1980's Dress Upcycle Into High-Low Ruffle Skirt
Updated: Jul 11
If you want to skip the blah, blah, blah and get to the Upcycle/Refashion pictures, hop on the South-Bound Scrolling Train! ...you'll get there I promise!
How Did I Get Here?
In the relatively short time I have been in Quarantine, my life has Eva-lved yet once again.
My Many Eva-lutions over 35 Years :
(In Bold is me, as a Mom going foward to today)
Biology Major/Journalism Minor
Journalist San Francisco Newspapers
Pharmaceuticals Sales and Management
Inventor x's 2 Children's Products
Copy Editor Inventor's Magazine
Costume Rental Business Owner
Me, age 35, on local news for my inventions
Following Me--The Pong Ball
Yep, many hats over the years. I can kind of see the line between all my professional phases--it's supposed to be an average line on the graphs right?
I see my following themes:
2x's Science, 2x's Event Planning, 5x's Writing, 5x's Innovation,
and 1x's very long Mothering : )
Aside from Mothering, which trumps all my life-time occupations, innovation and writing rise to the top. Interesting, because that's not what I went to college for...I was supposed to in the medical field.
Why am I not in the medical field? Suffice it to say, undiagnosed ADDH...a detriment to the rigors of intense studies in medical school, but a well-fueled rocket ship to creativity.
Me, 27 years old, working in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Please forgive that I will be omitting the many details of during and in between each of my etapes.
If I diverge, we'll be here a very long time and I will never get to May 30th 2020 and my most recent endeavor: blogging collaborations. But if you follow my posts, you will see my unveiling over time, as I have already started in my blog posts before this.
The purpose of presenting my Curriculum Vitae is more about self-observations as a thought bubble...that our lives can meander professionally into different tributaries bringing you to where you are really meant to be.
And quarantine was the rock in the river that bent water for me to pursue blogging wholeheartedly.
Quarantine--A Pole Vault
Quarantine pole-vaulted my blogging, specifically about upcycling and refashioning clothing.
I say specifically because I was already 'turtle-pace' blogging about DIY costuming, albeit not frequently because I was busy and exhausted with the mechanics of a costume rental business.
My 7-days a week business rigors included a precarious balancing act of emails, inventory, deliveries, pick-up's, laundry, new costume production, repairs, finances, social media marketing, and much more, All Day Long.
Racks and racks of costumes being delivered
So give the costume lady some time to rest, and think....and recover her dry, cracked and scabbed finger tips from incessant sewing, from a frantic pace of meeting growing demand.
Three weeks of forced Quarantine? she's out in the garden to freshen the mind and loosen up knots of cranial stress--her kind of sanatorium.
Convalescing with a 'Zen' prescription to pull stubborn weeds, she realized that it was time to push out of her crysallis to reinvent herself yet once again, into a Upcycler/Refashioner.
Me, altering my own clothes
She blogs about her creations, reaching out to many other style/fashion bloggers, which leads to a network of even more bloggers, until she lands herself an invitation to a group of mid-life women who are looking for member #7 for their blog series Match Made in Seven.
And number 7 was her! or me, or she?!.......'twilight zone'-ish
Well maybe not trolling...
I have been following midlife women's fashion blogs for quite some time now--4 years maybe 5 years? I subscribed to so many blogs because I was just interested in seeing mid-life women enjoying their lives, notwithstanding, through the filters of a blog.
Their stories gave me promise that there was something out there for me at a time when I was 45, 46, 47 and now 48 year old woman, into the future...........that at 50, it won't just stop, if I am lucky health-wise...........that there's something amazing to look forward to....complete freedom of restraints of a younger self, who was inexplicable conscious of herself in a world of judgement.
Of note, a particular, warm and inviting group of women have ushered me into the world of blogging, shepherding me through the first self-doubts of a seemingly daunting work genre.
