Nyssa Jayne Makes It! on shoesandblues.com

A New Lease on Life, Part One

When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, I was in charge of sorting through her clothes.  I took a lot of them home initially as you can imagine, because it’s hard to make snap decisions about sentimental things, and ever since I’ve slowly filtered through the garments.

Lots of them were worn out, some didn’t suit me, and some didn’t fit me.  I have managed to donate the bulk of them, but I did come across some floral day dresses that were clearly handmade. The bodices are badly damaged on them and even if I could salvage them, none of them would fit me.  However, the skirts on the dresses are fine, and as the material is gathered or pleated on all the dresses, it means there is enough fabric to work with.

Gran loved to recycle, that she would turn old rubber gloves into rubber bands was my favourite trick, so I figured that a fitting tribute would be to refashion the dresses.

Refashioned dress.

I forgot to take a before shot of this dress, but I will make sure to remember for next time.

I cut the peter-pan collar out of the bodice pieces, I kept the skirt pretty much as-is, save for evening up the seams and the hems, and used a remnant of black satine I had in my stash for the new bodice.  The pattern is Colette’s free pattern Sorbetto, which means the dress doesn’t need any closures like a zip, however on the next make, I think I will do something a little bit more fitted.  I did try to use some elastic around the waist, but it created a lot of bulk and wasn’t any more flattering, so I removed it.

Close up.

Ignore the cat hair, I could lint roll for days and still be hairy.  The button is from Jimmy’s Buttons in Fitzroy, which if you ever get the chance I recommend visiting.  The ladies who work the shop may be cranky (I’ve not met Jimmy), but they have some fab buttons and laces, and will help you out and ring you up, which is all you need really.

Dress without a belt.

The dress can be worn without a belt, although Neil suggested it was a bit shapeless.  One of my favourite bloggers on my feed, Boo Dog and Me, wrote about enjoying her newest dress a little more relaxed around the waist, and there is no debate, it is a comfy, comfy feeling!

There is a tiny little fit issue that becomes apparent without the belt, and that’s the fact that I should have done a swayback adjustment in the back.  I’ve amended the Sorbetto pattern for next time, and the problem isn’t as apparent when the dress is worn with a belt, because everything gathers up a little.

Dress with a belt.

All belted up!  It still looks relaxed, but the extra cinch-in is just that little more flattering.

This dress was a little bit of time in the making — I cut the wrong sized Sorbetto initially, so I put it away for awhile to forget about it.  However, with the dress finished, I now have a perfectly-amended Sorbetto pattern, and some more ideas on what to do with the remaining dresses.  One of them I may just turn into a skirt, but I would like to do another dress, perhaps with a zipper or some buttons so that I can get a neater fit.

I did wear the dress to pub trivia and we came second — image how well we will do if the next dress is better?  That’s how this works!

(Actually, nothing is better than Marcus doing karaoke.  Congratulations to he and India, looking forward to their wedding in the next two weeks!)

February 5th, 2013
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  1. Heather on February 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Can't remember the dress as Mum's - but it looks terrific. Actually rather like it without belt xx

    1. Nyssa on February 5, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Mystery dress! Thank you very much Aunty H. :)

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