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Forum > Creative Sewing > help Altering/Refashioning a long sack-like lace dress ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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help Altering/Refashioning a long sack-like lace dress
need simple, quick fixes!
mendospot

mendospot  Friend of PR
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Date: 7/24/14 0:35 AM

I have a nice April Cornell long dress with a long-sleeve lace overlay. The dress is shapeless and I look dowdy in it. I would love to make some simple changes to it to give it a little shape and updated style. I am a former hourglass figure who is peri-menopausal with the big tummy to prove it. I guess I'm a rectangle now. Anyway, the dress has no zippers, etc. I really like the fabric and would like to do SOMETHING with it! Maybe even shorten it to a tunic to wear with white pants. Ideas?
Cornell lace dress

sewbusy888
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sewbusy888
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In reply to mendospot <<


Date: 7/24/14 0:42 AM

the fabric and color is beautiful.

Would darts help to add shape?

I'm a fan of tunic-length conversions. Dresses 'frump me too

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gramma b
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gramma b
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Date: 7/24/14 6:55 AM

Several things to try-
Pin up the overlay on the diagonal towards one shoulder and see how it looks. A wavier, loose overlay will draw the eye up. Allover lace can look too mature and RTW often has partial overlays. Try a knee-length irregular hem.

Shorten to cap sleeves or make them swingy. Open up one side hem to the knee. Tie a scarf around to see if an empire waist would work. I made over a dated straight ankle-length thrift find by using the cut-off bottom for a more casual outside tunnel-waist with drawstring. When they recommend belting it always seems to emphasize a squarish waist, but a loosely tied woven/beaded belt on the hip works.

With the overlay out of the way, pin up some small diagonal pleats from under bust to 3/4 of the way to opposite hip for a tummy ruching effect. They can be sewn on the inside, or the outside for interest. If that works, then play with a partial overlay so the tucks show.

Lovely color, we await your makeover!

-- Edited on Today at 7:06 AM --

stirwatersblue
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Date: 7/26/14 4:34 PM

First, have you tried a belt? You may need to experiment with the type/width of the belt to see what shape works best. If a literal belt doesn't look right with the lace (it seems pretty formal) you can put in a sash or waistband instead.

Second, how about shortening the sleeves and opening up the neckline? That can *immediately* make something "dowdy" look more flattering!

This blogger remade a jersey dress with a lower neckline and it really made a big difference:
http://www.domesticanarchy.com/2011/12/slimming-neckline-makeover-make-it-sew.html
(Not probably the exact technique you want, but the idea is sound!)

Good luck!

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~Gem in the prairie

Mole Princess
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Date: 7/26/14 9:07 PM

The unpressed pleats I think I see at the waist would be difficult with the tummy issue, as would the at-waist waist seam. Maybe open up the waist seam, dart above it, raise the waist, and redo those pleats? Ideas: get rid of them in favor of a princess seamed skirt; or make the skirt flat over the tummy, with pleats to the side center, if that makes sense . . .

denise60s
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Date: 7/27/14 1:41 PM

Shorten the sleeves...cap, short or 3/4. Or remove them altogether? Take a look at Colette's "Moneta", for an updated gathered waist look. That style can be found in patterns for knits or wovens and is currently very popular with curvy sewers. Or... cut it off and make a skirt?
-- Edited on Today at 1:55 PM --

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GretchenB
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Date: 3/25/15 2:21 PM

I agree with the shorter sleeve. How about turning it into an empire style? Cut the bodice section off at the empire line plus seam allowance, fit it with darts, reattach skirt. Open the side seams and apply a zipper. This will shorten the dress an inch and a half. You can gather or pleat the skirt to fit the new circumference of the bodice.

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PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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In reply to mendospot <<


Date: 3/26/15 10:32 AM

Quote: mendospot
I really like the fabric and would like to do SOMETHING with it! Maybe even shorten it to a tunic to wear with white pants.


This is the only idea I like. As is, it reads "granny".

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

"Isnít it a shame in todayís world you canít tell the truth. If you tell the truth youíre abrasive. If you lie youíre charming." - Bob Huggins/College Basketball Coach

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to mendospot <<


Date: 3/26/15 11:56 AM

You could add vertical darts in front and back, and take in at the side seams to give the dress more shape. BUT ... depending on how much ease the dress has across the bust (e.g., loose-fitting or semi-fitted), you might be better off de-constructing the dress at all the seams and re-making it. The reason is the shoulder seam and armscye might be too large for it to look nice if you bring it in around waist & hips.

I think a tunic would be nice, too, and very much in style at the moment.
-- Edited on 3/26/15 at 11:56 AM --

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DolphinDancer30
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Date: 3/26/15 12:33 PM

How about a pegged lace pencil skirt with a kick pleat in the back? You'd have to de-construct the dress to get the yardage required. Wear it with a drape-y semisheer silk top in pure white. Give it some edge with a leather moto jacket.

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