Sep 28, 2013

It's Good Being Green!

This week's Refashion Runway challenge was Pantone's 2013 Color of the Year, Emerald.  Since I have made a goal to use up things already in my refashion stash, I was limited with finding something that fit the challenge.  My only real choice was this 100% silk dress–shapeless, with a few added details.  But I did like the fabric, and I had picked up months ago for only 50 cents!

I promptly got to work removing the shoulder pads, fake pocket flaps, and buttons down the front.

(Those are some industrial strength shoulder pads!)

I cut off the sleeves.  At first I thought I was going to make them 3/4 length, but ended up cutting them shorter in the end.

To get rid of the button front, I pinned, then stitched a new front seam, trimming away the excess.  This also made the neckline higher and more modest.

The shoulders were way too big for me.  I thought about removing the sleeves and cutting everything down to size, then had the idea to just gather the shoulders.  I ran a gathering stitch on each side of the shoulder seams and along the front yoke seam.

Now that the neckline and shoulders were finished, I worked on the waistline.  I knew that the belt detail I had planned would cinch up the excess fabric, but I wanted it to be more uniform.  So, I pinned tucks evenly around the front and back of the dress.  I stitched them in place.  These would eventually be hidden under the belt detail.

To make the belt detail, I cut two pieces of black stretch lycra, 12" wide by half the measurement of my waist.  I didn't allow extra for seam allowances since it had good stretch and I wanted it to fit more snug than loose.  I folded each piece of fabric lengthwise and stitched together.  Then I turned the tubes right side out and pressed with the seam in the center.

To give the front more detail, I gathered the center and tacked it in place.

I covered the gathered area by cutting a piece of lycra, folding lengthwise, stitching, turning, and pressing to form a tube.

I placed one end the tube inside another and stitched in place.  Then I placed my front belt detail through this loop so that the tacked gathers would be covered.

For the belt trim, I folded the ribbing in half lengthwise and stitched along the side. 

Before turning the tube inside out, I cut them to length (two for the back and two longer ones for the front.)  I then pressed the seam open, turn them right side out, then pressed them again.

I fastened the ribbing onto the silver ring and pinned it to the belt detail, trimming the ends as needed.  I then pinned this belt detail to the front of the dress at the side seams.

The other ribbing is pinned to the back piece (not shown) and then the whole thing is pinned in place to the back of the dress.

To finish the dress, it was just a matter of sewing up one side seam, placing an invisible zipper in the other side seam, hemming the bottom, and putting a casing with elastic in the sleeves.  (Sorry I don't have any pictures of the rest of the project.)

If you're visiting from the Renegade Seamstress, then you already know this whole outfit cost me only $6.50!

Dress - 50 cents
Leather coat - $2
Boots - $4
Necklace - free
Fabric scrap leftovers - free

Be sure to check out all the great refashions being presented on Refashion Runway at the Renegade Seamstress and vote for your favorite!  (Update: Voting is over for this challenge.)


  1. Inventive as always, Sue! You've got my vote again this week! Where did you find the $2 leather coat?! I thift all the time and have never found that great of a deal! You are the master of finds!!

  2. Awesome! I love the gathered shoulders so much and that belt is so cute.

  3. I thought this dress was too ugly to be made into anything cute, but you proved me wrong. Brilliant refashion.

  4. Sooo much better than the original. I love the belt!

  5. My favorite refashions are the ones that are the most drastic of changes. You've certainly accomplished that! This dress was hideous to begin with and adorable when finished! I absolutely love it! Great job! :)

  6. From totally shapeless to a beautiful fit. Love the idea of gathering the shoulders... being silk, this was a great decision.

  7. I like the gathering of the shoulders and yoke as an alternative to altering the sleeves; it looks lovely with this dress. Original idea for the belt and kudos for using what you had!

  8. Beautiful job! I love the colors of the dress and the belt! You did a top notch job, once again! :)

  9. OMG I love the belt!! LOVE it! Great job!

  10. What a transformation, Susan! I love these colors and the contrast of the belt. Well done.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan