Let me proudly present my contribution to #therefashioners2017: the coat dress. As soon as Portia had announced the theme of this year’s refashioners challenge, I found a linen suit at the local charity shop where I do volunteer work. It is cream-coloured with a white pinstripe which doesn’t really photograph well.
My original idea was to take it completely apart and turn it into a very simple shift dress, maybe using the hotsummerfreebie pattern which I cut for my purple linen dress. And because I felt that with a suit, there should also be a tie (I’m really surprised that none of the refashioners included ties so far), my plan was to use my collection of second-hand silk ties and make a kind of patchwork-y middle panel to make it a little more interesting.
But a soon as I tried on the jacket, that plan was toast. I just couldn’t bring myself to take it apart because it felt so good with the wide shoulders and the lapels that were just the way I like them. So, like a true Tim Gunn follower, I decided to ditch the original concept and make it work. Since the trousers were a rather large but unfortunately too short palazzo pant, I had no qualms to cut off the legs to get 4 skirt panels. Then I cut the jacket to waist length, sewed the skirt panels together and basted them to the jacket, carefully matching the princess seams of the jacket with the darts I had to make for the skirt. The moment when I tried on the dress that this had become and found out that it was actually wearable was a great relief, because up to this point I wasn’t really sure if the skirt part would be wide enough to close properly in the front.
So the next steps were to sew the pockets back on – which I had salvadged from the cut-off part of the jacket – and line the skirt part. Of course this happened on the weekend and I didn’t have any proper lining material in the house. My solution was to use a piece of decoration textile (I have no idea why I ever bought this in the first place) with little fuzzy feathers on it. Wanna see?
Next question: do I want to leave it open like a coat or close the skirt part to make it a dress? The answer was rather easy because my sewing machine doesn’t like to make buttonholes, so I sewed the skirt shut most of the way, leaving a slit at the bottom and roughly 12 centimetres at the waist so that I can get into it. While the upper two buttons are functional, the waist part is closed with a couple of metal snaps and the lower buttons are just sewn on for the effect.
But there was still the idea of adding the ties. First I thought of making a kind of shoulder panel like this:
But I felt it would be a little contrived (I hear Tim Gunn, again) and I would not enjoy wearing the dress with it. Once I’ve got something in my head, though, it’s hard to get over it. So, as I always do, I consulted Pinterest with the keywords „necktie refashion“ and what I got was obi-style belts. And that’s what I did. I cut a piece of muslin-y cream cotton for the base, sewed two of my ties together and stitched them to the cotton. As soon as my husband (who had agreed to be my photographer for this special occasion so that I did not have to do my usual cellphone-in-front-of-mirror pictures) saw this, he started singing carnival songs because he thought that this was clearly entering costume territory. And to be honest, I think I will wear the dress rather with a wide leather belt than with my necktie obi, but since this was a suit challenge, I wanted to add the ties at least for my blog pictures. So here is the last one:
I’m really proud to be part of this challenge and to have been able to come up with a wearable garment. Now I have all the rest of October to look out for more contributions of other participants (isn’t it great that this is done world-wide?) and to wait for an occasion to wear my dress.
Also shown at Me-Made-Mittwoch.