With a habit of saving every fabric scrap and a sewing room that is bursting at the seams (haha, pun intended), it was time for me to take action. Ok, this project did require the acquisition of some new fabric and a pattern, but Spotlight were having a sale and patterns don't take up much room and I think overall I saved a few square centimeters of space. Anyway, I got a new dress so that's always a positive!
Here's what I started with:
- a pair of track pants in charcoal knit
- a long, thin strip of chevron print upholstery fabric from Remida (creative reuse centre)
- leftover scraps from my polka dot Jamie jeans
- some pale grey ponte knit from Spotlight
- some brown lining fabric that I bought for another project and didn't use (not pictured).
And, of course, the pattern - Vogue 1316
I really liked the grey print, so wanted that to feature centre front and centre back. I attacked Isobel (my dressform) with pins and did some experimenting until I had a combination I was happy with!
I had to fiddle with the chevron print as the pattern was off centre. I sewed two lengths together to achieve the pattern placement I wanted before cutting my centre back and front pieces. There were a LOT of pattern pieces in this dress, so I tried to stay organised and not lose any.
The instructions have you piecing together all the little front bodice pieces, which have lovely shaping built in to them, then the skirt front. It was so exciting to see it all come together and I just couldn't bear to stop sewing until I'd reached a point where I could hold it up in front of the mirror and prance about a bit. I love the front of this dress.
Oh yeah, and I added pockets. I used the pictures and explanation by Carolyn and did exactly the same. It was actually Carolyn's beautiful version of this pattern, made from old corduroy jeans, that inspired me to make it in the first place. The pockets were a bit fiddly and there are a few wrinkles behind them, but I'm very happy I added them to the dress.
As I mentioned, I wanted the grey print at the back, which was not how the colours were arranged in the pattern. According the the pattern, I should have used the grey polka dot for the centre back. Looking at the dress now, I think the polka dot would have been preferable, but a) I didn't have enough and b) it is really not enough of an issue to worry about. It does go to show how well thought out the use and placement of contrasting fabrics is in this pattern though. I used an invisible zip at the back instead of a normal zip.
I made this dress in a size 12, which is one size down from that indicated by my measurements on the Vogue pattern. The fit is snug, but perfect. No tight spots and the wrinkles on the sides are from the pockets, not fit issues.
As I mentioned, it was a joy to see this dress come together. My main struggle was with the lining. It didn't want to sit where it should, out of sight, even though I tried to understitch and press it into submission. In the end, I tacked it down here and there with hand stitches, kept invisible by placing them in the seamlines.
So there we are. A dress I love made from some old pants and a few scraps. Fan-bloomin-tastic!
PS. I have entered this dress in the Repurpose, Reuse, Refashion challenge with Sew Amy Sew. Check out the Flickr group for some great refashioning ideas.