I hope you can forgive my short hiatus. I’ve been hard at work, seam ripping, sewing and planning…but mostly seam ripping.
I’ve been making progress on several of the reconstruction pieces for the Project Runway Remake Challenge on Burdastyle, and today I can finally show you one of the finished products.
I’m sure you were wondering what I would do with this robe.
I liked the stripes, but the colors wouldn’t do. I think they would’ve reminded me of the robe, no matter what I made with it. So, before initiating the reconstruction process, I dyed the robe a different color.
I used my washing machine, some hot water and some purple RIT dye to make the color more interesting.
I threw the dress below in the dye bath as well.
I’ll do something with it later.
As shown above, the robe came out a light purple/violet color. It’s not bright because the material is only 60% cotton.
On to the reconstruction process.
First, it was time for some robe deconstruction with my seam ripper. There was facing, from the collar all the way down the front edges of the robe. I almost went insane with boredom while I was detaching it. As I grew more impatient, the process turned into what can only be described as demolition (I began just ripping it apart with my hands).
My plan was to create a new dress for myself.
I used a bodice pattern from my vintage dress pattern stash.
It was way too small for my bust and waist, so I had to grade it up. However, when I did that, I really had some fitting issues. I was far to lazy to make a muslin, so I (as expected) had fitting issues with the bodice.
Anyhow, the pattern I had cut out had darts coming from the waistline up on a diagonal. When I pinned it and placed it on my body, it was looking awful. So, since I had to shorten the length of the bodice anyway (because of my height and my plan for a band along the waist), I just pinned the pieces together and marked where I needed to add darts at the sides and shorten the length of the bodice. I suppose I could have used my dress form for this step, but I really wanted to make sure it would fit me like a glove.
When adding the darts to the bodice, and re-cutting the side seam of the bodice, I had to make sure I placed the darts in a place they worked with the stripes of the bodice. I also had to change the shape of the bodice altogether, because the surplice neckline would no longer suit my re-worked bodice pieces.
So, basically after all the re-cutting and fitting adjustments, I had created my own bodice pattern. I changed the surplice to a v-neck, re-cut the armholes and shoulders, and shortened the length. I will probably end up taking the bodice apart to make a pattern from it.
I used one of my simple skirt patterns for the skirt of my new dress. I also measured and cut some strips for a waistband. I used what was once the collar of the robe, since it already had facing and interfacing.
After I cut all of the pieces out, I sat down at the sewing machine.
I sewed all of the darts, and pressed them—an absolute necessity to create clean lines. I then sewed up the shoulder seams, basted the waist pieces and their facings together, and sewed them to the front and back bodice pieces.
I attached the front and back of the bodice and waistband at the side seams.
Next, I sewed the side seams of the skirt, and the back of the skirt up to the point I’d marked where the zipper would be inserted.
I gathered the top of the skirt, and pinned it to the waist piece all of the way around the dress, matching up the side seams and evening the gathers.
Once all of those pieces were sewn together, I added a 22” zipper (which I’d previously recycled from another dress) to the back, and finished the neckline.
I used the old sleeves from the robe to make new ones. I separated the cuff from the sleeve, and created a new, smaller cuff to reattach around my sleeves.
I placed the armholes of the dress bodice over the sleeves to measure and cut the new sleeves, making sure to add seam allowances. I then attached the cuffs to the sleeves, and the sleeves to the dress.
I wasn’t quite finished, but I wanted to wear it last night on my date night with hubby. Here’s a picture of my ensemble.
Sorry for the angle of the picture. I had my husband take it; he’s pretty tall, and as you can see from the picture, I’m not. 😉
This morning, I finished the dress up by adding the patch pockets.
The garment has gone from an ugly blue robe to une belle robe pourpre.
Here it is without a belt. I like it both ways.
I love the retro feel of the dress.
I really cut it close with the skirt on this dress. My hips are really big, and the robe was barely large enough for me to make a skirt that didn’t hug them.
All in all, I am extremely happy with the final product.
Here’s a preview of the next reconstruction project (currently in progress).