This story starts with a lovely package in the mail from a certain Sew Busy Lizzy in Australia. Thanks Lizzy! This lovely gift contained some fabric, a pattern, some black snaps and a black and white dress. Lizzy tells me that all of these things came from the local ‘Op Shop’ (that’s Australian for Charity Shop!) and that the dress cost just AUD $2 (about £1.15). I think you got a bargain, Lizzy!
The dress is from Aussie designer Moss & Spy and is an Aussie size 10. It has lace panels at the neckline and also under the bust – there is no backing behind the lace so that area is transparent. For modesty, it came with a flesh-toned slip. The skirt has large godets in it which are emphasised with the same see-through lace treatment. Finally, the hem has white lace trim.
Lizzy sent me this back in the summer and I have to say I ummed and ahhed quite a bit about what to do with it. I don’t really wear black in summer (at least, not this summer) but the lace and the slightly transparent floaty fabric were pushing it into summer dress territory. The fit was pretty good overall so there was no need to change anything there. Probably the most major issue was the unflattering length, which was easy to fix. I cut off 10 cm all around the bottom and hemmed it again. It made a world of difference.
Reducing the length of the hem has actually reduced the area of the godets quite a lot. The godets are much more in proportion with the rest of the dress now. Also the trim on the hem which was slightly overkill has gone, which definitely helps, I think. It was a quick fix but very effective! The hem, since it was uneven to start with, and I cut off 10 cm all around, is still fairly uneven, but I kind of like it.
Styling this summer dress for autumn threw up its own challenges. I decided to go a bit Goth, adding a black sleeveless t-shirt (actually it’s the one from here) and a black slip under the dress, plus black tights and black velvet shoes.
My home town (Whitby, UK) is one of the settings for Bram Stoker’s book ‘Dracula’ and has a big connection with Goth culture hosting two Goth festivals every year. It made a great backdrop for this dress! We have a rather gothic-looking ruined abbey which adds to the atmosphere no end.
For fun, I added a black choker made by 14-year-old me which I dug up, it’s made of a black strip of material with a button sewn onto it and a snap to close it. So glad that some aspects of 90s fashion are coming back but I am not sure if chokers ever will! Very Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
If you follow Lizzy’s blog, you’ll know that she often amazes us jealous Brits with her stunning beach photoshoots. In an attempt to recreate the same aesthetic we headed down to Whitby beach to take some pictures. Let me tell you, walking on sand in 6″ platforms is not easy! But the pictures came out well! Not quite as tropical as Australia but I do think it has a certain British Seaside flair.
And finally, in case you didn’t know this Lizzy, one of my home town’s most famous citizens is the guy who discovered Australia, Captain Cook. His ship the Endeavour was built in Whitby as well. A package of sewing goodies will be retracing his steps soon!
Wow what a difference lopping off the hem and gothing it up has done – looks amazing! Another corker :)
Thanks Helen, I love it!! I think this is more of a winter than a summer dress, despite the floaty fabric.
Lovely! And just so you know, Moss and Spy is quite a pricey label down here so I think you got a bargain. I always love your remakes. Just wish I was have as creative as you.
Thanks Veronique – I hadn’t heard of Moss & Spy but a quick google tells me their dresses retail at around AUD $300-400. Definitely a bargain!
Looks amazing!!! I fear that the goth fanatics will be chasing you through Whitby to get their hands on your frock… take care… you have transformed this dress and look as amazing as ever!
Adore & love your home town – it’s just beautiful.
Lots of love from your Aussie Sewing Pal – Lizzy xox
Hi Lizzy, you’re a star! Thanks so much for thinking of me with this dress and the parcel of goodies. It has certainly gone to a good home. A parcel will be coming your way soon! xxx
excellent bargain lizzy and fab parcel!
She is so kind! It’s always fun to get things in the mail.
Woah, too cool! The dress looks pretty and your pics are spectacular! Love that Gothic setting in the green fields.
