From Strappy Long Dress to Mid Sleeved Cocktail Dress

10 May


Long and Strappy



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.

Short and Sleevey


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.

Getting those sleeves right

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.

...and sewn!

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.


7 Responses to “From Strappy Long Dress to Mid Sleeved Cocktail Dress”

  1. florence and freddie May 10, 2011 at 22:47 #

    Whose a clever devil then!!! It looks great.
    Regards Florence x

    • chicaandaluza May 11, 2011 at 08:13 #

      Thanks Florence – just looking for an opportunity to float around in it now!

  2. fatisrecipes May 15, 2011 at 01:12 #

    Wow, you’re so talented!! 😀 I hope I can learn to do that one day… 🙂
    Thanks for popping by… I just checked out your blog and it looks really interesting… I LOVE Spain and really can’t wait to go there some day. My father lived there for about 6 months. He still tells us of stories he encountered, how he knew little Spanish and used his own translations to try and get a message across… heheheee….

    • chicaandaluza May 15, 2011 at 07:46 #

      Hi there (Fatima possibly? If so, it was “your” day here on Friday, so ¡Felicidades!) and thanks so much for your lovely words. Spain is definitely worth a visit, and your father sounds rather like me when I first arrived..lots of mistakes and lots of giggles. Loved your blog too, so will be keeping an eye on what you post. Take care!

  3. Olga SE May 17, 2011 at 17:13 #

    It’s great to be able to sew, isn’t it? My life has changed dramatically since I learned to. Your dress is beautiful in both variants. 🙂

    • chicaandaluza May 17, 2011 at 17:33 #

      Thanks for stopping by Olga and for your kind words! I love to sew, I´m not an expert but with everything I make or alter, I learn a little something new. It´s very satisfying to wear something you´ve made yourself!

      • Olga SE May 17, 2011 at 17:57 #

        Absolutely agree. It’s much more pleasant to wear things sewn by one’s own hands than bought from a shop. 🙂

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