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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Refashion Runway Season Two - Emerald Green Sewalong

From eighties dress to fifties skirt.

I bought this dress from Ebay for 99 pence.  Yes, amazingly I was the only bidder!  The belt buckle and buttons were all a very cheap plastic 'gold', there were shoulder pads and unhappy pockets that bunched up around the bust.  But, like the end of any relationship, I am focussing on the bad points.  The things I did like were the skirt pleats...

...and the colour.  Also, the fabric was a really bad 100 percent polyester but I grew to love it.  Sadly, this wasn't enough to rekindle the romance that was the eighties and, like Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, separation was inevitable.

I didn't even try the dress on as I knew it would just be a bit blah as the bodice was a size too big for me.  I did initially have plans to put pleats in the top and re-attach it to the altered skirt, but in the end I liked the skirt so much I quit when I was winning.  So this was an easy one.

As the bodice was too big so too was the waist.  That was a perfect excuse to just make two more pleats in the skirt fabric.  I was careful to cut the dress away through the bodice rather than the skirt so that all the original pleats I loved so much remained intact.

I then needed a new waistband.  So I used the belt.  I unpicked the plastic buckle and just sewed the belt onto the skirt going over the original edge stitches.  Obviously the belt was longer than the waist measurement, but I just made a buttonhole at the end of the belt (which was already nicely shaped) and then sewed a button on the side of the new waistband at the point where the buttonhole ended up when it was wrapped around my waist.

I changed all the horrible gold buttons with green ones from my stash and the skirt was finished! 

Wearing a net petticoat really makes a difference to the look of the skirt.  I can't take credit for this petticoat - my sister made it.

Blue and Green should always be seen!
The pleats make the skirt - and I only had to sew two of them!

The only problem I had was that the white balance on my camera was not happy photographing the green.  I had to spend many a happy(!) hour figuring out how to make my green skirt look green again in photoshop.  It did leave me with a very pretty Warholesque montage of skirts.  You will just have to trust me that the colour my camera thought the skirt was (on the left) was not right and the skirt is actually more like the colour I think it is (on the right).  The only other option is that I will have to cut up the bodice and send you a fabric swatch!

Vote for your favourite in the competition here


  1. Turned into a really pretty skirt..

  2. another lovely refashion.Your plaid dress last week got me to thinking about my Pile of Shame and I pulled three skirts out and altered them.Not re-fashions but I now have three more wearable skirts and three things less in the Pile of Shame.So many thanks!

    1. I keep looking at my Pile of Shame thinking 'I must not go charity shopping for a while!'

  3. Great refashion! I bet this skirt is going to get heaps of wear. (love your dave & annie joke :))

    1. I do love the colour so hopefully it will get a lot of wear.

  4. Hi - I found you through the Renegade Seamstress and am enjoying your blog no end!

    Yes, what was it about 80's buttons? Always big and metallic. Your skirt is lovely and I think the buttons are an important part of the change. Love the waistband too; how smart to use the belt.

    - Jo H. (my "other" name over at Beth's blog)

    1. Hi - I know, the buttons were terrible. I wasn't too sure about the shoulder pads either!