Like sewing? How about this?
I have a different type of DIY post for you today. I was so excited about this and since I spent a lot of time on this sewing project, I thought I should share it even though its different than my normal HOME-DIY. After all, I did get my roots in sewing dresses and clothes when I was young with my mom who taught me everything I know about sewing. Without any of our windows dressed, there will be a lot more HOME sewing projects to come so there is no need to worry. But for now, I had to take a little sewing detour. Yup…an emergency fashion detour for an upcoming wedding.
BLACK-TIE EVENT – Can I just wear a cocktail dress?
Often times when us gals buy dresses for cocktail parties, black-tie events, weddings, galas etc., we wear them once. I know, YIKES! If I can get a second event out of wearing a dress, I am thrilled with myself!!! These beautiful dresses are not cheap and don’t get me started on the problem in my closet!
My cousin was getting married in NYC right around Christmas. It was a black-tie event and because we were spending money on the trip and Christmas gifts all in the same month, I didn’t want to spend a whole lot on a dress for the wedding. Like I said, I had a lot of cocktail dresses laying around and I thought …hmmm, what if…..! Could a cocktail dress be converted into a gown for a black-tie event? HOLY S, YES it can!!!
Thinking it was possible, my head started spinning with ideas and the next thing you know, I found an inspiration gown online that had similar lines as to what I loved. My drawing is a design I loved and is by Black Halo found at Neiman Marcus.
This is totally my style and if I could afford this dress I would totally buy it. Lol. I love the side angle and the straight dress, but $690 at Neiman Marcus….Oh no can do on that!!!
NOTE: (I drew the inspiration Neiman Marcus dress; I didn’t want to use the Neimann Marcus image for copyright purposes)
What do you know, I just so happened to have a cocktail dress that had similar diagonal lines. It wasn’t completely off the shoulder as the inspiration pic, but I thought maybe I could actually make this similar.
My cocktail dress had sweeping pleats at an angle that came diagonally across the bodice of the dress. If I were to cut down the cocktail dress and make a straight ankle length skirt to go underneath, I might be able to pull off a 2 piece gown with similarities to the inspiration dress. I was a little nervous since this was NEW YORK CITY!. HMM, could I pull this of? Focus….Focus …. Press on…maybe! I thought hey if it didn’t work, there was enough time I could actually go out and buy a dress If need be.
The plan – 2 piece gown!
OK, design this thing!!!….A 2-piece gown:
- PIECE 1: my cocktail dress cut down at an angle like the inspiration dress top.
- PIECE 2: Making a straight ankle length skirt in a coordinating color and formal fabric- BUT EASY!
YES…MAYBE LIKE THIS?
Finding coordinating Fabric
I got started on it right away by finding fabric at Joanne Fabrics for the ankle skirt I was going to make. I didn’t want it to look cheap so I bought some pretty expensive material. $30/yard….used my 50 percent off coupon with an extra 20 percent off of that. I got 2 yards for about $25 WOHOO!!!!! The material was stretchy and had a satin/leathery look. It is hard to describe but beautiful and I knew the purple color would blend beautifully with the wine color cocktail dress. Having a stretch material would be ideal because it meant no zipper would be necessary and possibly no waistband would be needed. A stretchy fabric would allow me to pattern it like one of my stretchy pencil skirts but make it floor length.
How to make an ankle length stretch skirt- EASY
FIRST I MADE A PATTERN
Here is how I did it:
- I laid a black pencil stretch skirt that I know fits me well, on top of doubled cheap knit fabric.
- I traced around the pencil skirt onto the pattern knit fabric.
- Because the pencil skirt is only knee length I had to continue marking the pattern to ankle/floor length.
- I cut out the marked knit fabric to use as a pattern.
- Once cut, I pinned both pattern pieces together on the sides to try on.(The seams of the skirt will go down each side. On one side, I pinned only halfway down to allow for a slit)
- Once I got the pattern pinned up, I tried it on to see if it fit ok and as best as I could tell…..YES it DID! but OUCH! :0 lol
- I even went as far as basting on each side of the pattern material to REALLY SEE FOR SURE. When I tried it on again that was the true test that the pattern would work.
MAKING The ‘SATINESQUE’ SKIRT
Ok here goes:
- I placed the knit fabric pattern over the ‘Satinesque’ material.
- I cut the skirt SATIN fabric around the pattern. I repeated what I did to make the pattern and sewed both pieces of satin fabric together(right sides together of course) having 2 seams on either side just like the pattern.
- I only sewed halfway down one side to allow for a slit on the side of the skirt just like the pattern.
- I altered the skirt so the hip seams and sides were very smooth.
- To my surprise, I did not need a waistband due to the stretch satin fabric and since it would be covered with the formal top portion of the gown.
Cocktail Dress Altered Into A Formal Top
Altering the cocktail dress into a formal top….meaning the TOP of a 2 PIECE GOWN!!! WOOHOO. Tailoring didn’t take as long but was definitely trickier!
- To tailor it, I pinned it on an angle where I wanted the top to fall around the hip leaving at least an inch for the hem.
- I ironed the hem well once I had a correct placement. This is where a form would have come in handy instead of constantly trying it on. 🙂
- I then cut the cocktail dress down at the same angle the swooping pleats were moving. I Pinned it, ironed it, and then hemmed it by hand.
I also didn’t like the shoulder of this cocktail dress very much. I liked the flower but I didn’t like the ribbon looking piece under the flower. It’s cute but sort of reminded me of winning a ribbon for a race. UGH! HA….so I took it out!!!
- I wrapped the ribbon bottom half around the flower and sewed it in place leaving a little leaf. YAY, gone!
Combining the 2 pieces into a gown
The skirt fabric was very different from the cocktail dress but went well because it was in the same color family.
- I took that “satinesque” skirt fabric and brought a piece up to the top and around the flower that was around the shoulder.
- By doing this, the skirt fabric, and the cocktail dress looked like it was all one piece even though I did not attach them together.
DRESS IS DONE !!!
See us celebrating!
ACCESSORIES and cost breakdown
I just happened to have shoes that I had worn to another event that matched nicely….once again in the same family of colors. I bought a velvet wine colored bolero from Ross for about $20.00 (Calvin Klein woohoo). So ALL IN ALL I spent 45$ for the ENTIRE ENSEMBLE!!!!! AWESOME! After I finished, I sent a picture to my sister( who will always tell me an HONEST yay or nay) and she gave it a thumbs up! Only then did I I know it was a winner. You always NEED someone like that!
Since I did not attach the 2 pieces of the gown, the formal top can also be worn with leggings and heels for a ritzy night out that does not require a dress or gown. So its possible I could get a 3rd use out of this cocktail dress!!
I am so happy that I took the time to try this! If your mind is like mine where you can’t sleep until you implement (lol), have the confidence to tap into it and just do it!! You may surprise yourself in what you are capable of. The idea of converting a cocktail dress into a gown seemed hard, but after details started coming together, it wasn’t! Oh boy did this help our budget for the weekend!!!!:) I loved the dress that I fashioned and I hope this idea inspired others. Can you imagine how nervous I was to bring this dress to NYC! Ha….it worked out! I never told anyone that I made it; Well, now they know. Hehe!
Until our next project…..and probably from the hubs. Leave a comment!!! I would love to hear what you think!!!
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OVER THE MOON PARTY #161
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