grey cotton sundress "before" I was so in love with this dress when I first got it… although  the high waist never sat right, the knotted spaghetti straps were beyond annoying and the “tie up/let down” parachute-y skirt always untied itself unevenly to create a sort of banshee-castaway look. Plus it was pretty long. And the elastic thread in the smocking lost its elasticity after about five minutes.

Add to that the fact that it didn’t layer up very well (thus was useless in colder weather, which makes up about 60% of the year).

So it didn’t get as much wear as it might have.

Prime for re-loving, I thought. It was easy to decide what to do with it, thankfully. I couldn’t (maybe didn’t want to) really recreate it as a dress without needing new material, which would have spoiled it for me. I love the skirt tied up (as opposed to down as a straight almost-maxi dress), so I would sew it up – no more silly ribbons coming undone of their own accord. My next favourite feature was the part-jersey part-woven waist where the smocking ends. That would make a great waistband. I tried it on to determine the length, having decided already that the waistband should sit on my waist (why do most skirts seem to sit on the hips? Not a good look for me). The fastening was decided when I found an unused zipper in my sewing box and the rest is history…

Wonky. Voluminous. Awesome. To me, at least. :)

OK… here’s the steps I took:

  1. Measured desired final length (with ribbons tied up), waistline to hem
  2. Added a pin (horizontally) at this point, let the skirt down, took the measurement from the pin to the hem. Added pins using this measurement all around the new waistline
  3. Cut the skirt off using the pins as a guide. Gathered the waist about 1cm down using long stitches, leaving a space of about 10cm at the centre back
  4. Cut a slit in the centre-back gap and added the zip (I tried to make it invisible and failed. Normally a zip is added in an existing seam before it is finished but I had to create a seam for it instead. But it still looks kinda cool. Check out youtube for good zip-insertion tutorials)
  5. Cut the waistband (length = my waist measurement plus 2cm for seam allowance, height = width of finished band (5cm) x 2 plus 2cm seam allowance). Pressed 1cm in on all sides. Folded in half and pressed.
  6. Added the waistband – aligning the short edges with the zip, folding it over the gathered skirt to enclose the raw edge completely. Pinned in place & stitched by hand (I had a quick try on the machine, the jersey went crazy – very fine and very stretchy)
  7. Added a hook & eye on the inside, above the zipper to finish.

Whaddya think?