Dress Make-Over

Once upon a time, I had a dress that had never felt quite right, and a top that just didn’t work. I made the dress a while back, felt displeased, and modded it a bit. It still didn’t feel right, so it got buried in my wardrobe.

The top I got as a souvenir from Mom a long, long time ago. That was back when she still tried to understand what I like. Sadly, she forgot that I’m horrified of spiders.

A few weeks ago, I found both the top and the dress, and asked them whether they’d like to get tossed, or play nice together.

The answer was obvious. Dress make-over!

I liked the shape of the top along with its mesh sleeves. The dress had a nice hem, so I decided to combine them. This way, I’d get to make the best of both item’s good qualities.

I started by taking out my scissors. I got these from my ex-mother-in-law (she didn’t die or anything, I just got divorced) a few years ago. I’m not really into the Moomin-thing, but Fiskars makes the kind of scissors I love. They’re durable, easy to sharpen, and comfortable to use.

The scissors are available on amazon in case you’re into Moomin characters. If you get them through the link below, I might earn a little extra.
Moomin Stainless Steel Moominmamma Scissors

I cut the dress at the waist so that I could use all of the hem. I ended up shortening it a bit, though. I like hems to fall mid-thigh, knee, or all the way to the floor, and this one ended up in the gray area of “below the knee”, commonly known as eww in my world.

I also cut the top at the waist. I like waistlines to sit at the narrowest part of the waist. Through this procedure, I gained a bit of cobweb-print material. I used it cut out basic cuffs to replace the ragged ruffles at the sleeves.

I like those, basically, in this top they were just too small and a bit sad.

I serged the pieces together at the waist, installed cuffs, and voila! Two not-so-happy garments turned into a cute dress!

I really like giving sad clothes make-overs, and this trick is among my favorites. Combining a top with a hem to gain a dress is quick, easy, and rewarding. This dress make-over resulted in a comfy and cute dress with just a bit of edge. I might show this to Mom someday to see whether she remembers the top she gave me, or just serve me the good old “dear lord, what on earth are you wearing”-shriek.

With a seam at the waist, this dress needs a belt to ease out the contrast created by two different kinds of fabric. I like to wear this with an elastic belt, a tight petticoat (the hem flies a bit and it makes me uncomfortable), and small, sparkly bits of jewelry. This dress is basic enough to wear for running errands, and still cute enough to style up for a Friday-night outing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my dress make-over!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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Ruffle Dress

Every now and again, I decide I no longer like a dress. Lately, since autumn is drawing closer, my wardrobe seems to be in need of me hitting F5. New trends are rolling in, and instead of going on a mad shopping spree, I like to weed out the dresses that no longer feel just right, and change them. It’s fun, it’s affordable, and the environment likes it, too.

Last week, a dress I made for New Year suddenly had an existential crisis. It was a long spaghetti strap mermaid dress made with black viscose jersey. I don’t think I’ve worn it more than twice, and for that reason, I have no pictures of it.

As I heard the dress wailing, I took it out, and inquired whether it would enjoy drastic surgery.

The reply was “oh god yes”, so I set to work.

I had purple viscose jersey stashed. It’s a bit too purple to work as an entire garment, but paired up with black, it’s perfect. I took some of the purple fabric, and cut out a very short bodice. I wanted the updated dress to have an empire waist, but a fitted one.

I really like simple styles, the kind of dresses you can just pull on, and not have to worry about since. This one seemed to need something extra. A detail, maybe.

Something ruffly.

I have this little bit of an obsession with ruffled button lists. I’ve added this detail to one garment so far, and wanted to make another one. The black and purple dress was the perfect victim.

I took strips of purple jersey and a bit of black lace, and sewed them onto the front piece. The process is actually really easy: pleat or gather strips of fabric, arrange them so that they please your eye, and sew to place.

I cut the black mermaid dress just below the bust, and above the knee. After serging the bodice together, I joined the two at the waistline.

