pleased with the effect. Kind of messy. I plan on always wearing it with a belt, however, so it wasn't a dress-ruining mistake. Just thought I would forewarn you.
|Remember to pin the skirt down upside down and inside out.|
For the zipper, I chose a chunky, funky, exposed zipper.
I'm so tired! Between anxiously waiting for news of my nephew's birth, making this dress, and writing this post, I'm zonked! Time to crash.