Red Carpet Copycat: Anna Wintour (et al) in Dior

Today, I’m taking a closer look at this look from Dior Spring 2013. This ankle-length dress has a black knit top half and a flowery bottom half with an overlay of shiny organza. I love the way the organza catches the light. This look has been modelled by (amongst others) Elizabeth Debicki. Debicki plays Jordan in ‘Gatsby’; she is seen here at the film’s Sydney premiere.

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Very similar looks from the same collection have also been worn by Anna Wintour and Natalia Vodianova. My favourite I think here is Wintour’s – I love her necklace – though I must say I prefer Debicki’s black shoes.

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To make my own version of this look I’m using… a pair of curtains (to be accurate, I’m only going to use one, actually). I got these flowery numbers from the Mind shop in Whitby and I paid £4.50.

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I will also need a black t-shirt. This basic men’s shirt is size medium and cost £3.50 from the British Red Cross shop in Lewisham.

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I started cutting the side hems of the curtains before giving up and just cutting the whole of the hems off at the sides, bottom and top. I was left with a large rectangle which I cut in half. Happily, the length of the original curtain was such that it was still long enough to reach my ankles, but if it hadn’t have been, I could have used the other curtain.

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Next, I ran down to my local fabric shop and bought 2 metres of orange synthetic organza, very cheaply. It frays like… a very frayed thing.

I cut two rectangles of organza that were just a little bit bigger than my fabric rectangles and basted them together on all sides.

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Next, I took an offcut from my stash (part of an old sheet, I think) and folded it in four. Then I drew a rough pocket shape.

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I’m not going to go through the details of how to make inseam pockets because Tasia has an excellent, very clear tutorial here. I essentially followed all her steps, which culminate in sewing both side seams.

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For the waistband, I cut a piece of black elastic just long enough to go around my waist when stretched, and I sewed the ends together. I totally should have used black thread.

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Along the top of the skirt, I gently pulled the top thread of the basting stitch until the waist had reduced in size by about half. Thankfully the thread didn’t break.

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Next I pinned my waistband to the waist of the skirt at the front, back, left side seam and right side seam. I fed the waistband and skirt through the overlocker, stretching the elastic sufficiently that there were no puckers.

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When the elastic springs back, the skirt looks even more gathered!

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To finish the hem, I overlocked it….

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…and then I pressed it up, catching some iron-on hem glue between the layers. I blinking love that stuff. I’m using it here because I want a clean, sharp finish with no stitching visible.

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And now… for the top half. A little more work was required! Cutting off the sleeves was a no-brainer.

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Then I tried the shirt on and marked with pins where the side seam should be and where the armholes should finish.

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I quickly cut off the excess then overlocked the sides.

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To make the armhole hems, I cut the hems off the original sleeves…

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…then I overlocked them into the armholes, right sides together, stretching to fit. It works reasonably well!

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Here’s how it looks on. I love the way the organza catches the light!

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PS. I entered the Cosmopolitan Fashion blog awards, in the craft blog category. It would be really great if you could spare a moment to head over to their site and nominate me!
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120 comments

  1. Katy

    Gorgeous! I’ve actually bought material for my version of this, but you got there before me. I haven’t started mine yet! Yours is stunning :)

  2. Janet Friel

    Stunning! When you said you were using curtains for this I immediately thought of the Sound of Music! The finished dress is so classy (and not an edelweiss in sight!)

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Janet, I think of myself more as Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the wind) rather than Maria von Trapp ;-)
      Curtains are a great source of recycled fabric, though.
      Thanks for reading!