To keep the ruffle dress from going over the top, I bound the neckline and the sleeves in a very basic way. I was kinda thinking about double-binding the neckline with black lace, but that would have maybe been too much.

The ruffle dress turned out really nice. I love the way it looks and feels. It’s super-comfy, and since it has a bit of detail, it doesn’t really need a bunch of accessories. It really is one of those dresses you can just pull on and forget.

And the best part is, the left-over hem of the mermaid dress is long enough to be made into a skirt!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Ruffle Dress.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

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Velvet Print Corselet

Last time, I promised to show you the corselet featured in Friday’s post on Tuesday. Well, as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way of things. I was running all sorts of errands yesterday, and had to push this week’s first post forward a bit. But as promised, I’m still featuring the velvet print corselet!

This corselet is made with our Embroidered Corselet Pattern. The shape of the pieces is exactly the same, but I did make some modifications to the original pattern. Instead of embroidering the garment, I used a velvet printed fabric for this corselet. The material is elastic, and the print both looks and feels cool. I used the same fabric for binding and bone channels. A contrast colour might have made the end result too busy.

I also added a lace up back to the original style. This is a simple mod: instead of cutting the back piece on fold, cut it in two pieces. Use fusible interfacing to stabilize the edges, sew facings on them, and add eyelets. This makes the corselet look and feel a bit different, and allows it to be altered in size. Elastic garments rarely need to be let out, but it’s still a nice option.

I like to wear these kinds of corsets and corselets with dresses. This style doesn’t have a modesty panel, so it leaves the back partly exposed. It’s difficult to get a skirt waist to remain neatly in place. Dresses are easier in that sense. They offer full coverage, and don’t require tugging or adjusting.

For the photos, I paired my velvet print corselet with our Hooded Dress. The style is made with two layers of light jersey, and can be made with or without a hood. I prefer the hoodless style myself. I have a lot of hair, and it never co-operates with hoods. The basic style of the dress pleases me quite well, though. So much actually that I’ve made another one. I’ll feature that version in an upcoming Everyday With an Edge -post, so do stay tuned!

The Hooded Dress works really well with corset and corselets. It has flowing lines, and the waist sits a bit higher. To give the dress more shape, I wear it with belts and corsets. The reverse puff-sleeve, or bishop’s sleeve, gives the dress a soft, feminine feel. Made with a full length hem, this dress would bear a very Victorian vibe.

A two layer hem paired with a corselet offers a chance to drape the hem. For the photos, I tucked the top layer of the front hem under the corselet’s waist. This creates a draped detail to the hem, and alters the look of the dress in a subtle way. In a fully black dress this trick isn’t too noticeable. Making the dress in two colours and draping the hem creates a more striking effect.

Don’t forget that The Embroidered Corselet is this week’s VIP-offer! Join our mailing list to gain access to special offers.

Next time, we’ll continue with the velvet print corselet. In Friday’s post I’ll also be revealing our theme for the next two weeks!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

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Let’s Make… Add Ruffles to Blouse

Once upon a time, I had a short sleeved blouse. An ordinary blouse made with stretchy fabric. It was comfy, but getting a bit old and having a mid-life crisis. Much like its owner. It was pretty much the right size, all that really needed doing was adjusting darts on the back.
But I wanted to make it less ordinary. So I decided to do the good old “add ruffles to blouse” -trick.
I took a long strip of fabric that tinted quite a lot towards blue, and cut it into four pieces.
I shaped the strips, and did a rolled hem on one of the long sides on each strip.
I pinned the strips to the front of the blouse, rouching them a little as I went a long. I sewed them on, snapped a picture, GIMPed it, and then my computer ate it. Very impolite on its part.
I left a gap between the ruffle and the button list.
… so that I’d have room for another layer. I pinned the second pair of ruffles onto the front, hiding one of the raw edges under the button list.
The other side was made differently, so I hid the edge of the ruffle with satin ribbon.
After sewing the ribbon on, it made a nice little detail.
And that was all it took. The blouse turned from meh to fun, and now I can’t wait to wear it again!
For the pictures, I paired the blouse with pants, but it works well with long skirts and corsets as well.
The ruffles give the blouse a feminine touch, and make it different in a very subtle way.
This trick works for all kinds of blouses. Try adding patterned materials, or making many narrow rows of ruffles with different fabrics!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather
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Let’s Make… Boring Tee to Cool Top