One woman who gave me the confidence to pursue this new passion of mine, was Nancy Baten, of Nancy's Fashion Style, a 50+ Dutch personal style blogger with a passion for fashion. And when she says fashion, she means fun and stylish and spirit and color and life! Click on her link below and learn more about her:
Although Nancy stands alone in her own personal blogging, she has shown me how valuable it is to collaborate not just for financial reasons--most these women do their blogging as an artistic release, as do I--but for a sense of community. Because being a content creator can be lonely and we can fall prey to blogging ruts.
One collaboration Nancy and 5 other women are part of is called Match Made in Seven. The concept is simple, but encourages thinking outside one's own personal styling rhythm. It's not competitive, just a fun new way to look at one's closet.
Every month one of the members suggests a fashion theme for the following month. During that month prior, each woman curates a fashion style to celebrate that theme.
So much fun!
Only issue, MMIS was missing their 7th member...I knew of the vacancy and applied--and they accepted me!.
Before I tell you about my 1st month MMIS challenge, let me introduce the 6 other brilliant, lovely ladies I get to create with.
Introducing the ladies:
From Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
Darlene of Aqua Marina Style
Debbie of Debbie Styles Life
Emma of Style-Splash
Me, Eva of Style My Thrift
Nancy of Nancys Fashion Style
Bettye of Fashion Schlub
Anna of Mutton Style
For my 1st month as member #7, Debbie of of Debbie Styles Life suggested the book, movie, play "Steel Magnolias"
That's when I panicked. Yep, panicked.
Debbie would not release her thoughts on this, as she reminded me this is about our own interpretation--no explanations needed.
These ladies are cut-throat!
no training wheels, or ski poles, or Cliff-notes,
or sneaky googling for answers
This challenge makes me think more like the Food Network show "Chopped"..........you know, the show where they give you the mystery ingredient like clams for a dessert or Captain Crunch cereal for a chicken dish.
Thankfully nothing that dear to me, besides my reputation as a textile Upcycler, is on the line for these challenges.
FYI: although the other women in my group are not Upcyclers, the theme can still be equally challenging as they look into their existing wardrobes to create a look.
WWED? What Would Eva Do?
Just like my meandering presentation of my Ciriculum Vitae earlier on this post, just try to follow my logic on how I chose this dress below to Upcycle.
I know, I know...
What was I thinking?
Without waxing poetic here, because you know I can, let's get the Elephant out of the room.
Whoah, what a douzy of a dress! I call this one:
I wonder if Franken-Style will ever become the hottest Pinterest trend. I doubt it. But because of the lack of hanger appeal, and even less so on the body, I scored this dress for about $2.19.
No, no one was fighting with me at the thrift store to claim this lucky find, because no one had Beer-Googles on like me to see past the rigidly structured, lopsided, armor-like shoulder pads, sappy drop sash, and drop-waist pleated skirt.
Truth is, I don't drink beer, but I do know lovely silk fabric when I feel it. Plus the mint green and white paisley print was really pretty--something so similar I saw on a Pinterest 'it girl'.
The dress had been hanging on my To-Upcycle rack for quite some time. I just did not know what to do with it until a little inspiration via Debbie of the MMIS.
When Debbie of of Debbie Styles Life, chose 'Steel Magnolias' as the styling theme for June, I actually had a different upcycle in mind. I wanted to upcycle a puff-sleeved Scott McClintock Dress.
Then, I realized this lovely dress was all wrong for this challenge.
Puff sleeves are iconic of the early 80's.
Shoulder Pads started coming in full force 1989.
Steel Magnolias movie came out in 1989--when I was a Senior in high school! I most definitely was NOT wearing puffed sleeves back then. But as a young lady, on her way to college?----my shoulder pads were on!
When I watched the movie again, I confirmed puffy sleeves styles had faded, and fore fronting at the wedding scene were ultra-feminine fabrics like chiffon and silk, with subtle prints.
And that's how I chose this mint-ice cream Franken-dress.
