Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dress Rescue 1: Brown Renaissance Dress

I am a complete sucker for things that need to be rescued. Be it a scruffy kitten, a beat-up or broken doll, or a careworn tea towl, there is little I love better than finding something that needs a little TLC, cleaning it up and making it better. Such creatures are three of the dresses I bought in Fort Collins on my recent trip to visit my cousins. (Hi, Shannon and Tasha!) All of them are decent at heart, but need a little work to become the fabulous dresses I know they can be. I believe in their potential! C'mon, dresses, reach for the stars, achieve your dreams, [insert more inspirational twaddle here]! This is the first one, and the one that I think will be the most challenging. I picked this dress up at Repeat Boutique for $5:

Isn't it pretty? It's about six sizes too big for me, (I think I could put another person in there with me, as a matter of fact. A skinny person, granted, but still another person), but it's chocolate brown, brocade-and-velvet, and covered in lovely, lovely embroidery of the kind for which I am a major sucker. And did I mention it was only $5? (I'm also a sucker for a bargain.)

The catch? Well, there are a couple:
First, it has these weird, cuff-button balloon-y sleeves. I'm not much in favor of cuffs, and I'm definitely not in favor of them on otherwise huge, billowy sleeves. It makes them look like they're eating your arms or something. I like loose sleeves, so to me the idea of sticking a tight, itchy cuff on the bottom of 'em seems highly nonsensical.

Second, it buttons down the front. I don't like this at all, to be honest. To me, flowy renaissance-gypsy-boho-whatever and buttons just do not mix. Button-down brings to mind first professional, then Western-wear aesthetics that really don't fit with the rest of this dress at all. It's rather jarring, and more than pointless for a really billowy pullover garment. (It has a sizing tie in the back, for heaven's sake! Why do you need buttons?) And the buttons are kind of ugly.

So, how am I going to rescue this dress? First, I'm going to recut it so it fits in the top and flows down to a looser skirt. I'm going to do a little tailoring underneath the arms so that it actually fits there and doesn't have thirteen yards of extra fabric flapping around like wings. Then I am going to take off the buttons and seam it down the front, eliminating the buttons and buttonholes altogether. Finally, I'm going to cut the sleeves on an angle so they have a sort of pixie-hem look to them. I hope to have pictures of the successful reconstruction soon! Tune in tomorrow for part deux of Dress Rescue for the dresses I bought in Fort Collins.

1 comment:

  1. I'm wanting to see the remakes. I like to upcycle clothes too!