One of the dresses was a favourite of mine that I wore and wore, probably 20 years ago! I know I bought it in Montreal when I lived there in the 90s. But despite the fact that it was too small and not really in fashion anymore, I couldn't give it away. I love the crinkle stretch rayon and the print, and always thought I should do something with it. I used to wear a lot of those long full skirted dresses and they do have quite a bit of fabric in them.
So I got it out this weekend and thought I'd probably be able to fit a top onto the skirt pieces. The sleeveless empire bodice is too small and has too many buttons and details to be able to use much of it but the skirt was perfect.
I tested out a couple of small cap sleeve top patterns to see what would fit. I finally decided on the Cap Sleeve Top from the recent book Print Pattern Sew by Jen Hewett.
While the pattern is made for a stable woven, this fabric is a bit stretchier due to the crinkle rayon it is made from. So when I cut it out, and graded out a bit at the waist to hem to give it more of a swing feel, I failed to account for the stretchiness!
It came out quite roomy. Fortunately the neckline and sleeves were fine, not very stretched out at all, but the body was quite full around the bust area. I really liked how the back fit, though, so wasn't sure I wanted to pull in the side seams in the bust area. I pinched out a couple of fish eye darts under the bust, wondering if that would work, but also wanted to be careful not to take any of the fullness out of the hip/hem area, which I really liked. As I was pinching the fabric I had a sudden idea and just brought the centres together on the front. I pinned it and then sewed one of the original dress buttons onto the join to hold it all together. I really love the effect!
And I still have 20 black buttons to use on other projects -- this dress was a motherlode of scavenged buttons -- four on the bodice front, 3 on the back, 2 spares on the inside, and a random button placket all the way down the right side seam with 12 more buttons! I am sorely in need of black buttons right now; my stash is depleted. So this was a great reuse in many ways.
I enjoyed this unexpected project and am so glad I can enjoy this pretty fabric once more. It's light and comfortable - the stretch and breathability are what I liked about it in its original shape, and the print is just so summery and lovely. I'll have to do more of this kind of thing!