Black and cream vintage-y reconstructed dress

So in order to tackle a project I really need to think it through. Below are all my little notes and such that I made before I made the dress above. While not a fully fleshed out tutorial it give a good idea of the process.  This starts with sketches and a plan.

Stuff needed
  • 4 buttons (possible to snatch off bottom of shirt)
  • Small (10 in x 10in) Scrap of thick black fabric
  • Loose fitting man’s shirt
  • 2.5 yards black cotton fabric (I will use a strippy kind)
  • Black thread

Equipment needed

  • Pins
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • Dress Form*
  • chalk
  • Butterick 5001 (for the skirt part) Or any mid calf stretchy skirt pattern

Master Plan

  1. Make the skirt from the pattern
  2. Take the loose fitting dress shirt, and place inside out on the dress dummy, tack down the side seams and center front with pins and tape so it doesn’t shift around.
  3. Press the shirt firmly down the boob and use a spare piece of elastic to test how it will fall when you cut off the bottom.
  4. Pin any darts in the back and fiddle with gathers needed for the girls, mark all with chalk including marking the cut line all the way around.
  5. Take the shirt off the dummy, clean up the cut line and cut the bottom off the shirt 1 inch below the cut line.
  6. Sew in any needed darts and put back on the dress form. Check and mark places for gathering etc. Then put the shirt on the dress form inside out
  7. Tape the skirt to the dress form
  8. The drappy middle bit is going to be two layers. One for the ruched effect and one for structure. Measure from the waist of the skirt to the bottom of the shirt all the way around. Average out the numbers and divide in half. Add .5 inch seam allowance. Cut from black knit fabric. Now add 50% to 100% more to the height of those pieces and also cut out of the Knit fabrick… this will be the outside.
  9. Next Sew the sides of the tall bits together gathering along the side till it is the same height as the short bits.
  10. Sew the short bits together.
  11. You should have to tubes at this point.
  12. Next match up the short tube to the bottom of the shirt. With the right side of the tube facing the wrong side of the shirt. Match up the sides and center (front &Back) then pin. Next match up evenly about 2 inches of matertial from the sides to the center front. Stretch and pin the remaining knit fabric along the front of the shirt, careful to remain even on both sides.
  13. Take off the dress form.
  14. Take the ruched up band and with the right side of the band facing the right side of the shirt pin it to the bottom of the shirt making a sandwich… match up sides and stretchy bits to the short band.
  15. Sew to the bottom of the shirt, being sure to stretch when needed with a .5 inch seam allowance.
  16. Flip bands down. You should have a nice finished edge at the bottom of the shirt and all the sides should match up.
  17. With the right side of the top facing the right side of the skirt, match up the sides and pin and sew first at the .5 inch mark. Then again at the .2. inch mark for a nice strong waist. Flip up seam and tack to top
  18. Embellish the front with 2 button frogs made from the extra shirt bits and scraps. Possibly use shirt scrap fabric to embelish the skirt.

*Optional if you have a friend help with the fit part

 And this is how it turned out

This turned out to be quick work and next time I will more closely follow the plan. I am happy with the result but it could be even better. This was a 1.5 – 2 hour project.

I was inspired by these looks from the 30’s.