Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Grand Maternity Dress

This week has been a busy one.  I had lots of good intentions for sewing projects (including getting things more organised) but work has been busy and I've been immersed in an amazing book that I can't seem to put down (Shantaram), so I didn't make as much progress as I intended to.

I did a lot of planning!  This week happens to be National Recycling Week so I wanted to do some mending, altering and upcycling.  Saturday rolled around, and I went to week 2 of my overlocker course, then I was all in the mood for an evening of sewing.

In my sister's stash (which I have) were some pieces of this cute yellow polka dot crepe.  I remember when I was a little child that fabric was in my mum's stash.  Of course, as it's recently become mine, it stood out to me in its cuteness and on inspection, I realised that it wasn't just a bit of fabric, it was unpicked pattern pieces.  No, it was an unpicked dress.  Obviously someone (I think my mum) wanted to reuse it and never got around to it.

I had started thinking about what I could possibly make with it - maybe a cute skirt, when last week my sister asked me if I could dig it out for her.  I was like, actually it's already dug out.  She's like "oh good, it was Mum's maternity dress, can you put it back together? I want to wear it". 

Of course it was a maternity dress!  That wide empire line with the pleats.  And of course, there's a good reason my sister wants a maternity dress.  How can I refuse this favour for her when she's busy making me a new niece of nephew?  Awwwwwww!

So I put together all the seams.  Thank god no one had unpicked the zipper.  Then there was the sleeves and neckline.   Hmmmm.  Long flared sleeves.  Very cute and late 1960s, but not really my sister's style, or appropriate for a Sydney summer (I think the fabric is poly).    So I had to shorten them, but there's no return from that.  I took out the pins and folded them up to try out a couple of lengths.  There was another scrap of fabric - a remnant and evidence that the original dress was handmade probably by our Mum. No facing pieces for the neckline.

I was mulling over the issue of sleeve length, texting photos to my sister.  She wanted short, not sleeveless (that was my first choice).

Then, last week Gertie posted the solution:  band sleeves!  Cute as a button.  Last night I set about making the band sleeves out of the extra piece of fabric (so the cute winter flared sleeves can still be used if we change our mind).

And here's the result:

I cured the lack of neck facing by using white bias binding, fixed up the hem and voila.  I hope she likes it!

I love that this is a "restoration" of a dress that both my sister and I have "worn" before, in a way, even before we both drew breath.  

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