From “just lining” to amazing A-line

Who remembers the blog post I did about this dress? Probably no one, because I didn’t do a blog post about it. I have also lost the “before” photos because they were on the phone that disappeared during my travels in Guatemala last year. Doh!! Anyway, when I bought the dress at an opshop, it was floor length, had a big collar (it was from the 70s) and the sleeves were too long so I made appropriate adjustments resulting in the collarless, calf-length dress with bracelet length sleeves that you can see in the Instagram post.

The dress also had a lining in the skirt section that added bulk and was too pretty a colour to remain hidden, so I removed it…

… and turned it into a dress!

This was a fairly easy project that didn’t involve tailoring anything from the armholes down. The lining was made from four pieces of fabric (of what appeared to be equal shape) sewn together at the sides and down the centre front and centre back.

All I did was:

  1. make openings for the armholes by unpicking and turning back the side seams
  2. cut out a rounded shape for the neckline and make a tuck on each side of the front to create a slightly gathered look around the neck as you may be able to see here:

  3. trim the shoulders so they weren’t straight across and sew the shoulder seams
  4. use bias binding to neaten the neckline
  5. sew press studs to the slight opening at the back of the neck

The hem was already done, so I lazily decided to leave it at its existing length, which turns out to be quite flattering anyway.

I don’t often wear A-line dresses but that’s simply because I didn’t have any. Well, now I do!

Although the fabric is a summer weight, I think it’s some kind of synthetic (it is from the 70s, after all) so probably isn’t ideal for a really hot day unless I make a light cotton slip to wear underneath. Usually if I wear anything synthetic I want to put some distance between it and my skin so the slip should be my next project, but as we’re heading into cooler weather I’ll likely style it with a jumper and tights underneath instead.

The bag that I’m holding in this photo was a purchase from the last time I went to an opshop which was nine days ago. In normal times, it would be unthinkable for me to go a whole nine days without setting foot in an opshop, but unfortunately it will be quite some time before I (and in fact most people in Melbourne and much of the rest of the world) go anywhere apart from somewhere that sells provisions. But my opshopping addiction means that I have plenty of fabric to sew things with and clothing that needs altering – plus I’m doing my regular job remotely and working through a steady flow of translations, so no Netflix bingeing for me during this self-isolation!

How about you, are you getting around to finishing long-lost WIPs or starting new hobbies? Let’s hope that a surge in creativity, mending and upcycling is a positive side effect of COVID-19. After hardly managing to post anything on this blog last year, I’ve done two posts in just the past fortnight, so I’ll try to continue at this pace with DIY projects that I hope will inspire you. Let me know if you try any of my ideas; I’d love to see what you make!