1980s turned 1950s refashion

I finished perfecting Eileen, and this weekend I put her to good use refashioning a dress I found at Goodwill. The dress fabric is quite pretty – a big floral print, cotton probably, looks sorta vintage. It has some nice lines too it too – princess seams and a six gore skirt. But the neckline of the dress – not so flattering. Here it is part way through the transformation process, after I cut off a good foot of the length (because tea length just isn’t for me).

[Sidenote: Do you spy the hem marker my mom sent me? Love it! It worked quite nicely, especially since this skirt is about a half circle if not more.]
I apologize for the shoddy photography. The photo above is at a kinda weird angle, but you can see it had a high neckline. The bodice also angled in slightly at the shoulders, kinda like a halter neckline. I think that kinda cut makes your shoulders look bigger, and I was definitely not a fan. Why do that at all on this dress? Oh, because it’s the 80s. Right.
So I spent some quality time with my seam ripper and removed all the facings around the neckline. Unfortunately, the neck facing was drafted together with the armhole facings, so those had to go too. Then I laid a piece of fabric over the bodice and drafted a new neckline onto it, used that as my new facing, ironed some fusible interfacing onto it, and sewed it right sides together to the dress. I also took the dress in a little at the princess seams because it was bustier than I. Hmm. I suppose I should have taken some photos of the whole process. But I was in a hurry! Isn’t that always the case. Here’s the new neckline:

Sigh. Much better. The sweetheart shape makes it feel more 1950s to me. Now all it needs is a petticoat to give the skirt some oomph. And a good washing. There are some spots I’m hoping will come out. Then again, maybe it’s better they don’t. That way, when I wear this dress to a summer barbecue and spill sauce all over it, I won’t be too sad. I’m not too invested in this dress because I only bought it as a favor for someone (explanation later). But, I am excited about this added bonus:

Pretty excess floral fabric. Hmm. Now what does this remind me of? Oh yeah!

Gertie’s beautiful rose dress, inspired by Joan, naturally…

and featuring appliqued roses, rescued from a vintage tablecloth.

I would love to put my flowers to a similar use. Maybe on a yellow dress? That would be a lot of fun.

Now the explanation. I bought this dress because a friend and fellow seamstress has asked me to be a model in a (very small) magazine ad for her (very small) vintage store. It’s an extremely low budget production, so low budget in fact that she asked if I had a dress I could wear under the apron, which is a featured item in the ad. What do you know, I found this dress the next day. I guess it was meant to be. The ad is supposed to be sorta pin up style, and I’m trying to prepare myself for possible humiliation because a) I am really no good at modeling, b) I have to style my hair myself!?, and c) we couldn’t even get a studio so we’ll be taking the photos in a rather public location. So if anyone has any tips for modeling, hairdos, and pretending that pictures in magazines are not in fact you, please let me know. Thank you!

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One comment

  1. That's lovely! Good luck with the ad… are you shooting it outside? Why not in a kitchen, since you're advertising an apron? Or you could be sitting at the dining room table sipping tea, perhaps with your hair in curlers.

    Like

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