This sewing project began life three years ago as a Dorothy Perkins skater-style dress. It had a wrap-style bodice and a very full – nearly circular, I think – skirt. I wore it incessantly as a dress for a couple of years, until I had patched no less than five holes (four of which were in the centre front of the skirt!), the hem was stretched out of shape, and I decided it had probably served its purpose and it was consigned to the scrap pile. But I loved the fabric so much I couldn’t bear to get rid of it. I just didn’t quite know what to do with it.
Then I started sewing for my pregnant self and BOOM! I realised this dress’s second chance had come.
I chopped off the skirt first. Then I gathered up the front section and reattached the whole skirt higher up on the bodice, to make an empire line now with some strategic gathers in the front. Oh, and in doing this, I flipped the skirt back to front, so the holes that used to be in the front were now less noticeably in the back, and the back became the new front.
At this point, I could have worn it, but remember that it was a skater skirt and very full all the way around, including in the back. One thing I’m figuring out is that while I need some extra fabric at the front of my garments now, I don’t need it EVERYWHERE, and that getting rid of extra fabric where it isn’t needed is crucial to not feeling a tented blimp. So I re-seamed the side seams and the two back skirt seams to take in some of the fulness for a more gentle A-line shape everywhere but in the front.
What makes me really happy about this is that, aside from being able to tick off a sewing project (refashioning that dress) that had been niggling for a while, I also got to keep the features of the dress that I always loved. Namely, the lovely elbow-length sleeves, the neckline and bodice fit, and the bluey-green shade.
I used to think that maternity sewing wouldn’t be much fun. After all, you can’t predict what your body will look like as it changes, and a lot of the fun and easy stuff (like simple skirts and summer sundresses) seemed out of the question. And of course whatever you make you won’t be wearing very long. But once I started sewing for myself a couple of months ago, I realised that the short-term nature of these projects has actually made me feel more creative, because I’m not trying to strategise a garment that will last for years and fit perfectly with my existing wardrobe. It just needs to be something I like now, and especially when I’m refashioning old, or cheap, garments, it doesn’t require a lot of time or money, so if it goes awfully wrong there’s not much to lose.