Thank you so much! We had a lot of fun taking these pictures… :)
My gosh, that is beautiful!
Thank you Erica :)
Brilliant! I only wish that the fabric was a nice supple velvet to really push it into that 90s goth territory! I have to say, you pull off the look amazingly well. Very “vampire-chic”? hahaha can that be a trend now?
‘Vampire Chic’ never went away in my home town, ha! Personally I love the nostalgia of the 90s – slip dresses in particular. Stay tuned for more 90s goodness!
Lovely job, again! I was trying to figure out what else you did to the dress as the bodice looks so much better but suddenly realised that just wearing black underneath that lace really lifts it, and you are so right about the godets, they were way too big! The whole thing looks so much better chopped off at knee length. I think you should have a concession in “The Great Goth” shop! Thanks for the shots of lovely Whitby, I was there six weeks ago and really miss it.
Hi Clare, thank you for commenting. Glad you agree that the new godet size is more in keeping with the rest of the dress. Personally I would take all my pictures in Whitby if I could… but then, I am biased ;-)
Great dress and pictures Sally. Do you have a professional photographer? You make me see that I must move out of my sewing room for pics but I have so little time with my teaching job. You do great work!
Hi Mary, no I do not have a professional photographer (just my other half) though I will show him this comment!! :) We are working hard to improve our pictures so I appreciate your comment. Thanks for your support.
Such a pretty goth! And Whitby looks great – who needs sun and surf when you have all that drama!
Exactly! (Though a little bit of sun would be nice)
Oh you’ll be crying for my sunshine in the dead of winter Nicole :-)
I’ll be sending lots of bloggy sunshine your way!
such a simple alternation made such a world of difference! Love the photos by the sea!
Yep, this was a very simple one! Thanks for the comment!
Gorgeous! Yay to Lizzy (well spotted!!) and great photo shoot!;)
Yay Lizzy!! Glad you liked the photos :)
I love goth you Sally! You totally look amazing and I love the brighter lipstick to lift the whole look. Really jealous of the moody beach photos too!
Thank you so much Marie! I actually found that lipstick in the box with the choker made by 14-year-old me, so that is genuine 90s ;-) I really know nothing about makeup but I am trying to improve…
Love, love, love the graveyard shots. I’m making up the story in my head and can’t decide–are you the beautiful murderess who’s just buried her latest victim in an ancient grave, or are you the misunderstood innocent just escaped from her evil captors who brought you to the ruined abbey for their cultish rituals? Hmmm…..
Hi Marsha, I am the innocent escaped from my evil captors, running through the graves, hiding behind the stones as I frantically try to quiet my own breathing so they don’t find me.
Lovely dress. Ie specially like it like the dress with the black tights and t-short underneath it.
Thank you so much! I really like this look too!
I like the styling of this dress especially! Goth without the makeup :-)
Yours is one of the refashion blogs I love to follow and I just got a sewing machine for my birthday and did my first refashion. I’m still learning but I have tons of ideas – more than I have the skill to execute them at this point. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration!
Hi Elaine, I am so happy that you started refashioning! You will learn such a lot as you are going along but there are a lot of great blogs out there for ideas as well. Have fun!
I wonder, if you dyed the dress a dark blue or purple to soften the lace/black contrast . . . then turned the top into a sweetheart neckline strapless dress with the lace edging . . . just an idea.
Hi Mimi, I think the lace is poly but I like your idea!
Woa! what a bargain, how come I never find gorgeous stuff like that at the op shop?! your dress looks super cool! and thanks so much for your nice comment on my blog :)
Hi Carolyn, Lizzy is the one with the eye for a bargain! Charity shops over here are sadly a bit more expensive… You are welcome, I am a big fan!
Nice job; looks just right with the black underneath … and those shoes!!! I heart those shoes :) Very kind of Lizzy to send along such a wonderful dress.
I love them too Jenny! Thanks for commenting. And yes, Lizzy is a sweetheart! :)