I have learned my lesson: before and after makeovers are much more impressive if you have a picture of Before.
I took the sleeves off my favourite dress last summer – despite the seams being both sewn and overlocked they were still coming adrift in places – and happily drafted a post about it. Only to find that I had no pictures of the dress from the four plus years I wore it avec sleeves. Despite wearing it probably twice a week, year round, all through that time.
Imagine this, only in a rich chocolatey brown. That’s what it looked like new, in August 2015. Now it looks… well, pretty much the same, only with different buttons, a faded shade, and without the sleeves. Plus a couple of patches and a partially disguised bleach stain. (The more you love a garment, the more changes it survives.)
I wear it over a collared shirt which I have been hoarding right through my Dresses Only years, certain that a) this day would come and b) I would struggle to find such a suitable shirt again. I was also delighted to find I could wear the dress sans shirt in the heat of summer, since the armholes fit closely enough not to gape inappropriately.
After that experience, I was prudent the next time serious sartorial surgery was called for. Before taking to the scissors, I took this photo. (Still not a full length photo, alas. I do have one, but it’s somewhat occluded by the garment I am wearing over the top.)
You can see the problem, can’t you? (Besides the lack of ironing.) I’ve patched this dress before, but a discreet round patch in the seam at the base of a zipper is one thing, and a patch right smack on the bodice is another. I was – for me – remarkably decisive. A pair of scissors, some wide elastic, and a few days later, and voila! the dress is now a skirt.
Actually, it wasn’t that simple. I had several goes at getting the waistband to work. The relative width of the elastic and the fabric above the pockets (of course it has pockets!) was the main issue, and not letting the waistband leave the hem uneven was another. Even now it’s probably a bit wonky, and certainly a bit wrinkly. But it works, and it’s wearable, and all I need now is more than one shirt to wear it with, because not every occasion is a Kung Fu Panda occasion (and the one hoarded shirt really doesn’t go with the skirt).
I can’t say I enjoy having sudden holes appear in my clothing, but I do like making the best of the situation and salvaging something wearable from the unwearable. And sometimes (as with my unexpected sleeveless summer dress) it could even be considered an improvement on the original.
What have you exercised your ingenuity to salvage lately? (And do you have before and after pics?)