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Topic: Matronly to sassy recons  (Read 9905 times)
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thebeatcowboy
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« on: May 06, 2008 07:46:02 PM »

I found this, um, matronly dress while thrift store shopping.  It was one of those "OMG this is so ugly" finds, yet the fabric was a neat turquoise and black leopard print, and despite its Designing Women tendencies, I could see it had potential.

Before:


After:


A couple months later, I found a similar dress and knew if I did it once, I could do it again.

Before:


After:


Both required the removal of shoulder pads and sleeves and adjustment of the width of the bodice.  The blue one was also taken up in the shoulders and neckline, and the hemline was raised.  I raised the waist in the pink one, which also had the effect of raising the hemline, and added some elastic gathering to define the waist.

Hope you like it!  Comments and criticism welcome.

**EDIT!**

I had a brain wave and made one last modification to the pink matronly dress.  It takes care of the slight gappiness of the front bustline and adds, IMHO, a bit of extra style.

New After:
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008 08:24:55 PM by thebeatcowboy - Reason: Made some more modifications to the pink dress! Added a new after pic. » THIS ROCKS   Logged
matuta
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« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2008 07:55:01 PM »

Great job!!! I looked at the before for a bit to imagine what you could have done with it ... and thought there was no way that you could make it look stylish, and you did! I kept going back and forth on the before and after and thought ... wow! well executed and such a nice dress for use this summer! Hmmmm ... maybe I should go through some family members closets ... hee hee
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hippiejo74
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008 08:07:07 PM »

 Grin Great job! Those were some of the fugliest dresses I've seen and you turned them into cute & wearable! Kiss
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008 08:07:21 PM »

Your dresses look absolutely awesome! The expression on your face in the 2nd before pic is hilarious!
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violentjayne
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008 08:13:24 PM »

Thsoe both look great ! way way better that before .. nice work  Smiley
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KarenLouiseM
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008 08:16:12 PM »

Incredibly nice work!  I wouldn't have thought it possible from the original dresses.

Now I want to do that! 

How, oh how?  Did you have to take it in on the sides or at the back?  And how did you do the top?  It's so perfect.  It doesn't look as if you took it apart.  So, how did you get the shape exactly right on each one? 

Amazing!
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threegirlsandaboy
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008 08:17:32 PM »

Wow--great transformations!  I love the Designing Women reference.  That was too funny!  Great work!!
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thebeatcowboy
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008 08:44:17 PM »

How, oh how?  Did you have to take it in on the sides or at the back?  And how did you do the top?  It's so perfect.  It doesn't look as if you took it apart.  So, how did you get the shape exactly right on each one? 

It's a little hard to give exact directions because I did some things differently on each dress because of their slightly different construction.  But, in general, this was the process I used:

  • Remove shoulder pads using seam ripper
  • Cut off sleeves at seam
  • Try it on and eyeball what changes you'd like to make

For the blue one, the shirred waist was perfect, but sat a little too low, and of course the whole thing was too wide.
  • Take it up at the shoulder seams first so the waist falls correctly
  • Take in the side seams so that it fits.  I took it in all the way from the armpit to the hem, but more in the bodice and less toward the bottom of the skirt.
  • Trim and finish the arm holes
  • Adjust hemline as needed (I raised it a bit)

For the pink one, I didn't have the benefit of the shirring, so I knew most of my adjustments would have to be made at the waist, which fell a bit too low as well.
  • Separate the bodice from the skirt, cutting out that old seam
  • Adjust the amount of overlap in the surplice top and secure with basting
  • Adjust the side seams of the bodice
  • Raise hemline at this point by trimming from the upper edge of the skirt (yay! no finishing the hem!)
  • Sew the skirt back onto the bodice, gathering with tiny pleats
  • Sew elastic onto the waist seam allowance to gather
  • Trim and finish the arm holes

Sorry if that was too lengthy, but I'd rather err on the side of over-explaining  Undecided  General rules I use for reconning: Try it on before and after every change you make, and make incremental changes because you can always take it in more, but ripping seams sucks.  (If you like ripping seams, by all means, go crazy)
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thebeatcowboy
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2008 08:46:56 PM »

Your dresses look absolutely awesome! The expression on your face in the 2nd before pic is hilarious!

Yes, I was definitely getting tired of running back and forth from the camera wearing a gawd-awful dress  Grin
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lindsycarranza
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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2008 08:59:06 PM »

Great job!!! I looked at the before for a bit to imagine what you could have done with it ... and thought there was no way that you could make it look stylish, and you did! I kept going back and forth on the before and after and thought ... wow! well executed and such a nice dress for use this summer! Hmmmm ... maybe I should go through some family members closets ... hee hee

I totally agree I kept looking back and fourth those are great!!
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Okay so once again I am completely redoing my pictures. Got tired of photobucket, the only reason I used it was for here so I decided I will just use Craftster's photo uploader. So while I am switching over my photo links will be broken. Message me if there is a post you would like the pics for.
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