Once upon a time, there was a T-shirt.
Now I’m not much of a T-shirt -person. There’s something I can’t put my finger on that makes me uncomfortable when wearing one.
Naturally, T-shirts are very common, and many find their way to me.
I see it as my sworn duty to give each one a makeover.
This Tee had a girly skull print. I liked it, and wanted to turn the Tee a bit more feminine. It was an almost perfect fit, so I didn’t need to take it in at the sides.
I started by folding the Tee with side seams facing. I cut off the collar and the sleeves, leaving a deep V-neck and a low rise back.
The easiest way to do this is to first cut off the sleeves, and then open the shoulder seams. After that, it’s much easier to get the Tee to lie flat on a surface. After, take any backless top, fold it accordingly, and use it as a pattern to find the right length for the back piece. The neckline is best shaped while trying the top on. You can cut it super low, or leave it higher for more coverage.
When opening the fold, I got a backless V-neck top.
Which naturally needed something.
I measured the distance from shoulder to back, and covered it with elastic band. I didn’t cut it, but used the same length of elastic to bind the back of the top. I left another bit of elastic to the other shoulder. These would later be used as straps. I used ordinary elastic band, since I’d accidentally ran out of all the nicer kinds. Elastic lace will look pretty as straps, too.
I bound the neckline with narrow elastic lace.
 I added two more straps to each shoulder, so that I had three pairs. I would have added some elastic lace to the straps, but, well, I ran out of that as well.
 I attached the straps to the back piece. As an afterthought, it might have been a good idea to make the straps cross each other… that would have given me a trendy cage-detail.
 The transformation didn’t take long, but did wonders to an ordinary Tee!
The top turned out nice and comfy, and with a subtle skull print, I can wear it without feeling like an exclamation point. Next time I do this, I’ll add an extra pair of straps (or two) and see how much fun can be had with crossing them!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather
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Two Fails equals One Success

Once upon a time, there were two pieces of clothing I’d made.
Or tried to make.
A top that just didn’t feel right, and a dress that failed miserably.
I liked the fabrics on both, and decided to salvage them.
I cut the yoke and straps off the dress, leaving a loud orange hem. I really like the colour, and I love the print, but alone it’s very, very orange. Combining it with a black top would hopefully tone it down a bit.
I cut the binding off the collar, and shortened the hem of the top.
I had to make the hem a bit narrower to avoid a bulky waist. After pinning it down, I got to thinking.
It’s always good to take a “let’s design this thing”-break mid-project…
The yoke of the dress was made with two layers of orange. There was just enough to make cuffs.
And the hem of the top was just wide enough to make a sewn in belt.
And I had a bit of underwear lace stashed.
So what if…
I folded the cuffs after sewing the long sides together. This way, they’d look nice and tidy after just one serged seam.
With right sides together, I sewed the cuffs on. The seam is completely hidden, and the folded edge needs no finishing.
I attached the sewn-in belt the same way: fold a strip of fabric, and pin it to the hem with right sides facing and raw edges together.
 Before serging, I pinned the hem on, too. One seam is plenty.
After turning the dress right side out, the belt sat nicely at the waist, hiding the seam, and adding a nice detail. This can also be done with elastic band, or even lace.
Speaking of lace, I pinned a piece of it to the neckline. Right sides together as usual.
After serging, I top-stitched the seam down. Looks pretty, and since the elastic lace is a little bit shorter than the collar, it keeps the fabric in place, and I don’t have to worry about accidentally showing too much skin.
 I did a basic rolled hem with my trusty serger, and that was all it took.
 The finished dress is comfortable, pretty, and very easy to pair with long-sleeved tops under it, or cardigans over it. I’m completely in love with it, and hope it gets a lot of wear this summer.
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather
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Dress-Mod with Shredded Detail

