Eastern Influence

Today’s project came from Oxfam in Whitby – this cost £3.99, which if you ask me, is a total bargain as there’s a very large amount of material. I was instantly attracted to the Japanese-inspired print and colours. It’s 100% viscose, quite heavy and drapes nicely.

At UK size 30 this is quite possibly the biggest garment I have ever worked with!

It’s a basic rectangular tube of material with a thin waistband, gathered onto elastic in the waistband at the back.

The waistband was looking very tired, so that was the first thing to go. After a decent ironing it was looking much more promising.

The idea was to make a basic “sack” dress leaving the print intact and taking advantage of the nice drape to make a dress that will be great for autumn. It will be perfect with black tights in the winter and with a black jacket could even be work-suitable.

My plan was to simply stitch the shoulder seams closed at the former waist of the skirt and cut some arm holes, leaving the skirt hem intact as the new dress hem (see diagram below). In fact, the original garment was SO HUGE that I had to cut a bit off each side and make new side seams. The original width was about 90cm (ie the hem circumference was about 180cm) and I trimmed it off to about 75cm. This also helped tidy it up a bit – the original side seams were not 100% symmetrical and the back was actually wider than the front. The dress length was determined solely by the original skirt length.

I whipped this up really quickly on the overlocker. I overlocked the shoulder and side seams securely. I also used it to finish the arm and neck holes, then folded over once and topstitched with a straight stitch for neatness.

Here’s a quick snap of the finished dress… it really does look like a sack here! Don’t worry though, it’ll look better with a belt.

I styled this with all black accessories, including a black belt, black tights, black shoes, black hair flower and black jacket.

The perfect outfit for eating sushi at one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in London, Sushi Hiroba. Kampai!



  1. Hannah

    love it!!! I recently made a shirt with that type of style…. i love it!!! Looks great!!! Can I borrow it sometime??? hahahaha

  2. colette

    Just been at whitby last week, found the most wonderful fabric and bits shop there dont know what its called but opposite a just Ginger gift shop- near the charity shops! love your dress, wish it would look that good on me!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi, I think you probably mean Judith’s, which is opposite a shop called “Gutsy Ginger’s” on Brunswick St? You’re right though it is a total Alladin’s Cave! It’s great that there is still a fabric shop in Whitby to be honest, though thankfully the charity shops are excellent! :-)

      • colette

        Yes think your right-they have some fab fabric in -totally too tempting, Judith is lovely as well, she helped out in my indecisions and suggested a really flattering fabric. she’s also sending me some fabric when it arrives ! above and beyond the call of duty!
        we have some brilliant charity shops over here in Hull- and cottingham just outside. if you come over this way would be pleased to show you the hidden gems !

  3. Marie

    I found your blog after you commented on my detachable collars and I’m so glad I did! Your skirt-to-dress refashion is absolutely gorgeous…can’t wait to have a good scroll through your blog!

    • charityshopchic

      Aw, thanks! Yes I was delighted with the skirt when I found it. There were a couple of others with similar patterns in the same shop (possibly donated by the same person) but this had by far the nicest print.

  4. yolandacepeda

    Such a great refasion!!! And it looks so easy to make, definitely, it was the best outifit to go and eat sushi!

    • charityshopchic

      I agree, it definitely helps if there is more fabric to work with. I do get some funny looks in charity shops when I go straight for the size-30 end of the rails though.

  5. liz

    just found your blog through bloglovin’. i love this dress! so simple yet so classy! ive tried to do the square with neck/arm holes but i always end up screwing one little thing up and it goes all wonky. i may have to try again soon..

    • charityshopchic

      Do keep persevering! Make sure you lay it out flat on the floor to check all the angles are not wonky. And don’t worry – a belt hides a lot of ‘inconsistencies’!

  6. MJ

    I did not thing this would look good, but you did it again. Really cute on you!! You really are such an inspiration!

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