Thursday, 14 April 2011

Improving a dress...

First off, a big thank you to Tea & Crumpets - I won a fabulous necklace in her giveaway! Whoop!

Now on to my toil this afternoon... I love a bit of craft and re-conning. I get my inspiration from various sites ( my current favourites are Cut Out And Keep and Violet Le Beaux's blog) - this improvement, however, was more out of psychological necessity than inspiration. I'd just got sick of looking at this sorry article in my wardrobe:

It looks OK from that distance, but there are 2 things about this Primarni beach dress that drive me crackers.

Crime 1:
The waist belt. Saggy, plain ... just functional and hideous:

Crime 2: Sequins. This has sequins on it; quite a few in fact. But when I've worn it I've come to the conclusion that they are the wishy-washiest, meekest sequins ever... you can hardly see them at all. His Lordship barely needs to shade his eyes with a well-thumbed copy of The Chap nor tut disapprovingly when viewing this dress in full sunlight. He thought they weren't there! Verdict: these sequins have failed in their mission and must  be punished.

As I'm still on my shopping fast (yeah, I know I shouldn't mention it but meh) I had to use items I have around in my craft bags-and-shoe-boxes already. Luckily I had a perfect odd section of peachy/pink ribbon and a secret ingredient to improve the sequins...

Step 1: The belt only shows in the middle of the bodice- the point at which it is attached to the dress is hidden from view. This meant I could just chop off the old belt fabric part way down its little fabric 'tunnel and sturdily (ie messily with thick thread) sew the ribbon in place. (Apologies for the change in photo quality- my batteries ran out and I had to resort to the old mobile telephonium!).

Contrast between new and old belt ties

If you were more professional than me you'd iron the ribbon before the photo.
I didn't. Natch.

Step 2: With a steady hand and some holographic nail varnish, I painted every sequin to up the sparkly-factor. This renders the dress handwash only, but as it is a beach dress it will probably be washed that way with my swimmies anyway. This job was extremely fiddly and tedious and there were a few moments like the slo-mo at the start of Casualty, where I thought I'd got nail polish on the fabric. I was going to superglue rhinestones to some of the sequins, but couldn't find them... I think this method works pretty well though!

All in all, much improved!

Dug out the DSLR to avoid pesky flash. It turned everything 'no flahs setting yellow'.


  1. This is such a good idea! I love the ribbon especially, ribbon improves everything :)

    Maria xxx

  2. Much better. The pink ribbon works a treat.

  3. Hahaha, love that you have instant bling in a jar ;) x

  4. You improve and personalize the dress!

  5. Great ideas! Will have to give 'em a shot in the future.

  6. The dress looks fab, I wish I had the patience to do stuff like this!

  7. congrats on the win,I would of never thought of that,you genius.

  8. That's a great idea, especially using the nail polish on the sequins x

  9. Well done on your win. I like the ideas you came up with to breathe new life into your dress. But my favourite bit was when you admitted that other people might have ironed the ribbons before the photo was taken. I'm just like you, I wouldn't have! :-)

  10. Oh wow, doesn't that make all the difference? I love it on you - it looks totally unlike the way it does in the first couple of photos.

    I'm avoiding the new ch5 series. Much as I love Andrew Lincoln, it looks like a total ripoff. It's probably not, but zombies aren't quite my thing anyway.

  11. Well done on the win and lovely blog by the way xx

    Thankyou for stopping by my blog x

  12. Hi there!! well done indeed, a few minor touch ups have transformed your dress and it looks lovely! xx

  13. That looks great with the bow, much better and you have an amazing figure. Have a great weekend xx

  14. Excellent job there - inventive AND thrifty! Looks wonderful on you, so make sure that you WEAR it!


    Ali x

  15. Great swap. It looks great with the pink ribbon.

    PS If you want to avoid the yellow cast on indoor shots with your DSLR, you can manually change the white balance.


Let me know what you think!