I happened upon a dress at the flea market. A simple, black dress made with polyester lycra. At the cost of 1€, I couldn’t leave it there.
At home, I tried it on, and found there was room for two!
I could have just re-shaped the dress, but that would have meant losing some of the length. So I dug out a discarded turtleneck, and asked if it wanted to play, too.
I cut off the straps on the dress, leaving a long tube. I also shortened the top, and cut off the collar.
The dress was really big at the waist, so I took it in at the side seams. As I am blessed with a wide ass child-bearing hips, I had to make the seam a bit dreastic in shape.
With elastic fabrics, this works. With non-elastics though, it’s better to not do this.
 I attached the bodice to the hem, and sewed a strip of fabric in to soften the seam.
The extra bit of fabric looks like a sewn-in belt, and reduces the eye-sore-effect excess seams tend to have.
 I bound the collar with a narrow strip of fabric, and top-stitched it down. The basic T-shirt collar is easy to sew, and works well in simple garments.
But.
The dress covered me from neck to toe to elbow, and I felt like a nun in it.
So I decided to add a little something.
I tried the dress on, and marked four lines with safety pins.
 Then, I folded to bodice, carefully aligning shoulder and side seams. I pinned the four lines again, making sure they were even.
 And then I cut.
I made the cuts in a soft V-shape, and smoothed out any sharp corners after the initial cut was made.
 I gained a slashed front that gives the dress a bit of drama.
This fabric manipulation trick works with all kinds of jerseys. Before cutting your top up, make sure the knit will hold!
 The finished dress is narrow and tight, but the elastic fabric makes it super-comfortable.
While I was at it, I made another dress using the same method of combining two garments. I’ll show it to you next week!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather
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Let’s Make… Add backlacing to a blazer

Once upon a time, I had a corduroy blazer. I found it at a flea market many years ago, and figured it would fall apart a month later. H&M had made the blazer with quality, though, and I’ve worn it with joy.
This spring, however, the blazer felt a little too snug. Might have been the pullover I wore under it, or maybe it shrunk (ladies do not gain weight so it can’t be that), who knows, but still it felt uncomfortable.
I wasn’t ready to let go of it, so I gave it a makeover.
To make the blazer a bit more roomy, I opened the center back seam. The collar I left untouched. There was a slit on the hem of the original blazer, so the edges were uneven. I straightened them by just cutting off excess fabric.
I tucked in raw edges of fabric, and top-stitched both sides. The corduroy was light, and starting to show signs of wear, so I didn’t want to strain the fabric with eyelets.
I still wanted the back to have a lazing, so I could alter the size when I’m wearing more beneath. Cheap satin ribbon is perfect for this purpose: though it can’t handle washing, it looks nice, and holds well when tied.
I decided to go with buttonholes.
I marked their places on both sides of the back, and made them as small as possible.
After, I could just lace the parts together. The detail looks pretty, and gives the blazer both room and versatility.
The blazer fits well now, and I’m really happy with the result.
 Though the change wasn’t too drastic, it still helped prolong the life of a garment.
The lines of the blazer are soft yet androgynous. I like to pair it with hems both long and short, and flowing scarfs to give it a more feminine feel.The laced back is also a feature on a freshly launched sewing pattern. I had found a little piece of patterned wool fabric from a flea market, and turned it into a snug-fitting blazer with a laced up back and low-cut collar. Check it out, and tell me what you think!
Until next Wednesday.
Love,
Heather
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