my mother was visiting recently and we stopped in at my favorite consignment store in Princeton. my mom is a serious bargain shopper and a fun person to shop with so we scoured the place and came upon a totally crazy dress in a much-neglected back corner. thing is the totally crazy dress was in a great fabric and that is how ‘mission consignment crazy’ was born, because of course I bought it. it was $5…and I was determined to turn it into a top and skirt. not to be worn together ever again in their long clothing life.
this is the dress itself. I know. wow! that is something. that much fabric and so much pattern. pattern all the way down to the floor. the dress still had a tag on it, it was brand new. my mom and I speculated for a while about what in the world it was originally designed for…pajamas maybe? on the deck of a lounging cruise? we will never know.
I started by cutting off the shirt portion. I cut it a little shorter than I had intended so I had to add a fabric band to the bottom. there was a tiny bit of tricky sewing near the hip to secure what had been a wrap-around effect to the side of the top. but, tacking that down and adding the band at the bottom was all I did and *bam* I had a kimono style top.
to make the skirt I used the fold over skirt pattern that comes with Meg McElwee’s Craftsy class sewing with knits. for a long time I have wanted to gain some competency with knit fabrics and I am so happy I am taking Meg’s class. she is an excellent instructor and while I still have more to learn I am feeling so much more comfortable sewing with knits. once it is done properly and with all the right tools on hand, it is so much more forgiving than regular woven fabric. and, let’s face it, I live in t-shirts and hoodies, so it opens up the ability to really make wearable clothes that fit!
making the skirt was made much easier because I was able to line the pattern up such that I could use the already sewn hem. then, stitch up the side seams and create the fold over at the top…skirt complete!
now, I generally resist saying I ‘whipped’ something up because when other people say that I always imagine some really happy lady barely sitting at a sewing machine and then ‘whipping’ something perfect off the machine with a big high-energy smile on her face. I never feel like that lady. I always feel the fussy, putz-y, details that slow me down. that lady makes me imagine I must be a really slow sewist because nothing feels ‘whipped’ up…it took work! but this skirt/top combo…well, it actually kind of felt whipped up! there were some fussy bits but many fewer than normal.
of course there are some details: the skirt actually is a little bit tight and not as flouncy as I would like it to be. I’ve already altered the pattern a little…adding in a bit of size and just a touch of flounce. I might just be living in skirts like this all summer long.
Barbara Johnson says
Very cute! You’re right about not wearing them together – ever 🙂
Thrift shops are great for scoring nice knits for upcycling. I always go through the racks of large sizes looking for those maxi dresses. Having the hem already finished for my new garment is wonderful. It assures that all my sewing work constructing the garment won’t be negated by some wonky, ripply hem.
Thanks Barbara! I feel validated. I am going to have to hunt the thrift shops more often I’d say.
Great upcycle! I agree the fabric looks great on a separate top or skirt – but the dress was a bit too much!
Thanks Jill! Yes, too much…definitely.
You’ve made such a lovely pair of items with this. SO MUCH BETTER! I especially love the top, it fits you perfectly. Beautiful, Melissa!
Thanks Michele. That means so much coming from you, your projects always blow me away. Summertime sewing is so much easier!
Hooray for follow-through! I have a box of things that I thought I’d transform and it’s never really happened.
Thanks! I’m working on follow-through this year, especially when it comes to clothing. So many things sit lonely because of mild imperfections! Time to bring them into the light!