sewing saturday! reconstructing a vintage lace dress

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This weekend, I desperately needed a dress for a friend's wedding (still sticking to my no new clothing rule for the summer), so I decided to dig into a pile of uncompleted projects and see what I came up with. This vintage green lace dress was what I found, a piece that was falling apart when a lovely lady gave it to me a month or so ago. She doesn't sew but didn't want to toss the ripped dress away, so she thought I may be able to reconstruct it a little and give it a new life. And this is what I came up with!

This is what the dress originally looked like..

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What you need for the project - a pair of sharp sewing scissors, measuring tape, and a sewing machine with matching thread. Optional - pinking shears, a proper seam ripper.

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First thing, I measured the dress to see what alterations I would have to make. Then, I cut the ripped lace sleeves and neckline off of the dress, leaving enough lace to sew over the top of the bodice as well as leaving the lace neckline edges (in order to make into a strap later).

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Afterwards, I sewed the lace to the top edges of the bodice. I then trimmed the skirt to the desired length.

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The next step was to adjust the waist and bust of the dress. Since the bodice zipped up the side and I was too lazy to remove the zipper and sew it back in again, I had to find another way to take the dress in rather than at the sides. There were two seams at the back of the bodice on the lace, so I decided to cut down the seams in the back and take it in that way. I sewed the back seams together about two inches in, then tapered off when I had hit the bottom of the waist to give a darted, almost flared look at the skirt.

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I trimmed the seams and leftover lace, pressed the seams flat, and cut the strap in two and knotted the ends. I then finished the hems of the skirt and lace overlay.

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That's all! What do you guys think?

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I wore this dress to my friend's wedding yesterday and loved it. One problem - the leftover lace edge I used as a strap is not at all durable, so I'll have to add a different one later on.. maybe craft one from the leftover skirt fabric and lace? Another option is to forget straps and add boning to the bodice. Not that I know how to add boning, but it'd be fun to try.

Next week's Sewing Saturday will be all about striped overalls.. and tomorrow marks the beginning of a shop sale!