Monday, May 6, 2013

#34: Hospital Chic

I've been at my new job for a month and a half now, and I'm realizing more and more how important it is to take good care of myself. I never realized how much I value time at home doing absolutely nothing productive! Sewing is part of my self-care, and obviously I haven't made a new project in a while, so I was glad to finally have time at home this weekend to work on a new project.

So my husband and I have an agreement that I will not buy any new thrift store projects until I've finished everything I've already got in my big bag of transformations, which means I haven't gone thrifting in a few months (yeah, I've got a lot of projects in that bag!). But while I was looking for a non-project item at a thrift store, I found and fell in love with this project dress, and my husband made an exception as long as I got rid of something else in my closet : )

Before: Asymetrical Lined Dress

Before: From Behind

The asymmetrically-lined outside looked pretty bland, but I was really digging the light blue polka-dotted 2nd layer of the dress. Once I got it home and tried it on, I realized that it kind of looked like a hospital gown.

Blue Polka Dot Under layer

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this dress that would hopefully make it less hospital-chic ;) Let's see what I did!

The shoulder straps had been shortened by folding and sewing some big buttons on them. So I first removed the shoulder buttons.

Folded Shoulder Buttons

Removing the shoulder buttons

Next, I removed the straps at the sides of the waist.

Say goodbye side straps

The dress had 3 layers: one asymetrically-lined sheer white outer layer, the pretty blue and polka dot middle layer, and a shorter sheer slip underneath. I carefully removed the under layer slip.

Separated under slip

Then I laid them on top of each other and cut off the original straps.

Cut off the top

I flipped the under slip layer inside out and laid it on the outside of the other 2 layers, sewing together all 3 layers at the cut edges.

Re-arranging the layers

Sewing along the cut edges

With the original under layer re-attached on top, I flipped it up, and cut along the lined seam down the center. Then I folded over and sewed a short hem on both sides of the seam I had just cut.

Preparing for buttons

On one side I sewed on buttons I picked up at JoAnn's, and on the other side I sewed in button holes (which were a pain in the neck!). The fabric was so delicate that it kept getting caught in my machine. So I cut open one of the side straps I had removed and laid it under where I sewed the button hole just to make it more sturdy. I cut off the excess after sewing the button holes.


Sewing on buttons

Button-holing (with extra material)


Next I removed the side seams to make some arm holes. and re-sewed the sides up to a point which would make the sleeves loose and airy.

Make space for the arms!

I sewed together the seams at the shoulders, and shaped the neckline by cutting, folding, and sewing the front and back of the neck, cutting off the excess material.

Folding, shaping, sewing!

Finally, I folded and sewed a small open hem at the waistline. I took some thin elastic, attached one end with a safety pin and the other end with a bobby pin, and pushed the elastic all the way around the waistline opening, sewing the ends closed.

Elastic in the waist

Once I was done, I threw a light slip underneath and had a brand new dress!

Here again is the hospital-chic look from before:

Before: In need of some resuscitation

And here is the new, fresh, light dress transformation:

After: Boho-chic!

After: from behind

It turned out just how I wanted it to! From hospital-chic to kind of boho-chic. And given that the weather reached nearly 100 degrees in SoCal last week, I'd imagine that a light, airy maxi-dress might be a welcome relief for the upcoming Summer heat (thought it's pouring rain today)!

I hope you liked my newest transformation! And thanks for being so patient for it. I haven't quite figured out yet how to regularly schedule in time to sew, but I hope sewing will become a regular part of my weekly routine soon. We'll see what treasures I find next!

Until next time, blessings.