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Topic: Help with dress recon please?  (Read 3438 times)
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maenad_au
« on: January 08, 2008 05:46:09 AM »

This is my first reconstruction that I'm going to attempt. I have this very basic 1980s dress that has cute material and falls on my hips nicely. My hips are wider than average so it's hard for me to find dresses that fit.

My problem is that the top part of the dress is horribly out-dated. After ripping out the shoulder pads and putting a hole in the shoulder seam I realised I had no idea what to do next. I'd prefer to take it in a rockabilly direction but I've been looking on the web and haven't found anything, so I'd be just as happy with something simple and effective. My sewing is mainly by hand too. Could somebody help me or suggest a tutorial please?

The photos are just thumbnails that link to bigger images.
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MyDestny
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2008 11:31:51 AM »

Is this fabric stretchy?? I guess it doesn't matter too much. There are a number of different things you could do with it. Here are some pictures of ideas and what I would do to achieve a similar look.

Rounded collar shirt
http://www.shopplasticland.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=P70830302&Category_Code=Rockabilly-Style

To do this, I would start by removing the sleeves, and cutting the skirt part off below the bust. I would say about 2 1/2 " below so you allow for a seam. Then make the top part as fitted as you can and still be able to slip it over your shoulders when putting on. Then I would attach the sleeves back on, if there is extra fabric in the sleeves now, make them gathered at the top. Then create a waistband in a constrasting color and reattach the skirt by either cutting down the size or or making pleats to make it it fit the size of the waist. Then make a collar in a contrasting color (black, white or red). If you make the color rounded like the picture, kind of like a Peter Pan style, it willlook more Rockabilly styled.

A little bit different styled dress but still about the same technique as above.

Collared dress
http://www.shopplasticland.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=P71011801&Category_Code=Rockabilly-Style


A really cute bib styled top. You could achieve this by finding a button down shirt with frilly trim on it and sewing it to the dress' chest area.

http://www.shopplasticland.com/store/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=P70707308&Category_Code=Rockabilly-Style

A big key to making the rockabilly style is using piping for trim. It seems to be on that style a lot. I would choose black or red for your fabric.

Good Luck!!
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audsnico
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2008 11:35:34 AM »

hmmm, it would be easier to make suggestions if we knew how it fit on top.

You could make it into a spaghetti strap/jumper type top.
like this: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/paper-doll-productions-.html
I don't know how easy this would be for you, since this is your first recon....

The print is pretty rockabilly already, so i'd look for an easy classic top shape, then add rockabilly details (red lace, bows, gun appliques, whatever)

edit: maenad_au, what is your sewing level? I was thinking that since this is your first recon, you may be a beginning sewer. The suggestions by MyDestny look good, but making a collar and reattaching sleeves are pretty advanced. As is using piping anywhere.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2008 11:37:47 AM by audsnico » THIS ROCKS   Logged
violentjayne
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008 06:32:46 PM »

I think a halter dress can look pretty Rockabilly and would be super easy w/ the fabric you have to work with ..
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maenad_au
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008 07:16:53 PM »

hmmm, it would be easier to make suggestions if we knew how it fit on top.

You could make it into a spaghetti strap/jumper type top.
like this: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/paper-doll-productions-.html
I don't know how easy this would be for you, since this is your first recon....

The print is pretty rockabilly already, so i'd look for an easy classic top shape, then add rockabilly details (red lace, bows, gun appliques, whatever)

edit: maenad_au, what is your sewing level? I was thinking that since this is your first recon, you may be a beginning sewer. The suggestions by MyDestny look good, but making a collar and reattaching sleeves are pretty advanced. As is using piping anywhere.
hmmm, it would be easier to make suggestions if we knew how it fit on top.

You could make it into a spaghetti strap/jumper type top.
like this: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/paper-doll-productions-.html
I don't know how easy this would be for you, since this is your first recon....

The print is pretty rockabilly already, so i'd look for an easy classic top shape, then add rockabilly details (red lace, bows, gun appliques, whatever)

edit: maenad_au, what is your sewing level? I was thinking that since this is your first recon, you may be a beginning sewer. The suggestions by MyDestny look good, but making a collar and reattaching sleeves are pretty advanced. As is using piping anywhere.

Yes audsnico, that was a good guess, my sewing skills are very basic. I'm a mum and a student and so the budget just won't stretch to buying a sewing machine. Despite requests every Xmas for the past 4 or 5 years, the family just don't seem to get it.

The dress's fit on top is loose. The suggestion of a colar I think I could work with if I find a top with the right sort of colar, cut it off and sew it to the neckline of this one. I don't think I have one right at the moment though and the sleeves absolutely have to go. They remind me too much of my school uniform. Actually I think that's what annoys me most about this dress. The cut is just like my junior summer uniform! LOL. I only just realised that.
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"Burn down the disco,
Hang the blessed DJ,
Because the music that they constantly play,
says nothing to me about my life."
- The Smiths

http://www.wists.com/Maenad
audsnico
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008 08:31:27 PM »

If the top is loose, you're probably going to have a problem when you cut the sleeves out, that the arm holes will be too big, and will sag.

I was originally going to recommend a halter top, like violentjayne said, but I don't know how it would work with the princess seams.....

but ultimately, you're just gonna have to cut into it and see what happens Smiley Then start pinning to try to make it fit, then sew it up and decorate. If this is your first one, don't worry too much about making a perfect finished project, just learn something!

If you get stuck and need more help, come back and ask Smiley
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ulcdmj
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008 01:56:43 AM »

I agree with a halter. Maybe one where the straps tie behind the neck. I personally like that style.
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maenad_au
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008 05:09:50 AM »

Thanks for all the help everyone!  Cool 

I've gone with the halter neck because something clicked and I could suddenly see how it could be done. My handsewing leaves a lot to be desired but it's mostly invisible and I am having trouble with the lack of fit around the bust but on the whole I'm really pleased with how good it looks so far. Since it's my first reconstruction I expected there to be a lot trial and error so that's OK. I'll post pictures of it when it's finished.

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"Burn down the disco,
Hang the blessed DJ,
Because the music that they constantly play,
says nothing to me about my life."
- The Smiths

http://www.wists.com/Maenad
ghilie
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008 05:19:30 AM »

By the way, a sewing machine doesn't have to be expensive.  Be on the look out when you go to thrifting.  Most thrifted sewing machines work just fine.  And during Christmas sales, I have seen some for $70 at Walmart and Joanns.  Be careful though, it's pretty addictive!
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audsnico
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008 10:38:41 AM »


I am having trouble with the lack of fit around the bust


you might be able to put in some darts or just take in the side seams a bit to get the right fit. What I like to do is put it on inside out, pin it so it fits right, and then sew along the pin lines.
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