3rd September 2013
A matching midriff top and skirt combo have been on my wish list for some time, a good year in fact. I always kind of knew it might be possible to make a set myself out of a simple dress, but could never find the right print or pattern in my local thrift store. Recently I was there on a mission to find something completely different entirely and stumbled upon a not so cute fitted dress with a windowpane pattern (aka oversized checks), and knew what I wanted to do with it. It was a very simple cut and wasn’t flattering at all as a dress but somehow worked as a two piece. Hurrah!
- a fitted dress
- needle and thread
- a metal open end zip
1. First thing to do is to lay the dress on its front and unzip it.
2. Measure where you want to cut the dress in half and cut it using sharp scissors. I used the grid print as a guide. Make sure that the zip teeth are further down than where you cut it in half, thus leaving it attached to the skirt part.
3. Note where the zipper is.
4. I then cut the hem a little so it sat about knee length. Be careful with this because in the next steps you are going to turn the waistband over which will make the skirt shorter anyway.
5. I rolled the hem and secured with pins.
6. I did the same with the waistband.
7. When you get around to the zip you can cut the zip away from the fabric because it won’t roll.
8. I then rolled the hem of the midriff top and secured with pins.
9. To close the back I added an exposed zip over the top of where the old zip was. My mum would probably look at this and think ‘this is so not how I taught her to add a zip’ which would be very true but it was the easiest way and I like the look of the exposed zip (post justification…).
10. I lined up the bottom of the zip with the edge of the hem so that it can be opened completely so you can get in and out of the top.
11. Give the whole outfit a good iron so everything is nice and flat and then start to sew all the hems and edges as well as the zip. Finish off with another good iron and you’re ready to wear it!
And there you go! I was lucky to find such an on trend print in the thrift store, good luck!
Thanks to lovely (and amazingly talented) Bridget Fleming for taking the outfit photos – we had such a fun day shooting!
13th August 2013
You’ll no doubt have noticed that overalls (or dungarees) have been popping up everywhere recently, I’ve had my eye on these for some time. But being a trend that was super popular in the early nineties (and therefore a dime a dozen in thrift stores), I knew that the humble overalls were perfect fodder for my before and after obsessed, scissors wielding hands, and all I have to do was get my mitts on an old pair. I looked high and low for just the right candidate, most I found were of the super tight variety and therefore not alluding to the relaxed, grunge vibe I was going for. I finally found a pair in a secondhand store, and if I had to imagine the person who owned them before me it would go something like nursery school teacher that moonlights as a janitor or factory worker with a penchant for weekend diamond mining. Anyhoo, what I was looking for was denim, and a slouchy waist and I got both so I can’t complain.
You can see the offending overalls above, not something you would wear out on date night right? For this project practically all I used was a pair of scissors which made it a pretty straightforward cut and wear project. The black denim was perfect for cutting and then not hemming – the lazy of you can rejoice!
How I did it:
1. To start with I looked at the length of the legs, a fail safe way to modernise any crappy piece of clothing is to change the length (amirite?).
2. I cut the legs in what I think is the most flattering hem hem shape around – with a slight rise to the outside.
3. I then used a seam ripper to remove the pocket on the front, ridding the overalls of the sesame street vibe they were giving out.
4. I decided to modernise it a bit by taking off the buckles. They didn’t look that good and whoever owned it before me had made a mess of threading them anyway so best removed I think.
5. To replace the buckles I cut two small slits in the straps to create button holes for the buttons at the front. To finish I gave the overalls a good wash in the machine so the hem frayed for a more rough and casual look. You could of course hem the edges if you wanted to.
Outfit photos by Lauren Engel
11th March 2013
I’ve yearned for a statement lace piece by Lover ever since they first hit stores, and so when I spotted a few wisps of lace at my local thrift store (albeit attached to a seriously hideous dress) I knew it was time for another before & after transformation. In its former lifetime this dress was probably more suited as a widowed sister wife funeral outfit, or perhaps was owned by the dowdy wife of a deceased Italian mobster, but with a little bit of time and elbow grease, it was possible to turn it into something truly special. For this project I stuck with my time tested before & after approach of 1. change hemline and 2. alter waistline – makes all the difference in under ten minutes flat!
- A simple lace dress
- Needle and threads
- A seam ripper (quick unpick)
or buy a sewing kit here.
How to: 1. I started by changing the length of the dress – a must when you are dealing with a not-so-flattering ‘before’ piece like this. To get the right length I laid out a skirt onto the dress, matching the waistbands and then cutting horizontally below the edge of the skirt – making sure to leave enough for a hem. I then sewed the hem over using a sewing machine (although you can do by hand if you don’t have one). 2. I then attacked the bodice of the dress. The black silk lining was hiding the gorgeous and intricate detail of the lace, and so I used my quick unpick to carefully remove it, detaching it from the neckline and the waist. 3. I also carefully removed the stitches attaching the lining to the zipper at the back. 4. I also got rid of the casing that was attached to the neckline. 5. And sewed the neckline down by hand. 6. I then made alterations to the fit of the dress. To do this I simple turned the garment inside out and pinned then sewed darts into the back so it fitted snugly to my body. Voila! I can’t explain how satisfying it is to see something which immediately makes you think ‘ick’, only to take it home and turn it into the perfect date night ensemble.