I bought this dress at a flea market in Amsterdam. It was a hand made faux wrap number with a buttoned down top section and a long zip placed in the centre of a side seam for entry and exit. The skirt portion was lined.
Most of the stuff on this stall was just piled in a heap on the floor with no one obvious in charge. My sister got fed up and sat down on a chair. She got asked several times how much things cost.
I noticed that better looked after on a rack were some horrible old seventies style track suits – surely these are not coming back in?
I was desperate to buy something and had a really long rummage. I was looking for a mainly white item with a reasonable amount of fabric so that’s why I picked up the dress.
Once I saw that it was handmade, that sold it to me, also the fact that everything on the floor was only 2 euros.
Once home and given a better examination the dress didn’t seem that great. The fabric, although pretty, was a kind of nylon crepe with a few pulls on the rear of the skirt – at least it had seen some wear. I don’t think I would have bought it in the UK.
When I refashioned this top a couple of years ago, I noticed how simple the design was and made a mental note to recreate it some time. That was the plan I had in mind for the Amsterdam dress, re-create this simple top from the skirt portion.
I unpicked the zip which had been sewn in by hand and cut the top part of the dress free from the skirt, this released a few pleats and the wrap. The best part of the fabric was underneath the faux wrap so I was going to use this as the front of my top.
I folded both white top and dress fabric and cut around leaving seam allowances. I was able to use the original neatly hand sewn hem of the dress as the new hem of my top.
The dress was made of panels and therefore had seams, which I placed to that they would be roughly in the position of princess seams on the front of the top.
I placed a dress panel seam at the centre back of the top so it could be opened later to make the neck closure.
I looked at the original to decide the order of work and first thing was to sew a small double turned hem around the arm holes, then the shoulder seams, then the side seams.
I decided to add a couple of open tabs at the sides.
For the cutting out, dress panel seam placement on the front of the top had been for symmetry, but although the ‘princess seams’ were not exactly in the right place, I was still able to use them to add a bit of shaping and improve the fit.
Finally, self bias binding finished the neckline, with one of the original buttons for the loop closure.
Washing, ironing and cutting into a new shape had done a lot for this fabric and I am quite pleased with the outcome. Its doubly satisfying to rescue someone else’s hard work from a pile on the floor and give it a new lease of life.
I picked up this dress and jacket at the same market – 2 euros for the set, because I liked the sunny yellow fabric and because it said ‘Amsterdam’ on the label. It looked either old or hand made – no washing instructions.
When I got it home, turns out it is an original 50’s or early 60’s piece, one label from the designer, one from the shop. Its made to fit someone with a 24 inch waist so never going to fit me, but now too good to refashion.