Today’s inspiration came from Stylist magazine. I’m not sure if you can read the caption on the image below but it says “Dress, £1,670, Etro”.
Needless to say, one does not have £1670 to spend on a summer dress.
To make my own version of this dress, I bought the below from Scope in Walthamstow for £6.00. The print is really pretty and it caught my eye to the point where I put it in my basket without reading the label. It’s from around 1993 (best guess) and features enormous shoulder pads and four covered buttons on the mid section. Note that the garment label says “8 PETITE”. I failed to notice this and as a result, in the picture of me below I am holding my breath whilst staying extremely still so as not to rip the seam under the bust open.
This posed a dilemma – I often chop off inches from garments making them smaller, tighter or shorter – but how to make something bigger?!
Initial ideas involved chopping off the top half completely to be left with a skirt, but this would hardly resemble the original inspiration picture. In the end I came up with a couple of tricks to try and gain back a couple of centimetres. Firstly, despite being very tight under the bust, the left and right bust was gaping open. I ripped the seam out along the top of the mid section (along the bottom of the crossed over top bits) allowing me to adjust the crossover for a better fit up top. The mid-section was cut on the bias so I stretched it as far as it would go before sewing it all back together again. I think this gained about half a centimetre.
Secondly, there is a zip all the way up centre back which had generous seam allowances on each side. I cut it out and resewed it with less seam allowance, gaining about another centimetre.
Removed the shoulder pads and the buttons from the front…
Cut a bit off the sleeves and used a Marisa-style “pinch-n-cinch” on the shoulders for a slightly more modern look…
Et voila! Perfect for my weekend sailing trip, smug in the knowledge that I have saved myself £1,664! :-)