Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My First Really Successful Clothing Reconstruction

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that my parents used to live in Nigeria for 7 years, and I bought an unseemly amount of fabric during visits there.

One of the happy by-products of living in Nigeria is that people gave them clothes as gifts. These clothes are traditional African wear, and are typically sized generously, since they are designed to be loose and unconstricting.

Much like me, my parents sporadically try to declutter, and they were trying to get rid of some of these clothes that they just don’t wear.

Enter me.

I firmly told them that I get the right of first refusal at all fabric flowing through the house, and made off with this generously sized top.

(Yes, that is me hidden behind the top.)

I wanted to reconstruct this into a simple shirtdress, and combing through the pattern stash, I found Simplicity 2885 that had the clean lines I was looking for.

And here it is, the finished result. I finished this about two week s ago, and I’ve already worn it out at least 2 times. I’m very happy with it.

Pattern notes: Because this was a recon, there’s a few things I changed or just omitted.
- I left out the collar.

- I didn’t bother with cutting/sewing the placket or facings, since that was already done in the top. I just cut the front piece so as to keep the placket in the center.

- Since I was keeping the neck and back facings, I abutted the front and back pieces and cut as one piece. (The shoulder slopes on the Simplicity pattern, and I did cut the slope, but slightly away from the neck facing so as to keep the neck facing.)

- My sleeves are slightly weird, since I wanted to keep the existing sleeve’s finished hem edge, and the Simplicity pattern has a curved hem edge, while my top didn’t. It is a bit weird, but not too much so.

Due to all these changes, it is hard to review the pattern instructions very well (for example, I didn’t use the most complicated part – the placket.)

However, I’m very happy with the pattern drafting. I made a size 10 gradated to a 12 at waist and hip. It runs true to size, and went together with no difficulty at all.

(Picture of the back.)


Summerset said...

Absolutely successful! You've done a great job with this dress! I love the way that you chose a simple pattern to preserve the ethnic print.

jules said...


Christina said...

I like this! And how lucky are you to have such a great selection of fabric to inherit.

Sew Shy said...

VERY nice! You've got me thinking. I might have to confiscate the tops my brothers and husband have but don't wear...

Misafir (Ruth) Geldi said...

Completely fabulous!