A fun summer makeover for you from a few years ago:
Seriously, who cares if I get freckles on my legs.
Sometimes you just need to go outside, relax and accept what the sun has to offer.
I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true. How lucky am I?
I love waking up to this each day. A small Eastern Oregon town where I’m graced with panoramic beauty, where deer hang out in my yard, and where summer has finally arrived. It usually takes me a few weeks to realize it. The first stretch of vacation is always filled with organization, cleaning, appointments, and getting caught up with life. And then it happens…..
that one extraordinary day when I wake up and realize the next twenty four hours are totally up to me. I can enjoy whatever comes my way. I can finally breathe and notice my life.
That day was today.
My eyes close, as my favorite stairwell rendition of Halleluia, by Skeye, cascades gently from my laptop. The wannabe musician inside me desperately wants to sing along. But all I can do is catch my breath, and let her beautiful voice go deep to lift me where freckles really don’t matter.
The horse slowly saunters over and stares at me. Maybe it’s Skeye’s hypnotic voice that lured him over or maybe it’s the bright colors of the adirondack chair that Penny made for me. Or maybe, like my friend Karin says, he was connecting with the joy I happen to be feeling at this moment. I look up from the computer and my heart swells yet again. I’m so fortunate to have a job that gives me time to heal in the sunshine each summer, to rejuvenate, and to take time just to notice my life.
Today, while “noticing my life”, I got inspired to make a summer dress to go with my newly acquired leg freckles. I head into my thrift stash which, thanks to my early summer bursts of energy, now sits neatly stacked and folded with a color coordinated organizational system. I stop, sigh, and gaze for awhile, just to admire the orderly beauty of it all. When I finally snap out of it, my eyes land on this pure silk Hawaiian dress that I scored last fall at the Goodwill for a whopping $2.99.
It’s made for a woman who is my complete opposite- a big busted, small hipped kind of gal. But you know, that blue and green silk was irresistible and ya gotta love those yellow parrots!
Somehow, I need to make the bottom of this dress larger and the top smaller. I’ve done this before with other dresses but this one was different. It had lining and a long zipper down the back. Hmmmm…..can’t just cut out the middle, gather the skirt and sew it back on this time. This dress presented a bit more of a challenge.
By the time it was all said and done, I actually refashioned this dress two ways.
This was the first rendition. My friend Kris said it was very Betty Draper.
I liked the first dress but when Kris said it needed to be more Joan Holloway than Betty Draper, I got right to work and this was the result.
What do you think?
If you like the Betty Draper dress, this is the tutorial for you:
I started by taking out the zipper with my seam ripper. I actually left the top of the zipper installed because you will reinstall the zipper later.
I then put it on, looked in the mirror, and using safety pins, marked where I’d like the new waistline to be. I also pulled it up and marked the new length with another pin.
Using a washable fabric marker and adding a half inch for a seam, mark the new waistline.
Using your rotary cutter, cut the new waistline.
Then cut the skirt (off the top) to desired length, leaving the hem intact.
Using the longest stitch on your machine, baste around the top of the skirt.
Right sides together match and pin the side seams and middle of the front and back. Pull gently on the basting stitches to ease in the rest of the skirt to fit the bodice. Pin and sew.
Leave the back seam open so you can reinstall the zipper.
Open up the back skirt seam to fit the zipper. Using the zipper foot, reinstall the zipper.
Now for the neckline. Cut a slit down the middle of the neckline to the depth you like. Fold over and press. Then cut on the pressed lines.
But, if you’re more of a Joan Holloway type of girl, then here’s the tutorial for you:
Do every step the same as the Betty Draper version above, but instead of basting around the top of the skirt, cut out your custom pencil skirt using your custom skirt pattern from here and attach to the bodice and reinsert the zipper. The neckline was also cut deeper so I could drop the neckline over the shoulders a bit.
Hope this will be helpful to you during your summer refashion adventures!!!
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Great result! Also, I enjoyed the staircase rendition of Hallelujah. Just have to share a link to my favorite version sung by an impromptu choir in an old warehouse led by Rufus Wainwright: https://youtu.be/AGRfJ6-qkr4
Oh Mary Ann! That version was so beautiful and moving! Thank you for sharing it.
Hello! You mentioned having to make the Bottom bigger…do you mean wider? I have a dress that is a “little skimpy” in the Skirt, and I would like to open up the seams and Possibly add some fabric to widen the skirt??? Do you have any ideas? Thanks for ANY Help!!
Hi Wendy. Yes, I would totally open it up and add a little extra fabric. Here’s a link to a tutorial I did awhile ago on just that. https://therenegadeseamstress.com/2015/03/14/get-more-life-out-of-a-too-small-dress/
For $2.99, how could you lose? That fabric is GORGEOUS and it’s silk no less. I really like your version 2 better. If it were me, I’d have left the skirt as you had it in version 1 ’cause I can’t wear pencil skirts (too hippy) but added the extra detail to the top.
Girl, you are amazing, What you did is simply beautiful!!!!
Thank you Suzanne! You are so kind. 🙂 There is so much gorgeous fabric hanging in the thrift stores just waiting for someone to fix them up and wear them.
You live in eastern WA? So do I. Clarkston.I met someone at an event recently who knows you and said wonderful things about you. My Sis & I create wildly wearable clothing at Where Sisters Create. We vend & are growing our fledgling business. This weekend is White Fish MT & then to Cracked Pots in Troutdale OR.Would love to meet you one day…Kindly,Danette Flores
Hi Danette, I actually live in Eastern Oregon. So very nice to meet you. I think we might be soul sisters. Were you at the Lavender Festival? Did you meet my friend Linda, her sister Susan and friend Joyce? Susan had stained glass and Linda had denim jackets.
I love the neckline and off the shoulder look of the second version. Wowza! You are amazing!
Awwwwwwww, thank you for your kind encouraging words. 🙂 You really brightened my morning. 🙂
U did a fantastic job
Thank you Patsy!