Sunday, March 4, 2012

Going Polka Dotty

At long last - I'm able to post the most amazing refashion!  I've been teaching Son #1's girlfriend how to sew, but I certainly don't have to teach her how to think or be creative - she has such a wealth of fresh ideas and can see so much potential in the most common garment - and even though her sewing skills are still in development, she has no fear of reaching her goal.  Such an awesome student to have!

We went to the Assistance League, where I have been getting most of my garments to refashion myself - she was so intrigued with all the bits and pieces I've brought home, that she requested that I take her on a trip to see the place for herself.  It was so worth it when she spotted this maternity skirt - her eyes just lit up and I could almost hear the gears turning!

Silly me, I didn't take a photo of the skirt all in one piece (she was so eager to get started, I swear as soon as we hit the house the scissors started flying) but here it is right before it got really chopped up:

She wanted the skirt of the dress to retain that cute flippy look ,
with the underskirt intact.  We sewed the bottom part together
where we cut it from the original skirt so that the layers
wouldn't shift.  In theory.

She had a design in mind and brought over a dress that she had borrowed from a friend of hers that fit pretty well and she liked a lot.  From there, we found a similar bodice pattern in my Lutterloh collection, took her measurements, and drafted a fitted bodice pattern:

We then made a muslin from this pattern, tried it on her, and I pinned and adjusted it for fit (not photographed).  From there, we cut the outer pieces and the lining pieces from what was left of the top part of the maternity skirt.  Yes, she lined it.  Lining a dress (or jacket, or what have you) used to scare the bejeezus out of me, until I started sewing the maternity dresses for Jules Ford just this past year.  Yet she tackled it without hesitation, only asking me how to get from point A to point B, and soldiering through it all.  Such bravery!

She learned a lot in the process (and quite possibly some choice swear words from me, as those darn skirt layers kept shifting, and shifting, and shifting.....): how to draft a pattern of sorts, how to make a muslin and adjust it, how to line a dress with a fitted bodice, how to insert a zipper, how to gather the skirt, and some of the hand-finishing techniques used on a lined dress.  Just blows my mind; at that age, I think I was still getting over making a mediocre C- on the simplest A-line Home Ec skirt project ever.  That experience almost made me give up sewing forever.

All of this was accomplished over the course of about three weeks, with the last of the hand-finishing done this afternoon.  She could only work on it in spurts on the weekends, because she carries quite a full load at school.  But it was oh, so worth it:

Mission accomplished!
Nothing quite like the satisfaction that comes from wearing something
you created, from the design idea through to the finished garment.
This bodice fits her perfectly, and we can use the adjusted muslin to
work on future projects.  Bonus!

Tried to get a better shot of the bodice - but my camera just hated
focusing on that black and white fabric.  I think her smile was
more important, anyway.

Another view - we tried so hard to keep
the flirtiness of the underskirt/overskirt, but that
top layer of sheer chiffon-type fabric almost
drove us nuts.  But she persevered!
Polka Dotty!

(These four photos were taken by Son # 1)

And yes, for those of you wondering whether the Sewing Assistant had a hand paw in things, I can assure you he did.  Here he is, consulting with her about her next refashion:

"Now about this seam, here....this is what I think you should do...."

....and consulting with me, over camera settings and such:

"Here.  Let me help with those buttons....or maybe that dangling lens cap...."


  1. I think it's a great way to bond with your son's GF. My son is seven and I often wonder how I will be when I have to compete for his attention. This is what I hope for ;)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this dress refashion with us on Refashion Coop for the round-up.
    You are very welcome to come and help me find the best dress refashion tutorials over here:


    Eddie's Room on Facebook come over for some crafty ideas and conversation. :-)