Group 12

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Before & After: DIY Printed Mini Dress

DIY Style Dec 14, 2011

Ok so I have to admit to being completely and utterly addicted to before and after projects. Any sort of ‘before = rubbish, after = rad’ gets me.  Embarrassingly I sometimes find I’m unable to tear myself away from dodgy home reno shows, or worse, extreme makeover. For some reason I have a weird fascination with the cinderella-like transformations that are inherent in these projects, and I guess that’s part of my love for majorly overhauling thrifted clothes.
I was recently rummaging through my local thrift shop and spied a hypnotizing printed fabric (fyi – I like to keep on alert for fabrics when sorting through mounds of secondhand clothes) but when I pulled it out it came in the form of a not so sexy collared dress. Not totally unwearable but not something that was ever going to be at the top of my Saturday night party dress list. The fabric was so amazing and Mara Hoffman-like that I knew it was to be the subject of my next before&after project.
See, I told you the fabric was drool worthy didn’t I? My bf tells me he thinks he had a bedsheet set in the same print when he was 6 but that’s neither here nor there. When he said that I couldn’t help but dream about the amazing cape I would make if I ever stumbled upon those bed sheets…
These were the particular Mara Hoffman s/s 2012 fabrics that inspired me. Umm same same, but different right?

To do this project I got a little tricky with a pair of scissors and my sewing machine.

How I did it:
1. First I cut off the collar (seen in this project) and turned the dress around so that the back was at the front. This gave me a completely different high necked look.
2. Then I took the dress in at the back of the waist by around 3 inches by sewing two new darts – it was key that the waist on this dress fitted snugly.
3. I measured and then cut about 15cm off the bottom of the skirt (I always go shorter when in doubt about a thrifted dress, it’s an instant update!).
4. I cut about 6cm off the sleeves and rehemmed.
5. I folded the nape of the back of the dress into a V and sewed down.
6. Finally I swapped the mismatching white buttons for light pink ones that were more understated.

And there you have it. I also popped over to a friend’s studio yesterday and used her overlocker to finish the hem properly.

I like to think that with a little love this dress emerged from its chrysalis into the butterfly that by rights this fabric deserves to be. I’ve been enjoying imagining all the places and outfits in which this dress will play a part in the future – perhaps I should warn all my friends back home that I may not be able to take it off at all while I am back for christmas!

Wearing: DIY dress, Zara suede boots.
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Tags Before and after DIY dress Dresses Instructionals sewing Tribal Tutorials

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