  3. Jane

    Absolutely stunning Sally and SSSOOOO glamorous! I wouldn’t have guessed for a second that your outfit started life as curtains, AMAZING! x

  4. seamssewsilly

    Using the organza was a BRILLIANT way to get the sheen of the originals! Stroke of genius! Just a tip for the next time you have to gather, do you have a machine that zig-zag stitches? If you do, you can set it to a wide-ish zig-zag, then place a heavy thread (I like button weight, but upholstery would work, too) under your presser foot, holding the tail at the back with your bobbin and needle thread. Carefully, zig-zag OVER the heavy thread, just like you would with your gathering stitch, but don’t sew through the heavy thread. When you are finished, it’s like a draw string in a casing that you can gather and pull on to your heart’s content, without the threads breaking!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi there, thanks for the comment. That’s a great tip about the gathering stitch using zig zag. I usually do two rows of (straight) basting stitches, but this time I cut a corner and just used the line I had already sewn to hold the organza in place! Strikes me that your method would have worked well here, where there was a large amount of rather thick material to be gathered. Thanks for the tip!

  5. sylkotwist

    That’s wonderful – I have to admit as I scrolled down I wasn’t too sure BUT you pulled it off and it’s sensational! I’m always so happy to see your posts , truly inspiring, well done!

  6. greenfrogknits

    Wow that looks great! No one would ever guess you made that, let alone paid little for it! Cheers to you! You are an inspiration–I try and do the same thing, except with J. Crew clothes (I can’t afford to shop there at all!) Great Job!

    • charityshopchic

      Haha, I think you’re on to a winner there with J Crew – we can’t even get their stuff over here. Refashioning is a great way to get a stylish wardrobe on a budget! Thanks for reading!

  7. Lise

    Very impressive and you look great in it. I admire your talent and creativity. Good luck with the contest. I’m sure you’ll win, and you definitely should.

  8. Kim Turner

    OMG, that is just an amazing refashion. Who would have thought that Dior used old curtains with an organza overlay in his collections :) In all seriousness, this outfit has to be about the most stunning transformation to date. An absolutely gorgeous outfit and I hope you wear it many times.

    Kim

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Kim, thanks as always for your support. I am sure that Dior shops in Mind Whitby! I need to find a suitable event to wear this to, but I’m working on it! Thanks for reading.

  9. sewamysew

    This is such a great look!! The curtain material gives the skirt a really good body. I hope you have a red carpet style event to wear it to.

  10. Marie

    OMG-this-skirt-is-most-probably-definitely-my-favourite-make-of-yours-to-date-it’s-so-darned-amazing-and-high-fashion! And breath…..! I just had to get that all out, Sally I LOVE it so much! In fact, I’m going to vow to create something similar myself, thanks to your step-by-step guidance. I also love your ‘red’ carpet…hehe! Bye for now…off to vote for you over at Cosmo!

    • charityshopchic

      Breathe, Marie, breathe!! :)
      You should definitely try this project yourself, I can’t wait to see your version! Definitely pick a curtain with big flowers, and some co-ordinating organza for the full effect. You could even do a shorter version for non-red carpet purposes, if you wanted. Thanks so much for your support!

  11. Dee

    Wow, that is so incredibly beautiful! Probably one of my favorite refashions you’ve made. Just amazing.

  12. Linda Kennedy

    Wow! I love that you stood on a “red carpet” at the end. With talent like yours you should be on a real red carpet! I’m popping over to nominate you now!!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Linda, it’s hardly a red carpet, just some red material I had lying around, but I like the effect! Thanks so much for your nomination, it means a lot.

  13. Sally

    Really love this dress and your whole blog! (Plus the fact that you’re from northern England, like me! and you’re uk based) I have tried to refashion a bit in the past, quite a long time ago, but with less success. You’ve convinced me that a bit more patience and a bit more practice are what is needed! I notice that you use your surger quite a bit; I have a basic and temperamental sewing machine. Do you have any advice for refashioning without a surger?

    • charityshopchic

      Yep I’m a proud Northerner! And I’m also called Sally! Kudos!!
      My advice is to get out the sewing machine again and practice a little on some old clothes, or something that doesn’t matter. If it goes badly wrong, just bin it (or recycle it) put it down to experience, don’t dwell on it, move on! I do love my serger, but it’s not necessary at all for a beginner. The zig zag stitch on your regular machine can do most of what the serger does. In any case, I recommend starting with non-stretchy fabrics that will behave better under your needle. When you move on to knits/t-shirts, use the zig zag stitch for seams as it will stretch with the fabric. Best of luck and have fun!

