I was given this dress as a present because I had asked for charity shop items to refashion.
It’s per una by Marks and Spencer, a label I was quite fond of in the days when I mostly went to shops to buy new clothes, fabric was 100% linen, made in Turkey, I really liked the colours.
The fit wasn’t too bad and I considered just shortening it but the before photos convinced me otherwise.
My daughter had said when she handed it over ‘I thought you could make it into a skirt’
I must confess I am a little reluctant to be told what to do, even by my own family, and wondered if I could attach a new top section and keep it as a dress.
However, the current design consisted of several bias cut panels, sewn together in a sort of twisted arrangement, which produced a nice drape. Changing the top section may have been too much to handle, so a skirt it was.
The first cut was to lop off the top section. I made this high because the second cut was another strip to make a waistband.
I cut another strip off to make the waistband out of, choosing where to cut by where the seams holding the panels together had fallen.
There is a skirt which I use as a ‘gold standard’ for length and waist measurements.
By laying the two side by side it was clear that the waist needed to be a little smaller, but how to sew the seam exactly? Wishing to minimise any effect on the width and drape of the hemline, I used the full adjustment at the waist and tapered to meet the original seam halfway to the hem.
I cut a piece of thin cotton with no stretch to use as interfacing for the waistband and inserted a zip and button closure into one of the side seams.
The zip wasn’t an invisible one. I like to use the method here which involves sewing the zip in with the seam closed then ripping it open to expose the teeth.
And a couple of photos of it being worn on a recent trip to Milan.