Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tribal to the Max[i]

You didn't think I was just going to use the back panel of that tribal dress and toss the rest, did you? Oh no, folks, that's just not how I roll.

Black Pencil Skirt - Before

While perusing Pinterest for ideas on how to use this fabric, two potential projects kept popping up. One was a print-back-solid-front tank, like the one I showed you on Sunday. The other was a cascading chiffon maxi dress topped with a funky tribal print. I didn't have any chiffon, but I did have this too-large jersey maxi dress.

Tribal Maxi Dress - Before

Looks like it fits okay, right? Trust me...

Tribal Maxi Dress - Before

...it doesn't. The last time I wore it, I spent the whole day tugging it upward to maintain decency. Not good. So it went in the refashion pile, and now it's time for an upgrade!

I began with the tribal print front panel. I picked out the hem surrounding the slit, and peeled back the facings that were stuck down with interfacing.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Then I sewed the slit closed.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

And when I pressed the facings back down, the interfacing re-fused! Hooray!

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

With the slit now closed, I folded the bottom of the fabric upward until the bottom hem just met the underarm edges.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I pinned and stitched the side seams together.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Then I cut open the folded bottom.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I folded over the side seams to create a welted seam, hiding the raw edges inside.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Next, I chopped off the yoke, straight across.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

The existing bust darts were taken in for a better fit.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

And I hemmed the top edge.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

From the sleeves of the old dress, I cut four 14-inch strips about 2 inches wide.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I joined them end-to-end in pairs to create two long strips. The edges were folded into the center and pressed, and then the whole thing was pressed into half length-wise.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Beginning at the underarm edge, I used these strips as a binding on the raw edge, then continued sewing the length of the strip, creating long, skinny straps for my new dress.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Then it was time to do something about the extra girth. I didn't have a matching zipper in my notions box, so I needed the bodice to be big enough to slip on over my head, but I didn't fancy a potato sack dress. A common element of sundresses is a ruched back panel, but I didn't have any elastic thread either. I did, however, have some elastic! First, I would need another seam, symmetric to the old slit, to give me a nice solid anchor to attach the elastic. I picked out the top hem (originally the bottom hem of the dress), and added another small seam/dart thing.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I grabbed some elastic from my notions box. This was salvaged from another refashion many moons ago. I snipped off seven 6-inch pieces.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I pinned the ends of my elastic, evenly spaced, along the old slit seam.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Then I pinned the opposite ends of the elastic to my new symmetric seam.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I gently stretched each strip of elastic and sewed them down with a zig-zag stitch. This was a bit tricky, but I was starting to get the hang of it by the seventh strip.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Here's how it looks from the outside of the bodice.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

With my top now fitting correctly, I was able to try it on and measure how long my straps should be. I criss-crossed them and stitched them to the back panel at the appropriate length.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I amputated the black jersey skirt from its stretchy top (hello, sexy tube top! ... kidding).

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I stuck the right-side-out bodice into the inside-out skirt and pinned them together. I tried to disperse the extra jersey fabric around the circumference, and I stretched the back panel as I pinned that portion.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Once that was sewn together, I folded the seam allowances upward on the inside of the dress, and top-stitched around the outside.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

For the final detail, I snipped off a little rectangle from my scraps, about 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I folded it lengthwise and stitched it into a tube.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

The seam was pressed outward.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

Flipping the tube right-side-out, I tucked in the ends about 1/4 inch and pressed it all flat.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

I gathered the front of the bodice using this little strip and sewed it down.

Tribal Maxi Dress - In Progress

The final product is super cute and comfy, and buckets better than it started out.

Tribal Maxi Dress - AfterTribal Maxi Dress - After

The skirt is just the right length to brush the ground when worn with flats and not too short to go with heels (my favorite new bronze strappy wedges).

Tribal Maxi Dress - AfterTribal Maxi Dress - After

And I just love how the criss-cross straps sort of frame my tattoos.

Tribal Maxi Dress - After



Tribal Maxi Dress - Before & After

8 comments:

  1. Waaaw, I love this!! This is an awesome new dress!!

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  2. O My Gosh, Carissa!! The criss-crossed straps, stretchy back and front tab really define this dress. The elastic strips is a ages old way to make waists fit better and so the method is still of great use. This dress fits in the Favorites category. You have made a Superb creation!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Linda! I feel like it's the little details that take something from home-made to hand-made.

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  3. Oh, this is more than buckets better than the original pieces, it is SWIMMING POOLS BETTER! ... I just love it. And you're getting really good with the mind-reading thing. I am about to alter the neck of a baggy rayon dress and was thinking of using a tab to gather it into a V-neck. Thank you for showing exactly how to do that :) Seriously, I think this may be my favourite of your refashions so far.

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    Replies
    1. I did a lot of pinching, pulling, and pinning in front of the mirror before I figured out what I wanted to do with the neckline. Glad I could help you out again!

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  4. love this, again a wonderful refashion Carissa.

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