Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Fabricista Fashion Challenge: Week 1-- THE REVEAL!

If you hadn't read my last couple posts, I am one of the lucky ten seamstresses who are competing in the Fabricista Fashion Challenge sponsored by Fabric Mart.  Today I'm revealing my results from our first challenge!! Fabric Mart has posted all the contestants work here.

Week 1-- The Recycled Challenge: Make a garment out of recycled materials or materials that would have otherwise been thrown away, such as scraps from your sewing room or grocery bags. You can reconstruct a garment to make it more fashion forward and utilize unconventional items to add accessories and embellishments.   I had a lot of fun with this!  It took me less then an hour to decide what I was going to do after getting the word about this week's challenge.  I chopped up, dyed and reconstructed my wedding dress into a new garment.  My dress had been sitting in a garment bag for over 6 years , unwashed, dirty around the hem after walking around in the muddy grass on my wedding day and with a few rips and tears.  I bought it off the rack about 7 years ago at the W@l-m@rt of bridal shops (aka David's) as I wasn't prepared to sew my own at the time... also being a larger size at the time I had only a couple options to do in-store shopping for a plus-sized gown.   

Here I was on one of the best days of my life, my wedding day in the Spring of 2007.  And then here I am last week.  Of course I HAD to try it on one last time... I could almost fit both arms in it with me now (there's about 80 pounds less of me these days.)


It really was a pretty dress.  It was a champagne color, satin with an organza overlay that had some lovely beading on the bodice and skirt.  It was from David's so it was all polyester.  Being man made material, it would be a pain in the butt to dye, but I threw caution to the wind and did it anyhow. 


I cut of the entire satin skirt (excluding the organza overlay), tossed it in the gentle cycle in the washing machine and it came out completely clean.  I dyed it was this dye especially for polyester I found at Joann's, Jacquard iDye Poly.  Because this fabric is difficult to dye it needs a high temperature (boiling) for a pretty long time (1/2 hour to an hour of boiling.)  I had it in there for over an hour (maybe 35 minutes of actual boiling) making sure to have the icky chemical smell permeate my entire house.  I washed it again in the machine and it came out a massive wrinkled mess!  Nothing a dryer couldn't fix, right? Uhhh... not so much.  It was a tremendous wrinkled mess. After some trial and error I found that vigorously ironing the b'jeezus out of a heavy poly satin at the highest setting gets the friggin' wrinkles out!  This went against everything I thought I knew about ironing man made fabrics, but it worked.  I now had flamingo pink satin.  With that I drew up a plan.


I wanted a simple, classic, fully lined dress... and one that wouldn't need more fabric then my wedding dress had to offer.  I used a couple different patterns, Simplicity 0267 for the bodice (possibly out of print now?) and Simplicity 2215 for the skirt (I changed it up a bit.)  I added some self-drafted straps with buttons at the waist.  I whipped up a quickie muslin for the bodice to tweak it some (adding length, adjusting darts, etc) but there was no need to for the skirt as I've made this Simplicity Cynthia Rowley pattern before.


I was able to get the entire main fabric on grain from my satin.  I used the organza overlay from my wedding dress to underline the bodice to give it more structure.  I was going to underline the skirt but I felt I didn't need to after all.  I hand-sewed the underlining as machine stitching would skew it all under the presser foot.

After a few days of hand sewing, ironing, machine sewing and more ironing yet... I now have me a dress!   From my giant, old champagne colored wedding dress... to a hand dyed, flamingo pink satin, fully lined 1950s classic inspired party dress with a few couture elements tossed in. 


I used a really bright, fun robin's egg blue polyester pongee to line it.  I love an unexpected lining.  This is the only element of the dress that wasn't recycled from my wedding dress or wasn't a vintage notion (excluding the thread!)





I made the lining a little shorter then I would normally expect.  I didn't want it peaking out, I've had that trouble before.  None of the patterns I used called for any linings so I drafted up my own.  


I used a vintage lace hem tape I had that was an exact match. Holy moly!  I took the time to hand prick the zipper to the lining.


I used some vintage covered button blanks I inherited from my Great Aunt's sewing room.  Those things are a pain to use and I scratched the heck out of my fingertips pulling the fabric tight over button's teeth, but it was worth it.


I didn't want to risk messing up the hem with my sewing machine's blind hem foot so I sat up watching a couple episodes of New Girl on Netflix hand sewing it.  I used to hate hand sewing like this, now I find it meditative and quite calming.


And here are some more photos...


23 comments:

  1. You are so brave to cut up and dye your wedding dress! Your refashion came out lovely. Nice job.

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  2. Wow!! That took some guts to cut up your wedding dress, but it was so worth it! This dress is fantastic! You looked lovely on your wedding day, and you look lovely now with your new dress! I think your husband ought to take you on a date so you can show this dress off to the world!

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  3. Wow, what a risk but it has turned out lovely

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  4. You did such an amazing job! I love the colour of your new dress and now your memories of your wedding day can live on in a dress you can actually wear!

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  5. Kathy you are simply gorgeous! You shine! That was so unexpected, and i'm overwhelmed! What can i say? You deserve thousands bravo!
    P.S: Have you lost weight since your post with your red lola or is it my idea?

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  6. beautiful dress! I LOVE you were brave enough to cut your wedding dress! And, dye it! Bravo!

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  7. Thanks, Gail! I really enjoyed my dress for my wedding, but it was just useless in my closet. And I totally agree, my hubby SHOULD take me out :)

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  8. Thank you! The dyeing was interesting as I've never dyed anything before. Now I want to dye some more stuff!!

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  9. Gee, thanks! You are sooo sweet to say that!! And no I haven't lost weight since my Lola... the lola dress is less form fitting on my waist, and a dress that really shows my waist generally is most flattering on me... I've got a big booty and trimmer waist and this silhouette usually suits it.

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  10. Thank you Zoe! Now I need a place to go in it!!

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  11. Thanks! It was a chance worth taking for sure.

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  12. Thanks, Meigan! I had a boatload of fun. But the one thing that almost ended it was washing it after the dye job... the wrinkles seemed so set in and I was digging for new ideas for the competition until I just ironed the hell out that pink fabric!

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  13. What an amazing wedding gown transformation!

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  14. Thanks! The pink was a bit of a surprise but it's really is fun.

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  15. Oh my, to transform your wedding dress to match the new you should win the challenge on it's own! Your new dress is just stunning - the lines, the shape the colour, the finish ... everything. I think my favourite part are the waist tabs and the covered buttons. a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

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  16. Absolutely Amazing. .. great job.

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  17. That dress is BEAUTIFUL and you so look so good in it! I love the little button belt!

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  18. That turned out so cute, Kathy! What a way to refashion a wedding dress!

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  19. This looks amazing! I wanted to make something with a bridesmaid dress, but there were none to be found... Great job!

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  20. What an amazing makeover for that wedding gown! You did a beautiful job on this dress. I don't even have words... so inspired and inspiring! :)

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  21. WOW!!! I've been wanting to try poly dye for some time now... and seeing just what a beautiful colour your dye has turned your wedding dress into (and the fabric has such a gorgeous sheen!). And speaking of dresses - I LOVE this!! So gorgeous. Looking great!!

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  22. Kathy, this is seriously cute! I love button tabs like that (I'm actually adding some to a dress at this moment. Ha! :)) This was such a great idea. I should follow your lead and figure out some way to re-use my wedding dress, but mine is sitting in a closet in my parents' house across the country...Someday, I guess. Wonderful job!

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  23. Congratulations! The dress is awesome, the color perfect! Good luck in the challenge!!!!

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