Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fabricista Fashion Challenge Week #1!



The Fabricista Fashion Challenge has begun!  Week 1 challenge is to take one handmade garment that I previously made which turned out wrong (be it the fit, the design, the color, etc) and remake it into something better. 

Old skirt

collage challenge 1 old skirt

You guys remember my recent Burda maxi skirt? I was not happy with the look of the skirt on me. I felt frumpy in it and it emphasized my large hips to much. I do not have an appropriate top to wear with the skirt either. I knew a pear-shape like me should not wear gathers at the hip, let alone the largest part of my hip but the skirt was too cute and I just had to try it.

More Old Skirt

collage challenge 1 old skirt 2

Nonetheless, the style of skirt just isn’t right for my shape.  I did not feel good wearing it so I knew I would never wear it.  Sadly I loved the fabric so I knew I would have to cut it up and make something better from it at some point because I did not want to waste that fabric that I loved. Thankfully this challenge came along.

New Dress!

challenge 1k

Well friends, I cut up the Burda skirt and remade the fabric into Simplicity 1801, a cute sundress. This dress has all the right elements to make me feel great while wearing it. My waist being the smallest part of me, I like to place some emphasis on it instead of my large hips. This dress has shoulder and under bust gathers, a nice smooth yoke at the waist, and gathers at the lower waist in front and back. I like that it does not gather on the sides, leaving that area smooth.

challenge 1g

There is a yoke for the upper back that makes the top fit so nicely. I used a size smaller than my measurements because I do not care for too much ease, sewing a size 12 for shoulder, 14 for bust/waist, and graded to an 18 at the hip. The instructions for this pattern are excellent. Everything is clearly explained and there are plenty of pictures.  I’ve made this dress once before but the fabric was a stiff cotton and the print is not really something that one can just wear everyday (it is a bit bold). 

challenge 1i

Adjustments I made to the pattern:

*I raised the neckline center 1” because it was too low, I also had to adjust the front facing for this, too

*1/4" high round back (this worked great because the back hugs my body so well now)

*1/4" forward shoulder and 1/4" square shoulder – both these are perfect because the shoulder seam now hits my shoulder in the right spot

challenge 1e

Construction: I took care to serge all edges. I used the ivory cotton from the original skirt to underline the whole dress. I stitched the midriff band in the ditch to catch the midriff facing on the backside. I made sure to hand stitch the facings down, catching the underlining only so no stitches were seen on the front sides of the dress. This is the first time I’ve done this, I normally do not enjoy any hand sewing but I wanted to keep the facings down and keep the dress insides looking nice.

challenge 1j

The invisible zipper is truly invisible and I took care to match up the waist yoke seams on both sides of the zipper.

challenge 1a

I had to be very careful when cutting up the original skirt to make sure I had enough fabric for all my pieces. The bodices were cut from the bottom part of the skirt, the top half of the skirt being saved to cut and sew into the dress skirt section. The waist yoke and shoulder yokes were cut from the old skirt yoke. I had to dig and find a tiny scrap of this fabric that I had left to cut out the upper back yoke.

challenge 1f

I ran out of the ivory cotton underlining for the front bodice so I had to use brown cotton I had in scraps; the bias strips for the arm scythe are also in the brown cotton scraps. I had to use some of the scraps from the original skirt floral fabric for the underlining of the back bodice. I just barely made it work; there are no leftovers from the original skirt!

challenge 1h

I’m very happy with the new dress, the fit is just what I wanted and I’m even happier I was able to rescue the floral fabric. I see myself wearing this quite often.  Remake successful.


Fabric: Muted Navy/Beige/White Dappled Leaves Cotton Lawn, 3 yards.  Purchased May 2014 From FabricMart for $5.39/yard ($16.17 total).  The soft ivory cotton was in a mystery bundle also from FabricMart, 2.5 yards? I think. Anyway it cost about $4.  So the total for the dress was $20.17. 

I started tracking my sewing time with a new App on my phone.  I logged in 5 hours of sewing only time on this dress.  I would guess 2 hours on cutting because I had to be sure on placement, then another 1-1.5 hours on underlining all the pieces prior to sewing.  I would guess 8.5 hours total spent on making it.


challenge 1z

Voting is now open over on FabricMart’s blog.  Head on over to see what everyone else remade and vote for your favorite!


  1. Karen this is awesome. I love the transformation. Great Job!

  2. This one was my favorite! I voted for yours!!! :)

    1. Aww. Thanks Dawn! I really loved what you did with your Pirate shirt into a skirt. I would totally wear that!

  3. Great refashion! The dress fits you so well.

  4. Love the looks fabulous on you! Plus the fit is spot on.:) I'm so happy to see that you're one of the Fabricistas this time around. Best of luck!!

    1. Thank you Cindy! I was honored to be picked (and a bit nervous, too!)

  5. So.SO.SOOOOO awesome!!

    And, yes, a much better use for that fabric! It looks AMAZING on you!

  6. I love this dress now, and I agree, it looks great on you.

  7. Although I actually liked the skirt, now I am totally convinced that the right thing was to refashion it! Just look at you, you look gorgeous! and such a wonderful fitting dress :) You should be proud of yourself!

  8. Well Kristin, what can I say! I think this is my favourite thing you have ever made! You are right - it does look better than the skirt - although I did like that - the shape of the dress is just perfect for you! I have a very similar fabric but it is more of a quilting cotton weight so I think it might be too stiff for the pattern...but I am so tempted to copy you, that's how much I like it!! X

    1. Thank you so much Philippa! :D I was telling my husband that it was the most favorite thing I've ever made, lol. I made this dress before in a heavier cotton and it worked but it isn't my favorite. I couldn't get over the "swooshing" noise of the fabric. This is a very light cotton I've used this time and it is perfect. So, it's up to you but I'd suggest the lighter fabric :) Copy away!!

  9. Wow, that is just gorgeous! This shape is so flattering on you, and you look beautiful in these pictures!


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