Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shirred Maxi-Dress Upcycle!

Man, am I in summer mode around here, or what?  First this breezy Mrs. Roper-style muumuu, and now this.  But I had a major thrift store find today, and the effort was so minimal to turn what I got into this dress for Little Sister that I just had to take care of it this afternoon while it was fresh in my mind.



The first thing that caught my eye was the "Everything 50% off Today Only" sign outside of the Salvation Army.  Even though I know that "today only" actually means "every Wednesday" at this particular location, I just can't help myself.  The second thing that caught my eye was this yellow fabric peeking out of the dress rack.  It started out as what was pretty much a grown-up version of the dress you see Little Sister wearing there.  Since Little Sister wants every dress to be "long long to the floor," I thought perhaps a summer maxi dress was in order.  It's doubtful that I would have made one otherwise, since a maxi-dress takes quite a bit of fabric and I do most of my purchasing off of the remnant rack.  This fabric--pre-shirred, ruffled, and hemmed, AND with pre-made straps, since it was already in dress form--cost $4!  A bargain, since it's definitely over 2 yards of fabric; in fact I have plenty left over to make something for myself--a skirt, perhaps?  I'd love to make a top but I think this color would do horrible things to my skin tone if it was right up next to my face.

Rocking the mustard yellow.

So, all I had to do was figure out how long I wanted the whole dress to be (25" from armpit to hem is what I went with) and how wide the top should be.  I started by cutting the dress along the seam at the back and holding the shirred portion around Little Sister's torso, then cutting through the shirred part at the right width.  The ruffle was already at the bottom of the dress, and it was 10" tall.  The shirred part was 6" long so I knew I just had to leave another 9" or so at the bottom of the shirring to get the desired length.  I cut straight down from the shirred portion, then laid the bodice/top of skirt piece face-down on top of the ruffle at the bottom of the skirt.  I lined the fabric's raw edges up with the top of the ruffle and pinned, stretching out the skirt fabric so I knew where to cut the ruffle off.  Then I sewed that ruffle on and turned the dress wrong-side out and sewed a seam up the back.  All that was left then was to detach the existing straps, iron them out, and reattach them so they would fit Little Sister.  Easy peasy.

Long long to the floor, just the way she likes it.
We had some helpers with our photo shoot today.

One interesting thing about this upcycle is that the original dress was a handmade item.  Kind of cool to give it a second life when somebody else made it themselves in the first place!


And nice that I can blame somebody else for the uneven shirring on the bodice :)

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