So . . . .for some reason, I didn’t take the “before” pictures of this dress. I was really pushing to get dresses done the day I was working on this one, and I think I got distracted. So, apologies for that, but I think you will be able to get the idea.
This Prom dress was donated, and it absolutely KILLED me to upcycle it just because it is so pretty and didn’t seem very old. I love the colors and the beading. It has a sheer illusion front, and a very open back. The waist is slightly raised. After I did this yellow dress I was inspired to use this dress because I wanted a second dress with a similar skirt. This is partially through the upcycle, but the overdress part is unaltered.
This dress had a very full sheer, chiffon-type overskirt. The dress is shown over a hoop. The skirt had two layers: the chiffon, and a satin lining. While the chiffon was quite full, the lining was not. It actually would not go down over the hoop. The dress is also quite long. In the picture above you can see how I shortened the underskirt to fit the cast member who will be wearing the dress.
The first thing that I did was slit the side seams so that the lining would fit over the hoop. I found a second dress that reasonably matched the original dress.
This dress had a satin skirt. The raised waist had a band with bow detail. The silver top is made from confetti dot fabric. It is a commercially constructed dress. The back is fairly open. I didn’t take a picture of that as I didn’t think I would use any of the dress except for the skirt. I removed the skirt from the bodice and divided it in half.
I shortened the lining of the original dress by raising it at the waist in the front, and at the level of the zipper in the back.
The sewing on this is less than gorgeous. It doesn’t show . . which is a good thing. I did this on a day when I cranked out four dresses. There just wasn’t time for niceties.
I then inserted the additional skirt pieces. I just wadded them up at the top of the “V”, stitched them down, and cut the excess off (not pretty). One was a little long, so I just pinned a tuck in to even up the hem. And here we are:
I didn’t shorten the overskirt as I planned to pull it up.
I thought that I needed to raise the neck line a little bit. I also wanted to add sleeve, and I was a little apprehensive about sewing sleeves on to the mesh. I tried putting the discarded silver bodice under this dress. It fit quite well, and provided a little more coverage in the back as well, and also provided a foundation to support the sleeves.
I found some blue shimmer tulle I had left from a previous project, and cut out some sleeves using a double layer of tulle. I utilized the discarded band from the second dress to make a band for the bottom of the sleeves. I cut it in half and decorated it with a few rows of blue sequins. I also sewed the same blue sequins around the bottom of the overskirt and the lining.
And the dress was done:
I really love this dress. I think it is because the original Prom dress really appealed to me. I thought the open back would bother me, but it doesn’t. For one thing, on stage the cast members spend the majority of their time facing forward. While this dress will be worn during a dancing sequence, and so the back will be visible, I don’t think it will be distracting. I actually thought trying to add something in the back might draw more attention to that area than just leaving it as is.
Once again, I am amazed the difference that sleeves make removing the “modern” look of a dress.
Cost: blue Prom dress: donated, 2nd blue dress $3, scraps of tulle and some string sequins.
This is how I label my “stash” of dresses. When I buy a dress I bring it home and before I put it away I wash it (that is what “w” stands for). I also mark it with the price I paid and when I bought it. I wash the dresses in a high efficiency front loader, cold, gentle and hang dry. I wash first because if a dress is going to get ruined in the wash, I want to know that before I spend the time upcycling. I won’t dry clean costumes. I hang my dresses up by color. It is hard to pass up a dress when you can get it for $3! Over time I have become smarter about what I buy. Just because a dress is beautiful . . if you can’t imagine what it will become, it probably isn’t worth buying (especially if space is getting short, lol). If I bought a dress with a thought in mind, I do try to pin some notes to it so that when the day comes I am in the mood for a project, I remember what I was thinking.