Refashion Runway/Red Carpet Copycat: Gwyneth Paltrow in Stella McCartney

This is my entry for the third round of Refashion Runway hosted by The Renegade Seamstress. You can click here to see what the other competitors made on this week’s ‘copycat’ theme – and vote for your favourites (me please!).

Longtime readers will remember my last take on the Stella McCartney bodycon dress, blogged here. This year’s take on it is the ‘Saskia’ dress from the Evening 2012 collection which has been worn by pretty much everyone, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Katharine Jenkins… to Victoria Pendleton to Tess Daly, in its various forms. I have been dying to recreate this dress since I first saw it but couldn’t decide on the right colour combination. The front is matte, but the back is sheeny stretch velvet (velour!) with transparent side panels.

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My version will be made out of…. yes, T-shirts, but also….


…a velour tracksuit! This baby was £7.95 from the Sense shop in Deptford. I’m only using the trousers for this, I’ll have to use the top for something else.


I’m also using a very thick blue t-shirt, £3 from Richard House Hospice shop in Upminster, and this very thin beige t shirt which was £3 from the Octavia Foundation shop in Tooting.




I started with my jersey block. I’m still using the same block that I traced from an old dress back when I made the previous Stella McCartney bodycon number back in 2011.


Here’s a rough idea of what I did. I drew a waistline, separating the dress into a bodice and a skirt. I drew in the new curves for the back and front blue sections. This meant adding 8.5cm graduating to 2.5cm to the back from the waist down, and subtracting the same amount from the front.


For the bust shaping, I drew in a small dart of around 3.5cm. I realised the angle of the dart would be bringing my armhole curve lower down, so I added about3.5cm vertically to maintain coverage.

For the side (beige) piece, I drew a straight line from the back to roughly the bottom of the armhole and extended it by roughly the amount that had been taken from the front portion, then joined it to the waistline with a curve. I checked the curve length against the bodice front to check there was going to be enough coverage and adjusted it until I was satisfied.


My pattern looked something like this.


I cut my pieces from their various garments…


Made the darts in the bodice front…


And overlocked the curved seams holding the pieces together. There isn’t a zip in this, it’s stretchy enough to pull on.

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I finished the neck and armholes with a very loose bind hem stitch which is almost invisible.


I finished the hem with a double needle.

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Here are a rather gratuitous amount of images of the final dress. I wore this to an awards ceremony with friends recently and had great fun ‘modelling’ in front of the photo board. I paired it with a gold shiny belt and black and gold sandals. I even did my hair like Gwyneth.

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If you liked this project, why not head over to Refashion Runway and vote for me?



  1. Ali

    Wow!! You are so inspirational. I’ve been watching your blog for a wee while but not commented until now. I love your whole ethos of turning something someone discarded into something so covetable. My refashions aren’t quite in your league. Yet ;-)

    Heading over to vote now :-)


  2. juli

    When I see something as revealing as those inspiration photos I have hard time imagining them working for real people. And then, enter you, and turn the style into something wearable. Even the terrible side “cleavage” is gone!
    This was a terrific refashion! Thank you for the translation of film stars cleavage/boobage look into something covered but equally hot!

    • charityshopchic

      Yeah I’m not really into side cleavage ;-) Most designer looks can be interpreted into something a little more modest by making a few tweaks. My favourite tricks are to replace transparent sections with fabric close to my skin-colour, and to make skirts long enough to reach the knees. Thanks for reading, Juli!

  3. Lucy

    I tell you what, they go on about how black is rubbish in photos because it recedes, and how navy/bottle green/deep purple is better, and my goodness it really shows in these photos! Even though the fabric looks black from a distance, the texture and so on is so visible and you look fantastic!

    But then, you always do in your creations.

    Another brilliant entry, thanks!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Lucy! I know from experience that black is very, very difficult to photograph… I didn’t believe it until I tried it! Navy looks much better in pictures, and I think it’s more flattering as well. Thanks for your support.

  4. MJ

    You are a sewing genius! What do you do for a living? You should be a designer! Or at least a designer for a company that does knock-offs of famous dresses. You are amazing!!!

  5. photosarah

    gorgeous! love the belt with it. I was wondering how you were going to pull of clear side panels, and you made it work!

  6. jasperizer

    I honestly like your dress better, the length works and the nude sides are a nice add, making the dress more wearable.- that’s what it’s all about, right? Also, send love to that metallic belt. It’s so Gucci. :)

  7. yesilikethat

    Blimey, this is insanely good. You create magic every time! And you make it sound so easy, I know I would be sobbing on the floor surrounded by hacked-up remnants of charity shop garments if I even tried to attempt this. Love your styling as well. I think you look better than Gwyneth! Just don’t release your own awful cookbook…

  8. Sarah Sew Love

    very nice job :) what is that neckline/shape called exactly? does it have a ‘style’ name… not the scoop out the side, more so the narrow straps/neck. I have seen it about a lot lately and think it very flattering.

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Sarah, not sure if it has an actual name. It’s the neckline seen on some sportswear. It’s the mirror of the racer-back so I tend to call it racer-front :)

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