Friday, July 20, 2012

Shirtdress shortcut

I've been making dresses, often from recycled clothing. You've seen some of these before, notably the what would Rachel wear? dress on the far right. 

The blue tie-dye rayon dress is the pieced bodice of Burda 8985 V2.

I've made shirtdresses from scratch before, like this rayon number from a 1980s Ralph Lauren pattern.  (You can see a full length photo of the dress on me in Two Scarves. )  I was not happy with the waist seam construction and looking for a better way. Click on this photo to see the words on the print.  Laying out the dress so that "look here" does not appear on potentially embarrassing locations took a great deal of time.  LOL. 
However, the dress was well loved and worn often for about a decade.  I wanted to replace it with another blue shirtdress without construction drama.

The Burda 8985 method of sewing a 1" wide straight seam, finishing the edges, then topstitching the seam allowance to the bodice with some elastic inside is certainly much easier and faster. It can be bulky in a heavier fabric. But, in a light one, it yields good results.

I came across this blue men's shirt at Goodwill, with a ketchup stain on one sleeve.  I chopped off the lower sleeves with the stain  about 6" below the underarm seam.  Then I chopped off the bodice about 18" below the back neck like this.  (I have a 15.5" back waist, the seam allowance takes up 1", and that leaves 1.5" for blousing and movement ease.)
I find it funny that I am replacing a Ralph Lauren dress with one made from a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt. I then attached a cotton jersey skirt from a Calvin Klein skirt pattern.
I found a plum men's shirt at Goodwill in a cotton/nylon blend with slight underarm staining. You can't see it unless you look really close and I am not averse to elbowing people who stick their faces into my armpit. So the shirt was perfect for this plum printed lawn remnant I picked up at SAS.  Any clue what I am doing in this photo?
I was short of fabric, so I pieced the back with a brown/orange lawn piece found in the same bin. ($6/lb and cotton lawn weighs next to nothing. There is a sewn in poly lining, $4/lb and even more weightless than the lawn.)
There was just enough of the brown/orange lawn to make a second shirtdress with this coral shirt languishing unworn in my closet.
It was perfect for our hostess in Colorado.
The eagle-eyed may notice other unblogged dresses on the rod, including one made with a vintage Issey Miyake pattern. Stay tuned!

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