One of my favourite things to do is to take a piece with potential and make it work. In this case I was gifted this crinkle rayon dress with a collared neckline, princess seams and a great print. Sadly it was rather shapeless and unflattering on me, so I got out my scissors and got creative. My goal was an easy-wear summer dress that I could ride my bike in that still looks put together and had a bit of a vintage vibe.
The first step was to cut off the bottom portion of the dress at the waist. I knew the top had to be more fitted, so I unpicked the binding under the arm and removed a vertical section from each side. To further shape the bodice, I took it in via darts at the front and back princess seams. After a trial assembly (pleating the skirt portion into the bodice waist) it wasn’t right. The waist was sitting too low, so I unpicked and chopped another couple of inches from the bottom of the bodice. This time things were nearly there. The centre back waist area was looking flat and overall it needed to be a bit more fitted. Solution: Elastic sewn into the waistband through all the fabric layers to gather above and below and making it more flattering and easy to move in.
After chopping a section from the hem for my preferred length, I used the piece to make a self-tie and scraps to make belt loops. This allows the dress to be cinched in even more, adjustable to preference.
At the waist seem, there was perfect spacing to add back a button directly over it. I used a small zig zag to re-make a buttonhole.
With the shoulder edges falling in an odd place, I added 3 small shoulder darts that extend 7″ in front to pull everything in just a little. It’s funny how these seemingly tiny adjustments make a big difference on the overall look and how the garment falls on the body.
Overall I’m happy that I stuck it out and made it work. The fabric was a little tricky at some points, but the crinkle effect and random print pattern help to hide any imperfections. I like the classic cut that I can dress up or down /blend with different retro looks and I think this will make a very wearable addition to my wardrobe.