Recycling a Favourite

I love the ‘idea’ of the Vogue 8577 dress although it is particularly fabric hungry with its very full skirt.

I made this version using the front part of an embroidered Super king-size duvet cover bought in the sale at Dunelm a couple of years ago.

I loved the dress but sadly the bodice is now too small. I did not want to ‘waste’ all the lovely fabric in the skirt so decided to recycle it onto a new bodice with set in sleeves. Those that know me also know that I have an intense dislike of alterations, even calling this project a ‘recycle’ does not really help.

First I had to get unpicking. This was when I discovered how well I had made and finished the original dress. All the skirt and pocket seams were French and inside the lined bodice – pinked or overlocked! It took a good couple of hours with the stitch ripper to separate the bodice from the skirt.

Now to review a bodice pattern that would fit neatly onto the skirt. It would have to be a front button shirt dress or blouse and I definitely wanted sleeves. Because of the fact that I had only pillowcase fronts with the beautiful embroidery the pattern would need to be one with few seams and interruptions. I chose the Harley design that I first made in January this year.

I measured the panels of the skirt, excluding the gathered sections and adjusted the waist seam of the Harley to match. I recently drafted a new style of sleeve with generous gathers at the sleeve head for the ‘Linda’ dress. As I liked them so much, drafted a similar style sleeve for the ‘Harley’.

I cut the front bodice pieces from the pillow case fronts taking as much care as possible with the placement of the embroideries. Then I used the backs of the pillowcases (with no embroidery) for the sleeves and a remnant from the original duvet cover for the back bodice, again no embroidery motifs.

I cut lining from Polyester cotton for the bodice and sleeves. Lining the sleeves helps to give them some structure and support for all those gathers at the sleeve head. It also provides for a neat clean seam finish on the hems.

Construction was fairly straightforward and after the first fitting there was just one small adjustment to make – letting out the side seams of the bodice at the waistline by ¼ inch and grading back to 5/8ths at the underarm.

It took a couple of hours to attach the completed the bodice to the skirt plus a deal of ‘finessing’ in respect of marrying up the front edges and facings.

Lastly the finishing tasks were to slip stitch the bodice lining to the waist seam, make buttonholes in the bodice and attach the buttons that had been removed from the original bodice.

All that work has resulted in a lovely new dress with a bodice that fits beautifully. No-one would ever know that this is a recycled project!

I have a couple more dresses made to the Vogue 8577 hack and they are also too small over the bust. I can see more ‘recycling’ in the future!

Project #51 completed 8th August 2021