Friday, January 25, 2008

Recycle, Remake, Rewear

Sissy wore this fabulous dress as the maid of honor at my wedding. Last weekend she gave it back to me. "I'm never going to wear it again, maybe you can make something out of it, like a pillow." As much as I appreciate her faith in my skill in remaking, I'm a little sad. Of course I know she's never going to wear the dress again--it is almost seven years old--but it's just a little sad that that dress won't exist anymore except in the photographs. Which is why I have a giant box of wedding dress stuck behind a chair in the bedroom--it doesn't fit anywhere else--I just have a hard time letting go of the material object.

So I turned to some of the craft books I bought recently, and bring you two short reviews based on whether they will help me remake this dress.

First up is Hip Handbags. Hip Handbags offers seven generic purse pattern with 3-5 variations--both sewing variations and fabric variations, as well as good solid instruction for using the patterns, choosing fabric, sewing and embellishing. Each bag is rated for its hipness, which is, ultimately, only a gimmick. The last few pages show "hip" artist-made bags which range from the sublime to the ridiculous. No instructions are given for these. The bag I would most likely make from this fabric is the clutch-style purse. Not sure if that's Sissy's style, though.

I next turned to New from Old: How to Transform and Customize Your Clothes. They offer three main categories: dying, embellishing, and remaking (turning a pullover sweater into a bolero, making a tablecloth into a skirt). The book contains much useful information for doing all these fabric tricks, but pages and pages about dying, four pages on dying underwear? At page 66 (of 144), I finally got to the kind of thing I was looking for. I did find two things I would definitely make for myself, including the bolero jacket from a sweater, which kept me from returning it. I find that people who do cross stitch and make greeting cards don't need much help in the embellishing area. I didn't find a particular pattern for turning a strapless, backless evening gown into anything, but I'll keep thinking.


Miriam said...

What immediately comes to mind is to ask a seamstress who does this sort of thing. I wouldn't have thought of that 'til I accidentally featured a seamstress on my blog who does this a lot. She made a clever bias chevron pencil skirt out of jeans. I don't know you'll find what you're looking for in a book with such an unusual, memorable dress.

Geggie said...

I dunno, I do kinda like the idea of a simple pillow for your bed, or the guest bed for when sissy sleeps over.

Isabelle said...

You could cut off the bodice, unpick the zipper, and make a skirt by adding a waistband which you could cut from the bodice, and putting in a new (shorter) zipper.
I don't know how long the dress is. If it's very long, you could chop off the bottom and make your waistband out of it. Which means you could still keep the bodice to make a bustier (to be worn on its own or over a white blouse, for instance), or a bag.

Anna van Schurman said...

Isabelle, it's floor length. Miriam, I'm not sure it's worth all that! Thanks for the suggestions.

Barbara said...

Sigh. It is a gorgeous dress and she looks stunning in it.

jo said...

It's a beautiful dress. Terrific color. I remember seeing them redo clothes like bridesmaid dresses - last year on Rachael Ray. But I don't remember exactly what they did. Sorry.