I love the fashions of bygone days, mainly the 50's and 60's. Whenever I look at photographs from those decades I just long to be a part of them. I missed out on the 50's, and was pretty young in the 60's, but nonetheless, I am drawn to them. My mom always wore dresses it seems, and often we had matching ones. I look at her in photographs and love the dresses she wore. I wish that she would have saved them. I would have worn them today. Thankfully, she taught me to sew at a young age and I am forever grateful for that. Since I am drawn to these retro fashions, I have decided to have an ongoing series called "Retro Runway." This will be my attempt to refashion today's clothing, giving them a retro vibe. Of course, when I say "today's clothing" I might just mean something from the 80's or 90's, like the dress I started with below. I picked this up at a free clothing exchange. I was first drawn to the navy and white. It had a huge double collar, double-breasted bodice, big white buttons, and a dropped waist. It had potential!
I drew inspiration from these two vintage patterns...
And, this is what I ended up with...
You can continue reading if you would like to see the steps I took to complete this dress.
I began by cutting away the collars, sleeves, and skirt. I didn't bother with a seam ripper. I just cut everything away with my scissors.
I then turned the bodice around, placed it on my dress form and pinned to fit. I drew where I wanted my new neckline to be.
In order for the back to fit properly I needed to make a couple of darts in the back. The print of the fabric makes these hardly noticeable. (Note: The right side of the fabric showing in this picture is the original facing since this was the original front of the dress. I eventually opted to remove and discard the facing before sewing the darts.)
Once the bodice fit properly, I stitched the skirt to the bodice. The skirt was already pleated. All I had to do was add a few more pleats at the sides for it to fit the bodice. I was even able to retain the original side seam pockets.
Next was the zipper. I didn't have an invisible zipper on hand, so I just went with a regular one. I measured the length of the zipper and marked it with a pin. I stitched from the bottom of the dress to the pin with a regular length stitch. From the pin up to the neckline I stitched with a basting stitch. I then pressed the seam open.
I then carefully centered my zipper face down over the seam and pinned it in place.
On the right side, I stitched my zipper in place, being careful of the pins on the underside.
Once the zipper was all stitched, I used a seam ripper to carefully remove the basting stitches.
To fit the collar, I began by cutting it in half at the center back.
I pinned both sides of the collar to neckline, allowing the fronts to overlap. When I was happy with the placement, I marked with an ink pin where I should cut them.
This is where I got tired and zoned out on taking progress pictures...oops! To sum it up, the edge of the collar that attaches to the neckline is actually cut on a straight line. When you sew the straight edge to the curve of the neckline it makes the collar stand up and roll a bit as you can see in finished dress. I overlapped the front of the collar pieces, hand stitched them in place and added three small buttons. The back of the collar pieces were cut to a point and finished with the excess bias trim.
I retained the original sleeve detail. All I did was shorten them by cutting the excess from the top of the sleeves while fitting them to the new armholes.
Once my sleeves were attached, I decided to re-hem the dress. The only thing left to do was to add a skinny belt! Thanks for sticking with me to the end!
I like to link to these great parties!