When I was a grown up, living in London with a “proper” job, I often used to get invited to functions which required me to dress formally. And great fun it was too. Nowadays, I hardly get to change out of my flip flops, unless it´s into my wellington boots. I have a large suitcase full of some lovely evening wear which will most probably never see the light of day again. At least, not wrapped around my body, it won´t.
We do get invited to lots of weddings though, and formal attire here bears no resemblance to what I would have worn in London. Forget all thoughts of the Royal Wedding and think Gala Dinner and Dance or Cocktail Party. Long gowns, sparkly frocks, big hair. And when you stop to consider that most weddings here take place in the hot summer months, it can be hot work looking gorgeous.
I generally, well never to be honest, wear a full length frock. I go for cocktail length (i.e. on the knee for me) and it seems to work. Not too hot, but glamorous enough. I have also accepted that as the years pass, it´s best to try and cover up my “bingo wings” – those lovely flabby bits at the top of the arms that many of us girls become prone to. Ain´t getting old fun?!
Anyway, in a bit of a dressmaking mood, I remembered a lovely red strappy dress that I had tucked away and decided that it needed a makeover.
It was floor length, with spaghetti straps so I cut it to knee length and adjusted the new hem.
With the scraps of material that came off from cutting it down I cut out new sleeves. I made a muslin template with a sleeve pattern I had from making a dress a while back. Luckily I did the muslin version first as I had to make it slightly larger to accommodate the different sleeve shape.
I cut out the final version of the sleeves in velvet. The length of the sleeve was determined by the material I was working with, but I craftily used the hem of the dress to work as the hem of my new sleeves, saving me a little job.
I pinned the new sleeves round the straps.
Then I tacked (basted) them into place and removed the pins.
I sewed the sleeves in by hand, which also served to overcast the edges and then machine sewed the inside hems of the sleeves together.
That was it. The dress needs a good iron, but I´m sure it will now get to enjoy a happy second life at a party some time soon.