I didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to take place in the Refashioners challenge this year as I’m taking part in a separate sewing challenge - the Ready to Wear Fast. This means I can’t buy any ready-made clothes including second hand charity shop items. The refashioners challenge is essentially to make something new from unwanted garments and this year’s theme is “Inspiration”.
However, my sister, Jess, recently asked for my help to restyle a size 18 prom dress into a size 10 skirt so that she could wear it to the eco awareness section of a pageant she was competing in. The pageant being Mermaid themed our inspiration came from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which we’d both loved to watch together as kids.
We used the second hand prom dress, an old bra, a scrap of purple fabric, a broken pearl necklace, and some left over ribbon and gems from an old costume project and managed to fashion a homage to Ariel. We even used thread and a pattern that I had in my stash already so the whole project didn’t cost us anything.
I started by measuring Jess and tracing out her size from the Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern by Sew Over It. We cut off the top of the dress, split the skirt down the side seams and folded the front and back of the skirt separately. I even left the zip intact and in place as we were on a tight deadline (it really felt like my own little alteration challenge!). I cut the skirt pattern out of the panels and just came out to the original seam when we got near to the tulle at the bottom. I sewed up the side seams and made a couple of small alterations to the fit.
For the lining we used the original lining and simply pinned and stitched around the shape of the new skirt. There was some stiff woven interlining in the bodice of the original dress which I used around the waist line to make sure the lining and sequin fabric didn’t stretch at that point. I sewed the lining to the skirt at the waist, under stitched and then hand tacked the lining down to the sides of the zip to give a neat finish to an otherwise pretty quick and dirty alteration.
Meanwhile Jess used the bits and pieces we’d amassed to decorate the old bra top and we had a finished costume. She looked amazing on the day and we had some good fun crafting the outfit.