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Butterick See and Sew B4956

August 7, 2012

Howdy.  Given my recent lack of ‘selfish sewing’ I thought I’d write about a dress I made a couple of times for Little Tweedie.  I made both dresses out of vintage dresses of my own: one which I never wore because it was too small, and one which no longer fits.

The red vintage dress is one I bought in Paris in a second-hand shop for the bargainous price of 10 euros.  I tried it on, and was able to zip it up, but I soon learned that just because a dress zips up does not mean it fits!

BEFORE: I don’t have a photo of me wearing the dress. Believe me when I say it was way too tight!

Despite it being in a second hand shop, it was actually new and still had the original tag.

The original tag

It was so beautiful that I could never bring myself to throw it away.  In particular I loved the applique work on the skirt.  So, for Little Tweedie’s second birthday I chopped into it and made it into a dress for her instead.  I had to be a bit creative with the layout in order to squeeze a whole new dress out of the existing one.  Age 2 dresses are not as small as you might think!  The fact that the original dress was so small (probably around UK size 6/8) and short did not help.  I had to retain the original princess seams and incorporate them into the front bodice of the new dress.  Unpicking them was not an option – there wasn’t enough fabric to take the piece from elsewhere.

The new front bodice piece, with the princess seams of the original dress still in evidence.

I could only just find enough fabric for the straps – you can see below I had to cut slightly smaller than required:

Squeezing the strap pieces in!

And I had to pinch out some of the fullness in the skirt pattern piece to fit as well:

Squeezing the pattern to fit the tiny amount of fabric!

I thought it was all going swimmingly until I realised I needed two bodice fronts and four bodice backs – because the bodice is lined.  I had to resort to using leftover scraps from other projects, and they too were barely big enough for the job:

The scrap wasn’t quite big enough to fit the pattern piece, but it was the best I could do!

Anyway, once it was all cut out it came together very easily, and the slightly smaller pieces/chopped off corners/princess seams did not make any difference in the end.  I had to use a black zip (the only one I had in my stash, cut out of some unwanted clothing), as the original zip that came with the dress was too long and also made of metal, which I wasn’t keen on.  Still, I was pretty darn chuffed with the finished dress:

The finished dress on the hanger

Little Tweedie wearing her new dress

I made another version of this dress for Little Tweedie a few weeks ago, using a green vintage dress I bought in Pop Boutique when I still lived in Manchester.  I LOVED the dress, and wore it on several occasions although never got a full length photo, but indulge me for a moment so I can show you two pictures of me wearing the dress:

Me with two of my longest standing friends – I hope they don’t mind me using this photo!

Me on my last day at work before leaving Manchester :-(

Sadly, in the past five years I have put on weight and the dress no longer fits, so again I decided to recycle the fabric by making another dress for Little Tweedie.  Because this dress had a gathered skirt and came below the knee, I had a lot more fabric to play with this time, which allowed me to make the other view of the pattern with fabric to spare!  Once again though I didn’t have enough fabric for the lining, so it was a case of raiding my scraps to see what I could find.  The most suitable in terms of colours was this Ikea fabric which I had previously used to make Little Tweedie some cot bedding.

The inside of the dress: Ikea fabric used as bodice lining

I was able to use the zip which came with the original dress this time, which I was very pleased about since I did not have a bright green zip lurking in my stash!

Inside the dress, back view with zip

Little Tweedie wore the dress to a party and it received many compliments, including “Could you make that dress in an adult size?”.  I had to laugh!

The finished dress – front view – on the hanger

And last of all, my gorgeous girly wearing the dress at said party:

What a cutie!

I really don’t have any regrets about cutting up these dresses.  There is no use in me hanging onto them in the vain hope that one day they might fit, and if Little Tweedie can get a year’s use out of them, that’s much better than them festering in the loft.  Plus, it makes me very happy to see her wearing the dresses because they are special, unique, and full of happy memories of the past.  And now they are making new happy memories for the future!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2012 1:09 pm

    Both of these mini versions are gorgeous. The print on the green dress though is to die for! Absolutely beautiful work. Love it!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 8, 2012 11:52 am

      Thank you! I also love the green fabric. So summery!

  2. August 7, 2012 5:47 pm

    Adorable! And great work using scraps and leftover zippers! You are inspiring me to cut out all the zippers from old clothes that I don’t wear anymore. : )

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 8, 2012 11:56 am

      Do it! They are sometimes fiddly to unpick but if it saves you a few quid then it’s worth it! I also save buttons, and the fabric itself if it’s pretty. Even if you don’t want to make a child’s dress with it you could always use it for bunting or a quilt or applique! :-)

  3. August 7, 2012 8:41 pm

    How utterly gorgeous! I would never think to make a little girls’ dress out of a woman’s one- you clever thing!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 8, 2012 11:53 am

      These are not the first dresses I’ve made from old ones of mine! It’s a good way to recycle :-)

  4. August 10, 2012 5:33 am

    Ahhh, they are both so gorgeous and look like expensive party dresses! . The green fabric is especially lovely. love them! x

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 10, 2012 5:59 am

      Thanks Minnado! :-)

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