Friday, November 1, 2019

Modestly Seeing Red: 5 ways to tweak a top to get the coverage you need

Dress Upcycling Technique #3

Modesty Challenge

Even in an enormous shop with a huge range of stock, it can be difficult to find a garment that has modest coverage and meets all of your needs for fit, colour, and style. I'm currently blessed with easy access to such a store, but it is rare that I find a garment perfectly ready to wear.

Cost Challenge

When they're not perfect but MIGHT be made better, the trick is in assessing whether the items you're looking at are worth the time and effort to adapt them.
I spotted a mid-calf length cotton sateen coat-dress with three-quarter sleeves at SaveMart recycled clothing shop.

It was in beautiful condition, but I shook my head over the neckline, the hem, and the sleeve length. At NZ$14 ("branded" price level), it was pricey. There was nothing else on the racks that day that demonstrated potential for winter warmth and modest coverage. I decided to take the risk.

Figuring Out How to Do Shorter Well

First round of remodelling, I shortened the mid-calf hem to just above the knee (I thought) so the dress silhouette would work with wide-leg trousers. This combination meant I could cycle in the outfit, provided the trouser cuffs were clamped at the ankle for safety.

As an early starter in my exploration of tunic lengths suitable for cycling in a breezy environment, in hindsight this one is shorter than necessary. I had to learn, by testing how different fabrics respond to diverse air movements, what is too long to be safe and what is too short for best coverage.

I also forgot that what looks covered in the mirror isn't so covered when you perch or sit down.

Placket, Button, and Dome

The double lapel took a deep plunge, and gaped at my narrow collarbones, so I folded half of one lapel back on itself to create an extended placket, installed a gold feature button with buttonhole, and secured the rest of the new placket with large domes.

Shorter Again

After a winter's wear, I'd had enough of trying to slide a fleece jacket over the three-quarter sleeves, so the second round of remodelling took the sleeves up to a flattering (and practical) quarter length.

The dress is occassion-adaptible. I've worn it for everyday activities like cycling and shopping, to meetings, and to a birthday party. I recently found out it goes well with red poppies and the New Zealand flag. I clipped a corsage (designer BN) on the dress collar while filming an ANZAC Day music video.

Click here to view music video

I hope you've seen something beautiful and inspiring here today.

Look out for more Boutique Narelle posts detailing frugalista dressmaking and liberating modest fashion techniques.

Fiat lux!

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