If you don’t like it then you shoulda put a ruffle on it #2*
Nearly three years ago, I promised I’d show you a dress I bought at an opshop. In yet another case of “better late than never”, here it is.
It didn’t start life looking quite like this. Here’s the “before”shots from when I bought it (or more accurately, when I actually got around to getting photographs of it, which was last year when BusiChic took these shots for me on the same day as taking these photos of another outfit.)
As you can see, it’s just a long sheer sleeveless dress with a sequin motif. I am guessing it’s from the ’90s (the shape! the sequins!) and is a homemade job as there is no label on it. I didn’t really do much except for adding darts at the back and taking it in a little at the sides last year (which is when I started altering it), carefully working around the beads and sequins (although I did see an episode of This Old Thing lately which showed how you can carefully smash glass beads when you need to sew over a beaded motif). When I realised I needed to wear knee-covering garments for fashion week this year I dug this half-finished makeover out of storage, added a big ruffle made from some opshopped black chiffon to cover the area from the knees down and rushed off to VAMFF (where Kayla Piccolo was roped in to take the following photos for me after doing such a good job earlier!).
Simply adding a ruffle completely changes the silhouette of the dress to make it more contemporary, but I didn’t initially think of doing this. It took the pressure of needing a dress at the last minute to put that idea into my head! Originally I’d toyed with adding ruffles down each side instead, which would have resulted in a totally different shape.
This deep ruffle is a lot more flattering than the original hem as it adds movement when I’m walking but also looks elegant when not in motion. I used some left over chiffon to tie as a belt around the waist, which of course also makes a big difference to the overall silhouette.
This wouldn’t be difficult to do if you had a long dress, or even a knee-length one that you wanted to upgrade, although admittedly this job was easy for me because I had some black chiffon material that matched perfectly with the dress itself. Depending on the dress, the ruffle would look great in a contrasting colour and texture too. This might give you some ideas (FYI I didn’t gather the fabric for the ruffle, I made big pleats instead because I was in a hurry) – let me know how you go!
It fairly much goes without saying that I either opshopped or made everything in this outfit – the beaded clutch was from a fleamarket in Tokyo, heels from Vinnies, and I put the blue tassels on some clip-on earrings that a friend gave me.
*Part 1 of “Put a ruffle on it” is here.