This luminous dark teal silk dress found me at a thrift store recently. It had a full skirt, cut on the bias, and pockets! However the original silhouette and size (22W) would not have been as flattering on me.
Time for a few alterations! I wanted to take advantage of the drape, and cut as little as possible, so to get a better idea of the full drape, I started by removing the elastic waistband.
I decided to turn the dress around and have the buttons going down the center back as a little visual interest.
From there I played with the waistline, trying to position it so that the pockets hit correctly.
Once the waistline was set, I played around with the neckline shape, deciding on a deep ‘v’ in the back, and a higher cut neckline in the front. To keep it stable, I drafted a large facing to lay underneath, made from nude silk recycled from a damaged vintage dress.
From there I draped the neckline, back and front. Having a high neckline in the front not only adds visual balance, but physical balance by keeping it from dropping off my shoulders!
There were several moments when it looked like such a mess, I wondered if I had ruined it completely. Creating the back neckline where the back ‘v’ met the buttons was especially challenging.
Once I had the main structure, I added the facing underneath.
One of my favorite details on silk garments are when they have french seams or the raw edges are doubled over. It’s such a subtly careful gesture. I didn’t have it in me to do french seams, so I opted for doubling over all the raw edges so they don’t fray.
As happy as I am to have this dress just in time for summer, I hadn’t thought it would take me so long, nor would be such a challenge! I used to be so confident about this process, but this project made me realize I was very out of practice. It has also motivated me to get a real dress form.
Thanks for reading! Send me an email if you have any questions about this process, or anything else!