Sunday, 1 March 2015

REFASHIONED: A PAINTERLY UNDERTAKING

I don't refashion. I've not often been able to see the diamond in the rough, though I'm always in awe of those who can.


This is a pretty lame refashioning. It involves a hem... and a sash. But I argue that hem length can make or break a project, meaning you love it or hate it... or is that just me?

I actually made and blogged this dress back in April 2012.


Back when I sometimes tortured my curls into submission.

I intended it as a semi-corporate dress. Or maybe that's an overstatement. I made it to wear to my job in an office. Then I got retrenched the next month... and I felt really screwed up for quite a long time.

I always loved this dress. But the dress length was much longer than I normally wore casually and in a low heel/flats I looked like the worst kind of frump.

Oh, how I love this fabric though. It's the lightest rigid cotton sateen I've ever seen. It is so soft and drapey I thought it might be a rayon on first encounter. And better still, it perfectly fulfilled my vision for this dress - I envisioned fabric that looked like it had been paint-splashed, wantonly and brightly. A painterly dress.


I kept taking it out of my wardrobe from time to time and stroking it's loveliness. But the try-on was the killer.

So what's a girl to do? I channeled my recent crazy successful Japanese makes and went for a slightly less frumpy sack dress. One 4 inches shorter (!), sans sash and with belt carrier loops removed.


Whilst it's not quite a woohoo, as I still think there are some fitting issues, it will most definitely now get worn. The fit issues would best be dealt with by removing the centre back invisible zipper, taking in some "sack" and re-installing zipper. I just don't have the desire at present.


And in the interests of keeping it real, this is the real refashioning that occured about 2hrs after I finished the above shoot.


It would appear I'm no longer a frustrated ex-competitive mountain bike marathon racer. I got caught out on a training ride for a Short Circuit Cancer race I'm competing in two weekend's time. It went from sunny and 36 degrees celsius to a howling thunderstorm complete with hail. Hails hurts peeps, and it hurts even more when you are a considerable distance from shelter in the middle of the bush. I couldn't tell mud from skin. It was super pretty.

Are you a refashioner? Care to share a link in the comments below to your best/favourite refashion?

30 comments:

  1. wow ... the contrast between the last two pictures - that's a refashion alright :). Kudos to you for participating in the race !!!
    The hemline can make such a difference - I find the updated version more in line with what you've been making/wearing lately.

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  2. Owwww!!! thank you for confirming that I won't follow you down the hail/mud/bike path ;)
    Does it count as a refashion that took 20cm off the hem & 4cm off the collar of my yellow happy sunshine dress? No, it wasn't finished at the time, just a frumpy sack... so, no, not a refashion? drat ;) I'll photograph it tomorrow, despite the loss of summer ;)
    Love the 'new' painterly frock - very cute.

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  3. It's amazing what a simple shift in hemline can do for a dress! When I made the tessuti gabby I added back darts and found that combated the super sackish feeling I was getting when wearing it.

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  4. It's a fab makeover - such a great improvement! It's funny I went through about half of my wardrobe yesterday and pulled out a few items to make over too. Sometimes it's as simple as a neckline lowering or hemline rising (ha makes me sound like a tramp!). I've a very ambitous one planned.... As for the last pic- you're obviously one fit lady!

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  5. I live the new lease on life your dress has... and that you keep it real. Weather that changeable only usually happens in Melbourne! No refashioning here. I prefer to give away things that are NQR & start again.

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  6. I don't think the complexity of the refashion matters - you've brought a beautiful garment out of something you didn't love! Well done, the new dress looks really nicely proportioned, the new length looks perfect and you must be very pleased to be able to wear that glorious fabric out and about! I'm not a refashioner - I *do* put things aside to transform later, ha! , but I never get around to it.

    Love your final photo - you look wild! Glad to hear you're back on the bike!!!

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  7. Looks fantastic! totally agree with you that the length of a hem can make the difference between a dress bing worn or not. I spent more time this afternoon redoing the hem height (3 times! ) of a dress than I did making the entire dress! !!