  14. Erinn Jackson- Sticky Genius

    You make me want to copycat everything you do! Fabulous job!!!! I love it. I will definitely take the time to vote for you!

  15. donna

    i voted for you and was happy to have a chance to do something nice for you! i love your blog, especially the celeb wardrobe copycats. i am always trying to replicate high fashion or movie wardrobe, it makes sewing much more fun! best wishes!!

    • charityshopchic

      Hello Donna, thanks for your vote, your support means a lot to me. I agree, my ‘copycat’ projects are some of the ones I enjoy the most! Thanks for reading! :)

  16. ClaireE

    This is amazing. It so stylish and looks like a very professional job. Using the organza for the sheen was a brilliant idea.

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Claire, I love the sheen on the organza too. It’s the first time I’ve worked with organza but it won’t be the last. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate it!

  17. Krafty Karen

    Absolutely stunning refashion – it looks really beautiful on you and I hope you get a lovely glam occasion to wear it at very soon. Have just voted for you!!

  18. Gjeometry

    Oh, look at you!!! It’s fantastic! I love how all the things you sew, are from you own creations and you don’t follow a pattern. Very inspiring.

  19. Charity

    That is beautiful! I didn’t think I’d like your version at first, because I prefer curtains as curtains, and not as skirts, but that orange organza made all the difference. I love it!

  20. seweverythingblog

    What an amazing recreation! Congrats on capturing the look AND the essence of the original Dior!

  21. Cristina

    I have never posted before but omg, I love this, I want it! This is such a beautiful dress and so up my alley, love the fact that you used curtains, I have just made a pencil skirt from curtain material so I’m totally with you on that. Anyway, beautiful dress, lovely post. C

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Cristina and thanks for the comment. If you liked this project, you should definitely have a go at doing it yourself, it’s very easy! And I agree that curtains do make a good source of material :)

  22. Michelle T

    This refashion creation is just beautiful! Heading over to the Comso Blog Awards you are a winner!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Jannapy, that’s so sweet of you to take the time to nominate me over at Cosmo, thanks! I used the sleeve hems as it was just about the only bit of fabric in the offcuts that stretched in the right direction, and they were already professionally finished – it’s a great short cut!

  23. Ros

    I’m going on an extremely posh cruise next year, so I’ve been on the look out for suitable evening dresses. This is going right to the top of the list. Just need to find some curtains now…

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Ros, thanks for reading. This outfit would be perfect for your cruise wardrobe! I kept the top and skirt separate and have also worn the black top as part of another outfit, so that would save suitcase space. Good luck with your project!

  24. angelfairydust

    I love it! It’s amazing how posh organza fabric can make something look!! Well done Sally :)

    Angelfairydust.blogspot.com

    Check out my newly started refashion and diy blog :)

  25. cucicucicoo

    Just gorgeous! And looks every bit as red carpet designer as those others! Nice job! :) Lisa
    p.s. I clicked the Cosmo link, but found the page has been removed?

  26. ramya

    Amazing ! I’m going to try this :) I have a doubt. Could you tell me the dimensions of the rectangle(for the skirt)… I dont want the skirt to become to bulky… You’re skirt seems about the right size ! Thanks in advance :)

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Ramya, the skirt is 90 cm in length. It’s made of two rectangles (front and back), each 108 cm wide. So you need to cut two rectangles 90x108cm PLUS Seam allowance. Waist is gathered 2:1 then overlocked to very stretched elastic. Hope that helps.

  27. tania@sewitanyway

    From a *curtain*?!!! You never cease to amaze me. But this is truly fabulous!
    Well done! :)

  28. Amy

    Wow that organza really makes the difference – it would look a bit naff with just the curtain fabric alone, but that bit of orangey shine puts it in a totally different league! Nice.

  29. Eszter @ Creatű

    I also loved this skirt from the minute I’ve seen the Dior collection and after seeing your version I couldn’t wait to find some suitable fabric. Finally I did, and made my own – not as nice as yours, but it makes me feel like a princess :-) Thank you for the inspiration.

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