Admitting to Creative Constipation
I have to admit, I was a a little challenged as to what I could create from my thrifted matronly dress.
Somehow making a dress from a dress did not appeal to my creative senses this time around.
Maybe because my last two upcycles were 'dress from dresses'.
My most recent upcycle
When I started to play with the delicate silk fabric--a stark contrast to the football shoulder scaffolding--I noticed the material draped and rouched nicely. I picked up a corner here, and then picked up a corner there.
Draping is allowing fabric to fall with a scallop.
Rouching is gathering fabric.
Playing around with the fabric, an idea popped into my mind!
I have always adored creations by designer Johanna Ortiz.
Johanna Ortiz's esthetic, in my opinion, is clothing envelopment with luciousness through puffs, layers, ruffles, draping and rouching--all with silks and other fine yielding fabrics--executed in an uncanny, modern, appealing, and ultra-feminine way.
Since I am not able post photos from other websites, I can post a link to the Joanna Ortiz collection at Neiman Marcus, and you can check her style out.
+ Steel Magnolia
Why not take this silly dress and convert it into a romantic skirt!
...not just any skirt,
but wrap-sash, front-side, high-low style with a nod to the coquette-ish vintage Victorian bustle.
Ok, I get it--way too confusing. So let's get going with the Upcycle, and you will see for yourself that I am not crazy...maybe just a little adventurous with my style ; )
LET'S GET STARTED!
Drop the dress neckline around the waist and determine where there is fabric for sash.
Chalk in new waistline.
Remove drape and SAVE for later use.
Create 'a-line' skirt silhouette.
Re-attach pleated ruffle layer back onto skirt base and trim off all excess fabric.
Gather extra scraps to make Sash.
Measure how much length needed to wrap around dress. (I had enough to go around twice for a wrap effect.)
Cut as many strips of fabric as you can!
Cut enough 'inter-facing' for the waistband. (I used scrap stiff white linen folded over.)
Sew them all together.
Baste white strip inside fabric strip.
Press edges under to create a clean seam which will open up to the waistband of the top, raw edge of the skirt.
Fold over and press.
Attach Waistband/Sash with pins to hold.
Sew along waistband to back zipper.
Remove baste stitch. (This is why I used yellow--easy to see and take out!)
Fold excess sash fabric back onto itself--print side facing each other.
Sew down both sides of tube leaving opening at dress border.
Step back and take a look.
it's Eva's Gold Star time!
Even though the skirt is a marked improvement over the dress, and I could wear it as is, I want to elevate the style and take it from matronly to the Tuilieres garden pathways!
Now for the craziness I alluded to before:
...high-low, side front-side, high-low style with a nod to the coquette-ish vintage Victorian bustle.
Turn skirt inside out.
Hand baste stitch left front side.
Pull baste thread and ruche/gather fabric.
Stand back and look at the end result!
Pat on the Back!
Gold Star time again!
Oh My Bustle is Done! Swoon!
...the style is so inline with my latest obsession Moda Operandi styles and Johanna Ortiz.
So after a bunch of work on making a great sash, I did not end up tying the bow in the front because it was just too much making the final style so messy, sloppy and like one big mistake.
When I go this far in an Upcycle and get nervous I might not be able to achieve what I want, it's a horrible feeling---so far it's never happened to me. Knock on the pine wood table I am typing on.
My nerves quelled with a couple sips of red wine, and decided to style the bow in the back, resulting in a polished, intentional look. Phew!
Betcha wondering how this looks on? I KNOW you are dubious. And it might not even be your taste...that's ok!
But when I started styling myself at 16 years old, that's when I beat to my own drum!
LET'S GET TO STYLING!
I just love the way it turned out!
Links to Other Dress Upcycle Posts:
(Temporarily, all links take you to the original place of creation www.CostumeTakeOut.com until all blog posts can be transferred to this website. When all blog posts are transferred to www.StyleMyThrift.com, links will not take you to my 1st website.)