Monday, 24 August 2015

Make Do And Mend

I'm not sure whether it's because I work in fashion and have always liked to sew, but i'm a firm believer in 'make do and mend'!

Back in April I did a style post on 'Wedding Season- Style Inspiration', and after that I found this dress in the sale for £15! It's exactly what i'd been looking for and I was so happy to have found it, until I tried it on!!! It was so baggy, and even though it was labelled a size 10, it was quite clearly tailored to a more 12/14 measurement (possibly why it was in the sale). It basically looked like a sack on me, and not in a chic way! But that didn't put me off, because I saw it as a challenge! 

As you can see in this picture, the dress is made up of panels and pleats, which makes it very easy to alter. If there is already style lines to work with, it's usually just a case of pinching them in more. The print on the dress also worked in my favour, as I knew it would hide any discrepancies. If the dress had been more expensive/ a block colour or someone else's, I would have worked on a mannequin to make sure everything was symmetrical left and right. But as this was just for me I cheated, and did it the short cut way.

Here is my step-by-step method of taking the dress in.

    1. First I wore the dress inside out, and evenly pinched in at the seam- pinning as I went. I checked in the mirror to see if it seemed even and was laying nice across my front, waist and around my chest.

    2. As the back was a little more difficult to reach, I took the dress off and pinned where I thought it may need taking in. I tried the dress on again and repeated until I was happy with the fit. Because the dress has a zip in the back, I was able to take it in quite tight because I knew i'd be able to get it on and off my body. Sometimes when you take something in, you forget that it needs to be able to somehow get over all those curves!

    3. Once I was happy with where i'd pinned, I took it off and made marks where the pins where, as I don't like to put pins through the machine. Again, if this was a more expensive job, i'd have tacked it or used tailors chalk. But pen was fine for me!

    4. Once I knew where I wanted to take it in, I unpicked the waist of the dress, about 2 inches either side of the seam. I kept the pleat in the bottom of the skirt in place with a pin for the time being, as I wanted to keep the front of the pleat in the same place.

    5. I then went over my pen mark with the sewing machine, but I came across a problem! Because I wanted this more fitted, I hadn't anticipated the excess fabric around the curve of the bust! I then had to make a small dart in the cup area by eye!

    6. I then tried the dress on to see how it was looking, and the darts were so wonky! I then repositioned them on the machine, tried it on again and repeated this until I was happy! (Remember, this is the short cut lazy way!) I then cut the excess fabric away with a 1cm seam allowance and went over the raw edge with an overlocker to give it a more finished look.

    7. As I had taken about 12 centimetres in total from the waist on the top of the dress, I needed to take it out of the skirt as well. Because it was already pleated, all I needed to do was pleat it even more! I pinned the pleat in the front so that it stayed in the same place, and then just folded the excess fabric round at the back (so it was hidden). Once I was happy that it was going to fit to the top well, I sewed it up and overlock neatened it.  

    Here is the finished product!

    I was so happy with the results, and it was super comfortable on the day. All in all this took me about 2 hours which seems like a long time, but i'm not lying when I say this is the short cut way, and doing a proper job on something like this can take days! It is a high skilled job, but I think anyone can do it with a little practice! 

    Who else still adopts the make do and mend attitude?

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