Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Sew-Day: Black & White, Part I

Hi, my name is Laika! I came to live with Carissa this week. I'm a 7-week-old American Pit Bull Terrier. I'm super cute, extra cuddly, have my own theme song, and like to monopolize all of Carissa's time. Luckily, she was able to squeeze in a little sewing before my arrival.

Laika

Okay, enough of the adorable excuses for my lack of posting this week. I've been thinking a lot recently about how much I enjoyed the Refashion Runway competition and how sad I am that it's over. I know, I know, broken record, but I mean it. Having a weekly goal and a specific theme was really good for me. I want to keep doing that. So without further adieu, I bring you the very first installment of Sunday Sew-Day:

1. For a few weeks at a time, I will post (at least) weekly refashions, focusing on a given theme - some trend I've seen on runways or in magazines, a color or pattern I'm particularly found of, a technique I've been wanting to experiment with, whatever!
2. If you have an idea for a theme, shout it out! I'd love to hear what sorts of things you'd like to see done, and I'll give it a shot!
3. If you'd like to play along, I'd be happy to feature one of your projects that fits the theme. Just send an email to CarissaKnits at gmail dot com (or click the little email icon at the top left of this page). Include a few before and after pics, some details of how you refashioned your piece, and a link to your blog post about it, if you like.
4. This is my blog. I make the rules. I can break the rules. I'll certainly try to stick to the plan, but I may have to make exceptions for holidays and such as that. Please understand I do, on occasion, have a life.

The first theme I'd like to tackle is something I've seen a lot on the runways recently, but is classic enough to always be in style, in my opinion. I'm talking about the simple color combo of black and white. Black and white patterned fabrics are easy to find at thrift shops everywhere. And you don't have to worry about whether you're a "spring" or an "autumn" or what have you - anybody call pull this off! And if you're feeling a little too plain, you can snazz it up with a brightly-colored cardigan, hot heels, or a cute clutch!

I began with this lovely polyester church-lady number in a black and white floral print on a houndstooth background. The pleated skirt was what drew my attention initially, looking past the drop waist and shoulder pads that don't quit.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - BeforePleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - Before

Step one was to nix those shoulder pads.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

Then I removed the sleeves, cutting along the pseudo-raglan seam.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

Once those were out of the way, I could focus on what kind of top I wanted for my new dress.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I wanted to hike it up to keep the skirt as is, but at the empire waist level. So I folded it in half and cut a new silhouette for the back, a good 6-8 inches below the existing shoulder edge.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

Then I cut straight across for a sort of bandeau style front.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I hemmed the top of the new front.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

Then I grabbed my sleeves and trimmed off the shoulders in a straight line. These are going to be front panels that go over the bandeau part.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I set those aside for a moment, and turned back to the waistline. It had this weird flappy thing that was about four inches wide all the way around.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I cut off about two-thirds of that band.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

And I folded the remainder upward and pinned it to my bodice. This will create a little pocket for some elastic later to pinch in the waist.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

But before I sewed that down, I inserted the wide end of each sleeve under that flap on either side of the front, overlapping slightly in the center.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I sewed my waistband, leaving a small opening on one side to insert my elastic. Once it was fed through, I joined the ends and closed up the opening.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

The flat ex-sleeves required some darts in order to contour to the shape of my chest. One long vertical dart each.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

And then a small horizontal dart coming inward from each armhole.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I also added a couple little tacks to keep the front pieces in place on top of the bandeau.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

From the scraps, I cut some strips to use as a binding on the edges of my back piece.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I pinned and sewed them to the armhole and collar edges with right sides facing.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

Then I pressed them outward.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

I folded them over again and pinned them to the inside.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

A quick top-stitching finished them off.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

Finally, it was time to join my shoulder seams. I trimmed off the excess fabric, leaving the front a little longer than the back.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

In order to encase the raw (and easily frayed) edges, I folded the longer edge over the shorter edge, then folded it down again and gave it a sew.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - In Progress

And behold! Church lady no more!

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - AfterPleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - AfterPleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - After

For the ultimate accessory to pair with your black and white ensemble, choose your favorite ebony pooch to tote around town.

Pleated Babydoll Dress Refashion - After



Pleated Babydoll Dress - Before & After

20 comments:

  1. Great job, Carissa...this turned out so cute! And, what a transformation! Black and white is one of my favorites. I look forward to seeing more of your themes!

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    1. Thanks, Susan! I'll have more black and white makeovers coming up soon. And then? Who knows!

      Well, I do, but I'm not sayin'.

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  2. Hi Carissa! UAU! Great refashion!!! Love the AFTER!!! <3
    Black & White is always fashionable!
    Kisses from Portugal!

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  3. OMG - would never have guessed this darling "mod" dress was hiding in all of that busy fabric. Your sense of vision is really growing with each piece that you tackle. I also am excited to see the direction that you will take in your fashion blog! Your new pup is really a sweet one!!

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  4. Thank you, Linda! I'm excited too!

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  5. I was so dubious of putting the pleats at empire waist level, but it totally worked! What a cute dress.

    I have a selfish suggestion: do a refashion of a frumpy suit jacket, maybe into a not-frumpy suit jacket, vest, or skirt. I picked up a frumpy, ill-fitting suit jacket made from a beautiful cream and green silk fabric, and I'm not quite sure how to refashion it. Seeing what you do would help give me inspiration.

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    Replies
    1. Frumpy suit jacket, eh? Consider it done! Do you have a before pic so I can see about finding something in a similar style/construction?

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    2. I'll see what I can do.

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  6. oh my gosh, the transformation is amazing! you did a fantastic job :)

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  7. That is amazing! Such a cute dress! I like the re-use of the sleeves for the bodice.

    I'm so happy to hear about your upcoming blog plans. I find refashioning a fascinating process, and I think I am slowly learning how to think outside the box. I'm not a natural at this (unlike others, like yourself), so the more help the better :)

    Your puppy is so sweet. You will be a little busier these days, eh? I read about the original Laika - it's a very sad story which I wasn't aware of before. Your Laika will have a much different and happier life. Happy puppy rearing!

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    Replies
    1. I've definitely had to learn to think outside the box as well. Sometimes, when I look at an ugly dress, I still only see an ugly dress at first. And quite frequently I have to change direction mid-stride when my first idea isn't working out quite right.

      Yes, I've definitely been busier this past week with the puppy. Haven't sewn a stitch! I wonder how she'll react to the sound of the sewing machine.

      The original Laika met a sad end, it's true, which is why I prefer to think of her as Jonathan Coulton's song depicts her - as a defiant space explorer, escaping the confines of her rocket, giving the Soviets the finger, and "holding [her] own leash". Makes for a much better story.

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  8. Your puppy is so cute!
    And I love your refashion! I never would have thought to keep the pleats in the skirt!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Heather! The pleats were the thing I loved most about this dress. I just had to keep them!

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  9. Wow! This is a great refashion. I love your idea of Sunday Sew Day.

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  10. So.much.better! Loved it, and yes, I might sew along your themes every now and then. I just can't right now, I've had a huge order and am trying to focus on that!

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    Replies
    1. I'd love to feature you, when you have time! Congrats on the big order!

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    ReplyDelete