Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wherein Style Spy Makes Like Baldrick

If that reference is lost on you, I provide you with this to help you out. (If the reference isn't lost on you, it's just a little extra entertainment for the day. You're welcome.)




HAH!

At any rate... I have a cunning plan. (Which I hope is less far-fetched, fraught with complication and destined for doom than Baldrick's.)

I have, and have had for a while, this dress:







It's actually quite pretty, but it is not very me. I've never worn it. I bought it in a fit of bargain fever quite a while back, so not only is it not me, it's also not fitting me anymore. I could put it on eBay or maybe take it to a re-sale shop, but the lace is nice, and we are all about the lace this season. And so? I have a cunning plan...


(So sorry -- my Photoshop skills are extremely rudimentary.)

I figure I can cut down the skirt and the lining to make it a fitted sheath, and use some of that spare fabric to make wider straps. I'll also have to dart the bodice a little to bring it in, but the waist is a pretty good fit and I think it's do-able. The zipper on this dress is on the side, so it's going to be a tiny bit tricky because I can't start bringing in the side seams until below the zip. And I think I'm going to have do do away with a layer -- there's three of them on this thing (lace, underlayer, and lining), and that's too much bulk for a shape this fitted.

Lastly, there's the matter of the Bazooka gum pinkness of the thing. No matter how sharp the silhouette of a dress, if it looks as though it was made of the frosting on a My Little Pony birthday cake, it's not sophisticated. So I plan on dying it. I've bought two boxes of Rit -- one purple & one navy. I'm hoping that the two of them together will result in a dark, dusky purple that I think would be gorgeous. The fabric of the dress is 50% cotton/30% acetate/20% nylon, and the lining is all acetate. I think this will take dye pretty well.

Oh, and by the way? The little ribbon rosette belt is going no matter what. If the purple color works the way I want it to, I'm thinking about a metallic gold belt instead.

My dilemma is -- which thing do I do first? Do I make the alterations and then dye the dress, or try to change the color first and then do the sewing? I worry that if I sew after I dye I'm going to have purple dye coming off all over me while I work with it. But I also don't want to spend all the time it's going to take to do the alterations and then not have the color work. Anyone have any advice here?








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6 comments:

Stephanie said...

I would dye it first and wash it a couple times to make sure all extra dye is out. If it's going to come off as you work on it, then it's going to come off as you wear it too, and it's better to know that right away in the privacy of your own home rather than shaking hands at a cocktail party.

Anonymous said...

I say dye the belt first to see if the color takes. If so, do the stitch work then the full on dye job.

Duchesse said...

You've got reno fortitude! In my experience if the dress is more than two sizes smaller, this much alteration is a challenge even for a skilled dressmaker. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

madame suggia said...

Nonononono! Please don't try to re-shape the skirt-it's a 1/4 circle (or similar)and it won't work unless you take off the entire skirt and basically re-cut it as a straight/pencil skirt. The grainlines will be off, the side zipper will be a NIGHTMARE. You could of course make it into a bubble hem...shorten the lining by about 3" then gather the lace & underlayer up to meet the new bottom edge of the lining. Pin it first to see if you like the effect before you chop the hem off. As for the dyeing, personally I'd dye it first (if you must) before altering...but have you considered a black grosgrain sash for the waist, maybe add a twinkly jet brooch or something and wear with mad-Men style wicked black shoes? Just a thought....

madame suggia said...

OHG, I've just seen the fabric content. Please don't dye it, it will look like s**t. Sorry to be so blunt, but the fibres won't take the dye well AT ALL...it'll come out all patchy and vile. I wouldn't lie to you!

Cynthia said...

Dying will be problematic - since the lace and the lining are different fibers they will almost certainly not end up the same color. But if you must make the attempt, throw the RIT out and go to Dharma Trading, they have better dyes and better color selection and tons of information on how to dye properly.