Sunday, 10 February 2013

A new skirt for L’s dress

A few weeks ago I was asked by L if I could have a look at a dance dress for her. The dress was from Egypt and was made from orange lycra, with very small gold dots printed on it to give a shimmering effect. Unfortunately for some reason the gold had come off from a large patch in the centre of the skirt front, and it was very noticeable.

The mark on the skirt

The dress was L's first professional costume, and she so she wanted to keep it if at all possible, but it was unwearable in that state.

The skirt had originally been straight, with a slit up the left front. When I first saw the dress, most of skirt part had been cut off with a view to attaching a new skirt of some sort. A small amount of the slit still remained.

The cut-down dress

It seemed to me that the best thing would be to attach a circle skirt in a light, floaty fabric. My first thought was to use cationic chiffon, which is a very fine, almost sheer, silky fabric, usually woven in two colours to give a shot effect. However it is so fine that there would definitely need to be another layer of fabric underneath.

Shot chiffon with a dark red warp and a yellow weft

In my stash I had some fine orange georgette with a slight crinkle. (Stash reduction, yeah!) The colour was far too bright on its own, but I took it and the dress to one of my local fabric shops, and tried layering it with different chiffons until I got a good match.

The georgette and the chiffon, showing the different colour effects

I made the skirt as a basic circle, open at the front seam and going up into the remainder of the slit, which I opened on both sides. L felt that the slit in the dress part was a little too wide, so I filled in the top part with some more of the two fabrics. I had had to remove one of the bead tassels when I sewed the skirt on, so I re-attached this at the top of the slit.

Detail of the top of the slit

The two circles were hand hemmed, and should move beautifully when the dress is worn. Finally I used the beads which had trimmed the slit of the original dress to finish off the join between the skirt and the original dress.

The completed dress

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