Friday, July 3, 2020

Nifty Navy Chop: Smart Fashion Tricks for Modest Women on a Budget

Dress Upcycling Technique #5

This summer I've been reminded of a key to dressing well on a small budget:

As long as fabric endures in good health, it holds possibility as wearable and a potential money saver. 

If you're interested in limiting your waste footprint and reducing your financial expenditure, take a second look at the old clothing you've been thinking is past its usefulness. Your favourites may gift you another life of wear after all.

You may have seen how I achieved that with the yellow beach skirt. For my next project, I assessed a favourite polyester rayon shirtdress that I bought new for NZ$2, fourteen years ago at a Red Cross sale.

This dress introduced me to the delights of the classic shirtdress, a style that has been reinvented decade after decade for over a century because of its flexibility, comfort, and practicality. 

What I most love about this one is the back ties allowing easy fit, and the lightweight but opaque fabric allowing cool summer modesty.

When I bought the dress, I needed an ankle length hem. Adding a coordinating strip at the base achieved this. I also needed to trust that the narrow button placket wouldn't gape, so I handstitched closed the edge of the placket from hem to crotch, and added invisible domes (snap fasteners) between the buttons at the bust.

My current need is for knee-length dresses that I can wear with trousers underneath, so I decided  it was time for the chop. It was a quick job to shorten the dress. I took time to use the discarded length to create four patch pockets, the upper two for modesty, the lower two for practical use.

Extra Style Tip

The dress designer made pearly shell buttons a feature down the front of the dress. I didn't like the contrast of white buttons on dark navy, so I turned them all upside down. The sandy brown underside of the shell has an uneven texture I really like on this dress.

In these photos, I'm wearing the dress as a costume for the Napier Art Deco Festival, celebrating the Depression-era resilience and creativity of the survivors of the 1931 Napier earthquake, who rebuilt the city into the architectural splendour it is today.

Now you know a quick trick for upcycling an old dress into a new one for very little cost.

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

Fiat lux!

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