Sunday, September 19, 2010

Episode six: always a bridesmaid

The Challenge: Choose a bridesmaid and her dress, then rework the dress into a new wearable look with input from the bridesmaid.

The Constraints: 30 minutes to meet with the bridesmaid and sketch, $50 to take to Mood and purchase up to two yards of fabric, however the bulk of the original dress must be used.

My Take: Well, I only have one bridesmaid dress left in my closet. I kept it because it was the only one I got to pick out, and I actually adore it and wear it. So, I needed to procure a dress to tear apart and reconstruct. Luckily, Goodwill was having a half-off day. They had one lonely bridesmaid dress on the rack, so I grabbed it.

As you can see, the dress is sage green. It's the color for those who are afraid of color. I know that technically a color, but really it falls into the beige family. It's really a neutral, and frankly not a great neutral. On top of that the fabric was not great. It is basically parachute fabric, and not the cool stuff that women used to make wedding gowns in World War II. Who chooses that for a formal dress? Well, I had to make it work. While I love getting dressed up, this fabric would not go with that. I thought something on the casual side would be more fitting for the fabric. I decided to go for a romper.

I have never done shorts or pants without a pattern, so this would definitely challenge my pattern drafting skills! I did much measuring and sketching and calculating. I finally had pattern pieces with I crossed my fingers would work the way they did in my head. I thought to save time, I would line up the seams of the shorts with the existing seams on the dress. Unfortunately I overestimated the amount of fabric in this dress. So, I had to go to my trusty seam ripper and rip out all of the seams of the skirt and press them out to maximize the fabric. I eked out all the necessary pieces, whew! I realized that I was just planning on doing basic machine stitching for all the hems, which I felt would cheapen the look. So, in the spirit of making it work, I decided to make the stitching a feature. So, I used metallic silver thread and top-stitch away. Instead of purchasing fabric, I only picked up notions and black cording. The cording was for a shoulder gather and to break up the sage green just a smidge. After scrapping gathering the top at the waist, I instead went with pleating to make it a little neater.

Surprise! Tim came into the workroom to tell the designers that instead of hitting the runway, they would be presenting their work to a bunch of strangers who would vote on their work. Not really a twist I could instead of buttons I am trusting lots of comments here to give me yeas or nays.

I finished the romper, and put it on. The top was more voluminous and less drapey than I intended. I used the belt I chose from the accessory wall to help tame it for the "runway." I went with the same booties from the Philip Treacy challenge because I adore their edginess. I also added a chunky layered necklace to keep it from looking too bare in the chest. Here are the results:
I'm pretty sure the cat was nursing a hangover somewhere. He would totally be the groomsman that would get hammered and nail the maid-of-honor. He may be cute, but keep that in mind before asking him to stand up in your wedding.


  1. looks adorable... I love rompers, and this is very classy! well done!

  2. @Melissa Thanks!! I am still a little afraid of rompers. Maybe because I am not built like a supermodel!

  3. Nicely done! I see what you mean about the volume of the top, but the belting really helps keep it trim, and I'm guessing that it looked kind of cool in motion...? Also, the back is lovely. All in all, I think the judges would have said that it was an excellent (and dramatic) transformation -- and yeah, certainly far better than some that week! (Yes, I'm caught up on my viewing now. :) ) My lord, Peach was a doll but that outfit of hers was an unmitigated DISASTER.

  4. I'm not a big fan of rompers but that is really cute and something I could see Blake Lively or someone like her wearing. You definitely made it wearable so we'll just pretend that your client was some cute 20 something coed that would love that ;)

  5. @NNS-Yeah, some of them took bad dresses and made them worse. I can't even figure out what Peach was thinking!
    @Anissa-Generally, I'm not a fan either. They are harder to pull off if you aren't young, tall, and thin. I wanted to try making one that was a little more forgiving. I was definitely thinking on the younger side with this one, so I love the idea of pretending I got one of the young co-eds!!