22 april 2019


A good long while ago, Hanne and Astrid hosted a sale where they sold some of their old stock of materials, costumes and clothes. One of the items was a vintage maxi dress, all black floral chiffon and viscose that looked pretty awesome, but also a bit small. Hanne convinced me to try it on anyway, and it magically fit like it was made for me! I took it home and there it waited for warmer days. I then wore it once, washed it on a cold delicate cycle and discovered the chiffon layer had shrunk in super weird ways, making the dress unwearable.


I sulked for a while and then unpicked the entire thing to make a pattern out of the lining. After a quick muslin to check the fit I cut into some precious viscose from my stash and made this regeneration happen:

It's not a super complicated dress, but it has some interesting details! Which are very hard to spot in this dark and busy print. My bad! The front bodice has a sort of pointy yoke with gathered cups attached to it, the back has a v-neck. All neck and underarm edges are finished with bias tape that extends into ribbons to form shoulder straps and tie into a bow, but there is a separate shoulder strap underneath (which prevents wardrobe malfunctions if the bows become untied!).

The hardest part was figuring out the order of construction! I didn't write anything down (obviously) but did manage to find a way to get a clean finish on the inside. The bodice is lined in a cotton voile to give the viscose some extra structure and stability. I thought about lining the skirt since that would allow for a cleaner waist seam finish but decided I'd be happier if this was as light and airy as possible.

I used this project as a way to get more familiar with my new sewing machine, by trying out some of the different feet that came with it. I fell in love with the edgestitching foot! I don't really have a problem getting straight topstitching on sturdier fabrics (like jeans) but find it a bit of a challenge on light or fiddly stuff, and this foot really helped. I used it to topstitch the bias binding on the bodice and it looks so neat. I also tried the rolled hem foot on the (haha) hem, but that was less of a success. I probably just need more practice but found it a bit challenging to get a neat result: in some places it worked perfectly but sometimes it wouldn't properly catch the fabric or only fold it once. In the end I folded the cole thing over once again and stitched it down, since the fabric is fine enough to get away with that without things getting bulky.

Another thing I'll need to spend some more time on is my invisible zipper installation. I need to figure out the best needle position to hit that sweet spot of stitching close enough to the zipper teeth so it's invisible, but not so close that it interferes with the zipper! This one works (thankfully) but it's not going as smoothly as it should and I'm praying it doesn't break.

I'm really glad that I got to save this dress in a way! The original might be gone, but I think I like this one even more...

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