The Deborah Dress

My birthday was wonderful! I wore my birthday sundress, and my sister made me a cake in the shape of a dress. She is so creative!

The cake that Brittany made. She is so talented! 🙂

They even got Little Mermaid plates for the cake. I may have had those exact plates for the only birthday party that I can remember having, which was when I was (I think) five.

My mom found the childhood dress that I referred to in the previous post (the one my grandma made, probably for the same birthday I had the Little Mermaid party).

I thought about reconstructing the dress into something I could wear, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So, I’m saving it for when I have a little girl to dress up. 😉

I got some money to spend on more thrift store purchases and fabrics.

My mother-in-law gave me this cute pincushion made from found (recycled) materials. Awesome!

It’s so cute, and now I have two for the pincushion collection I’m starting. I have one in the shape of a dress form. My husband calls it my voodoo doll. 😛

Moving on to the project for the day…

I had a lot of sewing projects today (the birthday weekend put me behind schedule), so I needed something quick and easy.  I started out with a couple of different items.

First item: This black shirt. I think it was sucking the life out of me. I decided to spare all of you from the horrific sight that was my face and hair this morning.

I bought this shirt a while back from the thrift store. My original plan was to turn this into a basic black tank. I loved the decorative yoke and the tie in the back (I’m obsessed with details on the back of clothing at the moment.)

Tie in the back=extreme cuteness!)

I did not love the huge puff sleeves. I have no problem with puff sleeves (In fact, I add them to a lot of clothes I make), as long as they’re not Deb-style (Deb from Napoleon Dynamite). Seriously though, the first words that came out of my husband’s mouth when I put on this shirt were, “I like your sleeves.”

The magnificent, crimped hair really completes her ensemble. OK. So, originally I was going to title this post, “From Deb to Reb Dress” (Reb=me, Rebecca. It’s a nickname that my grandma calls me), but that was the dumbest title I’d ever come up with. So I thought I’d give it to you in the caption instead. ;P

Anyway, I couldn’t leave this a tank top because I discovered a hole in the middle of the shirt. So, it was dressmaking time. I grabbed this fabric that I’d found at the thrift store about a year ago, up in Idaho.

Second item: thrifted fabric

I was going to use this fabric for the skirt of the dress.

The first thing I did was cut the shirt in half, above the hole. Later, I had to cut it up further to make the dress an empire waist style.

Shirt cut in half

Then, I took the herculean sleeves off with my handy dandy seam ripper. The armholes were too big, so I took the sides of the shirt in a bit.

Sleeves off. - Yep, that’s my “stockinged” foot in the picture. I know it’s the middle of summer, but it was pretty cool in the house this morning.

The plan was to make an empire waist dress, which meant I wanted a loose and “flowy” skirt. So, I measured how long I needed the skirt to be, put the right sides of the fabric together, and cut out a rectangle for the skirt.

The skirt, cut out and ready.

I sewed a seam along the fold of the fabric and along the selvage (with right sides together) and serged the seam for durability.

Sewing the skirt seams

I attached the skirt to the bottom of the shirt, and added some recycled elastic at the bodice and skirt seam.

Elastic at the skirt-bodice seam

I then finished the raw edges around the armholes and hemmed the bottom of the dress. I thought it would be interesting to do a blind hem instead of a regular hem.

Sewing the blind hem, with my blind hem foot.

This is what a blind hem looks like on the inside of the dress. It’s kind of like a zig-zag stitch, but every once in a while there’s an extra-long one that goes into that fold.)

…and this is the outside along the hemline. I used black thread so that you could see what the stitches look like on the outside. If the thread used for a blind hem is the same color as the main fabric color, it really is difficult to see the hem.

When the dress was finished, I found it necessary to wear a cami underneath. The armholes were still pretty big, which makes it perfect for wearing around the house, but not in public (at least not for me).

I paired it with one of my belts and some cute flats.

Sorry for the blur…I left the elastic loose. So, it can be a comfy and loose dress to wear around the house, and paired with a belt to go out.)

Here’s the back of the dress—again, sorry for the blur.

About Becca

I am a self-taught seamstress, and I love to create unique women’s clothing. This blog is a record of the hodgepodge of sewing projects that occupy my time. Reconstruction projects are my favorite, but I also create clothing from my own designs using both recycled and new materials.
This entry was posted in clothing, diy, dress, indie, recycled, sewing, thrifted and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Deborah Dress

  1. Kelly Virtue says:

    Becca – the pix of the deb. dress are adorable!! you did an excellent job on that. I especially love the pic with the belt. I’m enjoying your blog!

  2. Thanks so much, Kelly! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. 🙂

  3. Fabi says:

    I saw you on Marisa’s site. I love how you sew, you are very detail oriented, which I like it. Can’t wait to see what you create next.

  4. Lily says:

    I found you on another blog and came to check out yours. You are very creative. When I saw that thrifted fabric for this piece, I thought uck! But seeing the finished product, it is adorable! Keep up the good work!

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