Friday, February 25, 2011

Off the Couch

Perhaps I should call this post, "Nursing on Demand for a Less-Demanding Baby", or, "Bigger Tank = Less Fuel Stops". Either way, being a slave to the baby is becoming a little easier, as these things usually do, and I'm finding a tiny bit of time for sewing. Now that I think about it, it most likely results from a long list of factors including, but not limited to, husband is gone during the week, craft room is actually a toy room where the most fun toys live, and a major seasonal/nursing-friendly clothing shortage. My closet is starving!

I'm pretty pleased with this project and I wanted to share how I did it. Partly because I love how it turned out, partly because I want to show people how easy it can be to make awesome clothing from just about anything, and partly because I'm awfully quiet these days and need something to talk about. I know I haven't been here in a while when I type in "aqui" in my address bar and nothing auto-fills in! Anyway, here goes...

My lovely and amazing friend Jess Z gave me the top of a 2XL wrap dress after harvesting the bottom for a skirt. It's an absolutely BEAUTIFUL color of blue, but a bit too big, so I started with downsizing. First, I overlapped the ends to make it a wrap top (they were just hanging loose from the harvest), pinned it to cover the girls, and took in the side seams under the arms. This turned it into something more like a Medium.

I rifled through my fabric stash and found this stretchy, drapey polyester with some accents that are the same color as the top. I measured out my hips, cut a long rectangle that was a few inches longer than my hip measurement, sewed the short ends together, and gathered the top edge. I didn't hem the bottom because this type of fabric doesn't unravel or fray, and I'm generally lazy and like shortcuts. :D Then I attached the gathered end to the bottom of the wrap top.

My fantastic and talented friend Shirley gave me a bolt of gunmetal gray taffeta that I've been dying to use. I wanted to use it for the skirt, but it has no give so it didn't work (the girls are big and finicky these days, and refuse to be *squeezed* into anything that doesn't stretch to accommodate). But it was the perfect color and texture to use for the belt. It didn't take much. I made a back piece (like a regular strap, about 1.5" - 2" wide when finished) that was about 14" - 15" long and tacked it down to the side seams. I then made another piece, probably around 20" long, and, by trial and error, figured out the right places to attach it to the dress (at the side seams) and the belt buckle so that I could get in and out of the dress. I tacked the belt down in the middle of the top to keep it from drooping once on, which may not have been a problem if the belt buckle weren't so heavy (I didn't want to use loops because I wanted to keep my taffeta smooth and without loose ends). Because I didn't attach it all the way around, the dress has enough stretch that I can unbuckle the belt and have enough room to get into the dress.

My favorite part? The whole thing was virtually free. The top was gifted, the taffeta was gifted, the skirt fabric was either gifted or part of that huge, incredibly cheap stash I bought at an estate sale, and the buckle was harvested from a Salvation Army belt that couldn't have cost more than $1. This is a PERFECT example of what you can do when you rifle through the sale racks... at home. :) It looks different on me than on the mannequin, of course, because I'm not half a person and because I'm not a size -4. The belt goes around my ribs just below my bust line, like a bra does, and I will have to wear a cami underneath to keep my dignity. But I cannot wait to wear this over leggings!


WhyamIdoingthis said...

Love it! great job Melody. Now I need to do something wonderful with the bottom and we'll coordinate sometime! LOL

Sullivan County said...

I love your new dress, and I continue to be so impressed with your creativity!