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  8. Spot on refashion! You know I'm a big fan of cutting up perfectly good clothes ;-). I thought the first dress was sweet, but I wasn't seeing you - could have sworn I was looking at Sew Busy Lizzy! This version is you all over. Amazing colours and super cute. I wouldn't even worry about any other fit issues, just enjoy wearing it. I think the busy print hides how fitting it is. Go you, on the mountain biking! I don't envy the mud though ;-)

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  9. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com2 March 2015 at 06:59

    Great new length, much more funky. I must admit though that I rather liked the sash. Great that you'll be wearing it now.

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  10. Totally agree with you on length: can really make or break an item. This looks much more 'you' in the shorter length :-)

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  11. Much, much sassier- the removal of the extra length has given this much needed vavoom power! Kick some bike butt, lovely!

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  12. Great work! This dress would be fab in the cooler weather too with tights and a long sleeve top underneath. Good on you for persisting and getting a wearable outcome, the fabric is definitely worth it. I have a few duds in the wardrobe i really should refashion but never seem to get the motivation.

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  13. www.tresbienensemble.com3 March 2015 at 06:16

    You know, I've never been much of a refashioner, in the same way that I'm not very good about doing alterations. It's much easier for me to start from scratch than it is to pick apart or modify a garment. Refashioning is a skill I wish I had.

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  14. Yep, that last picture was mighty pretty wasn't it?? I kind of feel my wardrobe might become a little repetitive if I keep on making the same type of sack mini-dress, but I have finally figured out that a finished dress length of 35.5 inches, from shoulder to hem, is the most flattering for me. And why mess with what's working??

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  15. Totally counts as a refashion. Can't wait to see it!

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  16. I think it's super clever to be able to know what works for you personally and then add back features like darts. The Gabby is a great dress, good to know it worked for you with your changes!

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  17. I think I'm a tramp then as well! I've finally realised that only dress/skirt hemlines a few inches above the knee suit me AT ALL. I'm interested to see your ambitious refashion - way more exciting than mine :)

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  18. The weather was mental! It does change like that near me as we are relatively close to the coast. But it's the first time I've managed to find myself smack bang in the middle of it! I don't think refashioning will become my thing either to be honest, this was about my limit.

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  19. I am a bit wild from time to time, Gabrielle. You gotta be to ride aggressively :) The proportions of the "new" dress definitely work better so I'm happy!

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  20. Kim you sound just like me! I hate getting to the finish line of a make because that inevitably means hemming. I'm lucky to get it done in a few days as I just can't decide. Up, down, up, down. Crazy! But I did just figure out that all my dresses made that I love are exactly 35.5 inches from shoulder to hem. How easy would it be just to make every hemline in the future that length? Yeeha!

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  21. Yes, you don't need to post a link to a refashion, all yours are fabulous!! You are the queen of refashioning! It did take me a long time for me to find my groove. I was trying for elegant for the office, but I'm not a terribly elegant person. And the print certainly does disguise my irritations.

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  22. I liked the sash on the original length, but the proportions were all wrong on the finished length. I've kept the sash and can wear it with the dress if I can make it work, I'll have to fiddle around with it. I do prefer the "funkier" outcome :)

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  23. Thanks Teresa, I have to agree - much more me!

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  24. It really needed some vavoom didn't it? And I used to adore riding MTB in CBR. I've competed in quite a few races down there and used to happily drive 3.5 hrs each way in a day for a 2 hour recreational ride down there. I loved it that much :)

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  25. Thanks Emma! I'm glad I persisted as I really love the dress now. I have to admit though, I'm not a convert to refashioning - I won't be hurrying to do more!

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  26. Alterations! Me too! Especially now I can make stuff from scratch, why buy an ill-fitting RTW item unless it's super special?

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  27. I'm going to have to start measuring! I prefer above the knee for casual and just below for work. But sometimes there's a cross over!!! Then confusion sets in 😔

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  28. Wow, a mtber and a sewer. I was beginning to think that it was only me that loved to make a pretty frock and then go and smash it out on the trails. I noticed your comments to Amanda about your love of CBR trails. They are what has kept me in CBR for the past 10 years, after having moved here for what was supposed to be 1 year. Love your makes.

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  29. Thanks so much Stacey! Yep, I am a bit of an anomaly too. Dresses and MTB don't seem to go together but they do! I adore CBR trails. I remember (pre-child) driving 3.5 hrs to Canberra for a 2 hr ride and another 3.5 hrs home. It was worth it. Enjoy the trails and the sewing!

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