March 20, 2009

Challenge is the word!

When I decided to commit to the wardrobe refashion challenge, I had a few question marks but decided that I could manage.  I forgot one important factor - the black tie gala at the Met that was right around the corner...  I didn't buy a dress in advance, the re-fashion challenge began, and I was without a plan.

I had lots of ideas floating around, but as of the day before the event I still hadn't done any actual work (or even any actual prep!)  In a moment of desperation I ran to the storage unit where I keep all my vintage goodies to find a back up dress, but alas I had lost my key so I couldn't get in ~ Serious.  

By the time I got home from the storage unit I was 26 hours away from the event and had to get to work!

Since I had neglected to give this any forethought, and since fabric and notion stores were closed for the evening, I had to make something with whatever fabric I had on hand.  I also realized about this time that I didn't have any zippers, snaps, or closures of any kind.  Thing
s were getting interesting...  

Luckily I found one length of olive green lace with a nice weight to it, so I decided to cut a circle skirt based on a pattern that I made up a few years ago.  It is basically like an elongated version of the skirts that ballerinas often wear during class or rehearsals, and it wraps so I wouldn't have to worry about a zipper! 

The lace wasn't wide enough to make a full length skirt, so I found a rich fuchsia china silk to use for a lining and additional length.  

The skirt was the easy part!

Having used up all of the lace and fuchsia silk on the skirt, I found a complimentary teal china silk that I draped and gathered to create an off the shoulder top with some gathers at one side.  This was the most difficult part - I would put it on and try to pin the fabric into place as I was wearing it, then take it off and sew it together.  It would have been a really good time to own a dress form...

After a looooong trial and error process I managed to pull together a pretty decent shape for the top.  At this point the side seams were still just based together, so I decided it was time to break out the sewing machine ~ this was the first time I used it.

What I had at this point were two pieces that looked pretty nice on their own, but didn't really go together in any way.  I found some really pretty fuchsia vintage beads and stitched them into the gathers of the top along with some vintage crystals.  

Then I added a lace wrap to the off the shoulder bit and a scrap of fuchsia silk to the gathers as well.

Since I was still closing the skirt with a safety pin when I showed my boy the progress, he suggested making something that would tie the teal of the top into the skirt, so I made a brooch out of the few remaining scraps of silk and vintage beads.  It did the job perfectly!

The Gala came and went, and the dress was a big success!  Although the process was a bit stressful, in retrospect I am really glad that I stepped up to the challenge and made it myself.  I can't wait for another opportunity to wear it out!


cakehouse said...

gorgeous! i'm thoroughly impressed, especially since it was done under pressure.

Karina said...

This is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

Coqui Ainjelfire said...

It came out wonderfully! I can't believe you made that in under 26 hours!

Luck(x8) said...

This is beautiful!

Chelsea said...

I bow before you! Beautiful.

Karen's Monsters said...

What a beautiful dress!