Altered Dresses (May 2012)

I have finally been able to edit the fotos I took in may of the dresses I altered. I find altering can be just as hard as sewing from scratch, or even harder, as you’re not starting with a length of fabric, so you’re limited in what you have to work with.

The first dress I altered (my first time sewing again!) was simply shortening the waist on this dress:

I got it over the internet, and now that it fits me (well, it became a little short in the process, but I always wear legging-cut-off-shorts underneath) I wear it so much! it’s very comfortable. It’s amazing how much better and more “expensive” cheap clothing looks when it fits right!

above, before altering (but with a couple of pins in it), below: after


This one I got in Paris for € 45, and I did quite some altering. It seems to me that this dress was handmade by someone! A lot of the hand stitching had come undone, and some more of it had to be opened to alter the dress. I really like how it turned out! I did make the waist a little too tight for it to be as comfortable as the polka dot one above (which has elastic shirring around the waist), but it should work fine for cooler summer days at work.

after:


Ok, this one I got on ebay for $24(!!!) and it’s my favorite! Buuut, it’s also the hardest to work with fabric wise. I made the skirt waaay to tight the first time:

Couldn’t sit down! Second time around is better, but I’ve worn it once and I really have to put in a walking slit at the back, I had to take tiny steps! Plus, I was too scared to cut off the hem when I shortened it, I just folded it and it become quite thick, which explains the wonky hem. I’ll have to fix that. Quite a bit of altering had been done on this dress. It was originally made in Hong Kong, in the early 60ies probably. It reminds me of Joan from Mad Men! She had on this Asia-Inspired Floral Dress on in season 5 if I remember correctly… (oh btw, how dark was this past mad men season? I mean, no feet chopped off, no wild affairs for Don, and still, the season went very gradually from “hey, everything might actually work out this time!” to “everything’s so depressing and I can’t put my finger on how it happened exactly”. Very much like real life though. I really liked Megan, even though I didn’t think I would at first, and now that marriage is over, they made that pretty clear in the end… ok enough with the Mad Men talk!)

Blue Sheath Dress

Pattern: Butterick 2952
Year: early 60s
Fabric: ca. 1.6m blue cotton broadcloth
Notions: zipper, petersham ribbon and hook and bar for waist-stay
Time: ca 4-5h
New Techniques: Lapped zipper
Cost: about 15$




I know I know.. NOT AGAINN! But this was a quick dress I made in mid-october.

I made it sleeveless like the red one, but with a scoop neck like the pink one. There’s not much to say about this one. It’s the first time I tried a lapped zipper (so it wouldn’t break like the one on the pink sheath), and it was easy to do with this fabric. The only problem is that the tap stands up at the top. I would attach a hook and eye, but the whole point in lowering the back was that I could zip it up on my own, and hook and eyes are kinda hard to close on yourself (or well maybe that’s just me :)).

Also, the skirts angle at the hem isn’t quite right, it stands out too straight. And I’m not so sure about the color, it’s a lighter shade of blue than I expected. I guess it’s just a very “cool” blue, and I think warm blues are better for my skincolor :) (plus I don’t like the red-blue combo too much in this outfit, I just couldn’t find other accessories that would work.. which isn’t a good sign haha)

I’m happy with it, but I don’t think it’s going to be my favorite or get that much wear. Then again, it’s winter, and this is more of a spring/summer dress.

Ah University…

I can’t believe it’s been over a month of not blogging about sewing. I’ve been busy (performing in a musical version of “the importance of being earnest” as Gwendolin & starting university in Zürich and living between Zürich and Lucerne) and unfortunately, the closest I can get to sewing lately is reading sewing blogs and books and instructions.

I did get around to sewing one dress! Nothing “exciting” though, as it’s just another version of the Butterick 2952 sheath dress, this time a mix between the red and the pink: sleeveless like the red, with a scoop-neckline like the pink, made from blue broadcloth. This was a “I really want something new to wear so I don’t just wear the same things all the time but I don’t have time or money to spend”-project, and since it was the third time making butterick 2952, it didn’t take very long.

One “interesting” thing I did do on this is a lapped zipper. I like that it’s faster than the hand-picked one, and after the hand-picked zipper on my pink sheath came undone when I first wore it (that’ll teach me to not put off sewing the waist-stay in!), I wanted someting with a little more “security”, so the machine sewn lapped zipper was perfect! I do like how it turned out, even though I could have done a better job ironing, and the overlap kind of sticks up a little which I don’t like.

Another thing I changed is the back neckline, since the zippers that go all the way up to the base of the neck are hard to zip up on your own (especially in tight sheath dresses with waist stays that don’t allow you to move your arms up over your head haha!). So I made a V-neckline in the back, and now I can get dressed on my own :)

I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of the dress, but until then, here’s an instagram photo (because posts without pictures are less fun, I know :))

the instagram filter makes the blue look greyish, it’s brighter in real life! Better pictures soon :)

I really like having a pattern like this. I’ve adjusted the fit to be perfect, it’s simple and making it is so fast now! I just “know” this pattern very well by now, it’s great for when I want to sew but don’t have too much time.