A few years ago, I found a dress at a local charity shop (thrift store) and I fell in love with the fabric. When I shop, I look for fabrics first, including fibre content, then fit and size. I can fix fit and size usually. Then sometimes it takes me a little while to decide what to do with a piece. This is one of those stories.
The Original Dress
This halter dress from Oasis was darling, but about two sizes too small for me (maybe three). I tucked it away in my closet where I keep such projects to-be then rediscovered it recently and knew it was going to be a skirt.
This is while it’s still a dress, but I snapped a photo low to try to visualise how the skirt would look. I really wanted to keep it as close to the original design as possible because that’s what I fell for those years ago.
The colors in the fabric are some of my favourites and happen to correspond to a set of short sleeve sweaters I practically live in year-round.
I tried it on to approximate how it could fit.
It was snug.
Sewing scissors, sewing machine, cream thread
Wide elastic bands
Scrap cream fabric
I needed to add a bit of space in the bodice of the dress to make it the new waistband. I needed to let out the gathered fabric here on each side.
I decided to insert scrap fabric on either side of the smocked elastic back section.
The scrap fabric is a nice cream with large handwritten-styled numbers written out in charcoal. It is not the same as the dress fabric, but it has a similar feel.
This meant cutting into it and adding little darted panels and ripping the seams on either side of the smocked section.
Cutting into this beautiful fabric was tough, but I did it with a friend next to me. Thanks, Frankie!
Then I created custom darted panels to go in the gaps.
Using the scrap fabric (which is from IKEA and was our kitchen curtain and has also been used to make a wristlet knitting bag for Bernie).
I cut small panels, doubled over, and pinned them to the surrounding bodice sections. I added the darts later after a fitting.
I sewed the panels into the dress on three sides.
Then I tried it on and pinned for darts to go within the new panels. This was a slow approach because I’m a self-taught sewer/crafter.
We took a snuggle break.
The halter top was trimmed off at the straps and sewn along the edge. This was later folded over to make a wide double-thickness waistband.
In doing so, I decided to keep the side zipper. Mostly out of laziness.
Then to give a bit more security to the waistband, I added two sections of elastic.
Once these elastic strips were in place, I folded the bodice of the dress to create a nice wide waistband. I sewed around the edge, except for the smocked section.
I love the resulting skirt. I think my approach was a little clumsy, but it turned out in the end and is lovely. I suspect I’ll adjust the waist again next Spring.
One final before and after…
And in case you’re wondering about the top, it’s also from the charity shop. Zara €7, 100% linen.