Post 34 – The silky linebacker

Today’s refashion was quite the looker upon purchase. I found this amazing piece at the Salvation Army and made it mine for just $0.69. I think you will agree that it is worth every penny, just for the before pictures, so I’ll give you 4.

Red silk - beforesRed silk - befores 2

Holy sh—oulder pads! Check out that high-fashion tilt in pic 2. Yeah, I can work it, even when I look like a football player.

There was much to be done to get this dress up to date. By the way, these pictures were taken AFTER 30 minutes of ironing. Yeah, this retro lady is 100% silk.

Red silk - tag

Which means it wrinkles like the dickens (the dickens is probably very wrinkled) and easily shows imperfections…both in the sewing and on the body. Though, not on this Body:

Red silk - on the body

First step, tackle (get it?) those shoulder pads.

Oh, what’s this?

Red silk - double pads

Yup, that’s a second set of mini shoulder pads under the first set of large ones. Frankly, this could have 5 sets of pads and they’d all end up in the trash.

So, off went the second set too:

Red silk - removing second pad

Remind me to file my nails before I take close-up hand pictures.

Then it was time for the sleeves. Much like previous refashions, I prefer to seam-rip the sleeves off, rather than cut them, because it leaves behind a 1/4″ hem that is already permanently folded and easy to pin.

Red silk - removing sleeve

It is incredible how time consuming this is. Seriously, I’m talking hours! Delicate material and heavy duty serging make the process even more slow-going.

Following the sleeve removal, I pinned them up:

Red silk - pinning sleeve

Then sewed them up:

Red silk - sewing sleeve

With the sleeves gone, I put it back on The Body to take it in:

Red silk - closer pinned on body

Pins, wonderful pins!

Red silk - pinned on body

I forgot to mention that I actually switched this from the buttons going down the back, to in the front. It felt about the same and once fitted, buttoning up 4-5 buttons behind my back was getting into contortionist territory.

I sewed up along my pinned lines:

Red silk - sewing side

Then, I tried it on and it was a bit too snug. Remember what I said about form fitting silk? Doesn’t matter how thin you are, if you can see skin between strained buttons, it is not cute.

I sewed a second line in the bust and side area, adding about an inch and a half:

Red silk - Re-sewing side

Then I removed the first sewed line:

Red silk - Removing stitches

The result gave me much needed literal breathing room.

While I really wanted to save the pleated bottom, it just wasn’t going to look right if I relocated it higher. Trust me, I don’t have the sewing skills to pay the sewing bills. Good thing I buy dresses for under a dollar. 🙂

Guess what takes longer than removing a sleeve with a seam ripper? Removing a skirt with a seam ripper. Oy!

I picked:

Red silk - removing pleats 2

and picked:

Red silk - removing pleats 1

I honestly took those pictures about an hour apart, because I wanted to feel like I was actually making progress.

I managed to get through it all (eventually) and pin the remaining hem up…

Red silk - hem pin

and then sew.

Red silk - hem sew

Yes, I understand that all of these pictures look alike, but I can assure you this is the correct part of the dress to which I am referring. 🙂

I then needed to carefully and slowly cut away the excess fabric inside. Delicate silk is easy to accidentally cut incorrectly. After such a long process, I’d be pretty upset if I cut a hole in my pretty new dress!

Red silk - removing excess


The last step was to iron it again, and revive the pleats at the shoulders.

Red silk - ironing pleats

Despite this refashion spanning multiple days and convincing me that maybe I need to buy a Jack Daddy (larger, sharper seam ripper), it turned out to be quite a lovely dress.

However, now I am questioning which way to wear it, as both look nice. I am leaning towards the buttons in the back as was originally intended. What do you think?

Red silk - after buttons

Buttons in the front?

Red silk - afters

Or buttons in the back?

I don’t really have anywhere to wear it yet, but my mom just invited me to go with her to the Red Dress PDX Party, May 21st. It’s a fundraiser benefiting the Cascade AIDS Project, where everyone wears a red dress, even the fellas! The theme this year is Walking Red. I don’t know if I am going to zombify myself or not….but I do like effects make-up!  I may have to update with photos afterwards.

Final comparison:

Red silk - final comparison

Have a great weekend, all!


4 thoughts on “Post 34 – The silky linebacker”

  1. I appreciate all the ripping out process. You did it ! I like the dress but would have liked to see the little pleated skirt at the bottom. Even if you shortened its length to about half that would be cute. Just something to consider to make it stand out among dresses.

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