Thursday, April 4, 2013

#31: She Wore Blue Velvet

So my brain has been on overdrive trying too learn everything at my new job. Just one more day until the weekend....

In the meantime as I try to figure out what my next project will be (and when to sit down and do it), I'd like to share with you one of my favorite projects from the Summer.

Before: Blue Velvet Dress

Before: from behind

I found this blue velvet dress for a few bucks while thrifting with a friend. I almost left without it, but this was one of those pieces so outrageous that I had to have it. It was calling my name! Problem was, it was way too small for me. Making a big dress smaller is easy, but making a too-small dress larger is a challenge. Good thing I'm up for a challenge!

The first thing I did was flip this dress around so the zipper was in the front. Then I completely removed the zipper. This left the whole front open.

Goodbye zipper

Next, I cut off half of the skirt. To make the piece wider, I cut straight down the center of the new back to the built-in waist. I used a piece of the skirt I had just cut off to create a center panel and sewed it into the back, keeping the dipped waistline.

New center panel down the back

I needed to add more space around the arms, so I added a small piece of fabric at each shoulder. I also added a diamond-shaped patch at the underarm seams.

Inside diamond patch

Outside diamond patch

I also sewed away some of the excess material below the waistline on both sides so it wouldn't billow out so far, but the wavy waist hid the seams well.

Camouflaged seams

I also hemmed the bottom of the piece so it dipped widely in the back.

Dipped bottom hem

Now that I had widened the piece and given it a foundational shape, it's time to embellish with details.

I cut and hemmed a rectangular piece of the skirt I had cut off and did a straight stitch across the top of the square, pulling it taut to scrunch it.

Scrunched material

Then I hand-stitched the scrunched side upside down to the dipped waistline on the back.

Sewed to the back waistline

I flipped the section down.

Next, I used my handy trick of taking 2 large buttons and painting them gold with fingernail polish.

Gold-painted buttons

Once dried, I sewed the 2 gold buttons at the corners of the scrunched rectangular flap.

Gold buttons and flap

Almost done! I took 2 smaller buttons and painted them light blue with fingernail polish and sewed them to the front at the waistline.

Blue buttons

I sewed another thin blue strip and cut 2 slits for the buttons (this was when I had my old machine that didn't have a button-hole sewing feature).

Button hole strip

Connecter strip

This strip also helped with the width of the piece.

After the cutting, painting, and stitching, the piece was finally done!

The before dress totally had me singing "Be our guest! Be our guest!", and the after transformation had me singing it even more. Here again is the before photo:

Before: Blue Velvet Dress

And here's the after transformation:

After: Blue Velvet Jacket

After: From behind

After: From the side

It was part Beauty and the Beast, part Frankenstein's monster with all the patching and panels going on. I hadn't learned of serging or anti-fray liquid when I made this jacket, so the inside of the jacket looks kind of like a raw mess, but at least the outside looks good! I can go back and fix this later.

Tale as old as time....

When I first wore it, a woman walking down the street started singing "She wore blue velvet." I think she liked it. At least I do ;)

"She wore blue velvet"

I hope you liked it! I'm glad I was able to get creative and make it wider.

As I get more settled into my work routine, I hope to find more time to work on new projects. By the way, here's a reminder about the Pasadena Dance Festival that I'll be teaching at on April 27th. Click here for more info!

Until next time, blessings!

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