Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Old Brown Dress Reborn

For quite some time I have been saving old clothing that was too nice to either toss or donate. Periodically I will take things out of the closet and think about  how I could rejuvenate these tired old garments. This is one of my first pieces of repurposed clothing, and I had so much fun creating this piece that I can't wait to make more.
An old drab dress is turned into amazing piece of wearable art. Great DIY project.
  I started with a very drab, dowdy looking brown dress that was made in a cotton lycra knit. After dyeing the dress a darker shade of chocolate brown, I chopped off the bottom of the dress. Next I took the side seams apart so that the dress would lie fairly flat .

I had enough fabric left to cut small godets, triangular shaped pieces, to insert in each seam to give the skirt a little more flare. I printed these with my stencil in a coral color.

Back Detail
Next I used my Fuchsia Stencil on the front and back center panels of the dress. I mixed an orchid pink and a coral rose color for the flowers, and I used a taupe colored metallic paint for the leaves and the scrolls.
      This is the beginning of the stencil process on the front and the back of the dress.
     After the stenciling was finished, I heat set all of the painted areas with a hot iron for 3 minutes. Then the garment is washable in cold water.
     I sewed the godets into the princess seams of the dress and then sewed up the side seams.
     The last step was to finish the sleeves and the hem. This is a technique called lettucing. I once worked with a designer in Canada who was very fond of this technique, so it is probably one of the techniques that I will never forget how to do.       You simply use a zig-zag stitch close to the edge of the fabric, and then continue going around the hem stretching it a little more each time so that it stretches out. I went around mine three times. It works beautifully on either knits or bias cut fabric.      
     This project  took me a total of eight hours to complete. Instead of using that old brown dress cut up as cleanign rags or some equally mundane purpose, I have a new piece of clothing that is fun, colorful, and clearly represents my personal creative style. Now maybe it is time for you to go rummage through your own closet and see what forgotten treasures await you there.


Karen said...


norma said...

Amazing! You should take a picture of you wearing it.

Jackie said...

that is totally amazing!

ann said...

This is FABULOUS! It would have taken me at least 80 hours to decide what to do. Congratulations on a GREAT new dress.

A.Sproule said...

Thank you everyone for your kind comments. The dress took me about eight hours start to finish once I had dyed it.

orkaloca said...

the new dress is wonderful. great work!

Sandy said...

Hi April,
This is gorgeous. I am teaching a City and Guilds unit on applied pattern (basically surface design). I am going to send the students to this post to give them an idea of what can be done with the experiments they are p;aying with.
It would be great to see more of what you come up with.

Have you seen this site http://sassyfeet.com/ They use Lumiere to refashion shoes. You could do some shoes to match!
Sandy in the UK

Robin said...

That turned out beautifully!

lyric said...

I'm totally inspired - what a lovely piece of wearable ART you've created. It makes me feel like we could save the world if we all did something similar. If not by keeping trash out of the landfills - at least by putting such big smiles on everyone's face that ... well. The world would just be a better place!

Monica said...

that is one of the best re do's i have seen. What paints did you use?

francyne said...

Stunning remake. No one would ever know that this dress is recycled. Congratulations.

Susan Purney Mark said...

Fabulous work, thank you for sharing!

Lisa said...

Wow, that dress is fabulous! What an improvement to the original. May I ask, what kind of fabric paints you used?

Janice m said...

What a lovely result! I've been trying to dye some old clothes new again and not had much luck.........what dye did you use?


Gisela Towner said...

OMG!! That is so cool.
I love, love, love it!
You make me want to go digging in my closet and giving it a go.

Frieda said...

I love this dress, and would love to wear it. You did a beautiful job and I know you enjoy wearing it.