The last day we were in the USA, we were loitering around LA before boarding an 11pm flight home. We spent about three hours in the sublime Museum of Jurassic Technology and a block or two away was a Goodwill. With a burning desire to use up my last USA paper money, I launched into the half-price sale therein a determined woman. I bought a huge, tent-like rayon shirtdress, 1980s I think, in an almost tropicale but slightly naff floral print. I didn’t try it on. It was way too big, but had pockets and a buttoned placket down the back of the skirt. For four bucks, I could do something with it. If nothing else, I could use it as a proof of concept.
Imagine my delight when I got home and tried it on. Prepare to be dazzled!
Gaw-geous, right? *shudder*. I’ve seen so many dresses just like this and thought, that could be reworked, but who can be bothered? Here’s what I did – you tell me if if it was worth the effort.
1. WASHED it to rid it of traces of previous ownership. Stain remover on a couple of spots.
2. Removed the big ugly pocket on the bodice.
3. Took off the skirt. Added extra darts to reduce the waist diameter of the skirt.
4. Added six darts to the bodice front. Evened up the bottom of the bodice where it had stretched out.
5. Reattached skirt, gathered the back and inserted a strip of elastic in the back waist seam.
6. Cut off sleeves. Made thick bias strips from them and attached them around the armscye like a cuff.
7. Sewed up side bodice seams, taking it in a couple of inches each side.
8. Reattached a button and sewed up the bottom of the front placket where it gaped a bit.
And lo! Whatcha think?
- Fit is good, and why didn’t anyone tell me rayon was so damn comfortable to wear?
- Pity about the placement of those two yellow flowers on the bustular area.
- That print is still a bit naff.
- The modifications weren’t that hard.
- I think I like it.
- Maybe it’s time I got a better camera.
Wow! I’ll be honest, I had my doubts looking at it’s origins that it was salvageable, but it looks awesome!
Oh, now that is a major save! Love it!
I have a theory that there is something salvageable in every piece of unloved cloth. I love the final product.
I think the print is still not to die for, but you surely did make the best of it and it looks very cool with the blue t-shirt underneath. Great job!
Holy cow, it turned out great! What a save! The fit is really fabulous, it’ll be so comfy and cool in the summer heat.
Rayon is wonderful to wear and not that hard to iron if you remember not to put it in the dryer on HIGH. You did an excellent job.
I think taking off that bodice pocket was the single best thing you could have done to the dress. Your fit alterations look good, and maybe shortening the hem would help a little too?
Also, how ridiculously awesome is the MJT? I know so few people who have ever been there, it’s so odd and tucked away.
A shorter hem would violate my strict No Knee Exposure policy. But I’m right with ya on the MJT.