Friday, July 6, 2012

A Question of personal Style and Taste...

Give Danielle another chance!

After the refashioning
It was a first for me: Refashioning a dress I had made myself...This was what I called "my new love Danielle" in my BurdaStyle studio a good two years ago and it used to look like this:

Before the refashioning

It's a free pattern, so go grab it if you like! As you can tell from my project name, I really DID like it a lot, and I got nice comments and compliments for it.

And then..... I never wore it. Ok, once. I wore it to the theater and didn't feel right in it. Didn't feel "me" in it. I am not saying that I dislike the dress, I disliked it on myself. I felt that it was too girly. I am not a girly girl and I don't wear dresses a lot as is... But I keep wanting to change that. So I decided to give Danielle another chance.

The first thing that had to go was the empire waist and the fabric I had chosen for it. So I took some black jersey and made a much wider, waistband-type midsection:

I sewed the pleats together lower (where the pins are in the above picture) and added the jersey over the original band, pleating it along the zipper like so:

Then the puffed sleeves really needed to go, too:

I bound the arm holes with bias-tape, since I had actually lined the whole dress with black silk - a delicious feeling! - and needed to somehow finish the two layers together nicely:

I made a pattern for black chiffon sleeves, sewn down the center-ish line on the pattern below and then let the smaller part fall over the wider part:

At this point I basically thought I was done. So I put it on, liked what I saw, yet noticing how amazingly complicated it is to zip up such a long zipper in the back. Even though I do yoga and can easily touch my hands behind my back! So struggle and wiggle I did, and sure enough, *****the zipper breaks!***** 
Aaaaargh. It was one of those invisible ones, too...

But since I was already in that yoga-state-of-mind, I just let a bad thing turn into a great chance....

So I looked what kinds of zippers I had at hand but of course I didn't find one first. Just a shorter, really bold one. Aha! A short bold one! Had I gone out to buy one, I would never have chosen this one, but it is really great!

I decided to lower the back neck - which makes the closing of the zipper by yourself much easier, too - and apply this big old visible zipper to the outside, also covering up the newly sewn-on jersey, which didn't look so hot in the back anyway... I'd say that accident solved a bunch of problems! It is actually quite similar to my other recent "broken zipper solution".

I marked the height where the bra-strap is in the back, to be sure that is covered up, then cut away the triangles and simply sewed the zipper over everything (I had cut off the old zipper, just the "teeth"-part, as closely as possible):

I actually hand-sewed the new neckline above the zipper, to make it look nice and smooth, and then I added a hook and eye, too, so the zipper doesn't open up all by itself. And what do you say - isn't that a much more interesting back than it used to be?

I'd love to know if you agree or disagree. I think it is a question of personal style and taste and I have yet to find out whether or not I will finally end up wearing this dress... After all, it's still girly, but I find it more elegant and adult in a way...

The back before
The back after...

...and after...

Last but not at all Least:

Did you see the bandage around my finger? I will absolutely NOT get into details, but please listen carefully when I tell you that a sewing machine IS after all a machine, and you want to be VERY careful where you put your fingers while your foot is on the pedal. Ok? Learn from my mistake! Make this one of the mistakes you don't have to make yourself in order to learn from it.
* Mark * my * words * and save yourself a trip to the emergency room. :-)

I'll be back with a bunch of t-shirt refashionings and the vintage dress with tutorials!
Take care and try to stay cool!


  1. Ouch!!! Beautiful refashion, though. I like Version 2 much better than Version 1.

  2. CharlottepowellbrooksJuly 6, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    you have gone to Jane Austen To Marilyne Monroe! Both lovely but I love the edge to it. x x

  3. oh ich fand es eigentlich auch vorher sehr hübsch das kleid, aber wie du schon gesagt hast jetzt sieht es erwachsener und auch mehr sexy aus! mir gefällt vor allem der zipp am rücken und diese ärmel!
    love and kiss,mary

  4. I love the idea of refashioning dresses and things you've made before. Great zip detailing and cute sleeves. I definitely like the changes you made. Hope your finger heals OK :-) 

  5. I like your old dress as well, but the the new version is wonderful. I like the exposed zipper and sleeves. The wider middle section makes your waist look even slimmer. 10 out of 10 from me.  

  6. Oh, wow - bummer about sewing over your finger!  I know that hurts a whole lot!  I love both versions of your dress, but I am TOTALLY stealing your jersey-in-the-middle remake for a blouse that has just been sitting here begging me to do something interesting with it - this is a perfect solution and I just happen to have the perfect jersey print (with black flocking) that will go with it!!!!  If I have enough jersey, I might refashion the sleeves to go along with the new waistband.  I love your work!

  7. Love what you do.  Although...being an old broad of 50; I'm not such a fan of the over-edgy zip. I think your ability to mix and match the styles, textures is a real talent. Very classy.  Funny... I had to hollar for my 24yr old to grab the  bandages as I had sewn my left index through to the bed-runner I was working on Tuesday evening.  So glad it was a new needle in the machine...hurts less; till it comes out!  Whaa. :(

  8. Agy of Green IssuesJuly 9, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    This is a beautiful refashion. I love what you have done with the back (zipper detail) and the sleeves - wow, wow, wow!

  9. Thank you for the great compliment! You know, I have heard about very many similar accidents from other seamstressesnow, which helps me feel a little less dumb about it... :-) Unfortunately, my needle had to be taken out by a doctor, but the good thing about that is that he used an anesthetic... Let's not ever repeat that, ok? Best- Katja

  10. Oh that is very cool - hope it turns out well and I hope to see it online! Just be careful where you put your fingers when you sew :-) And thanks a lot for the compliment!

  11. mi piace, hai fatto dei bei lavori con poca spesa

  12. I too liked the dress before - but the re-make is definitely more punchy - I would probably never wear it - but it looks great on you and you should absolutely wear it out!  But - no one but your sewing pals will want to hear the journey to here.  Your sewing pals on the other hand will be impressed!  Enjoy !

  13. I' m over age 65, and think your zipper is fabulous (as well as the entire refashion). Sorry so late!
    (Will reveal my age but not my name to go with it, lol!)