My Favorite Mod Dress aka The Branch Division Dress
Fabric: a thrifted polyester blouse/skirt set that’s been in my closet for years, waiting for the right upcycling moment to come along. The brand was The Branch, as division of Joshua Tree, hence the aka in my title… it sounded so silly, I couldn’t let it go.
Notions: thread, 2 stash buttons
Time to complete: ˜ 5 hours
First worn: to a screening of Silent Souls (highly recommend!)
Wear again: of course!
Total price: $0! If you want to get technical, I probably paid $4 for the blouse/skirt, but this was 6 years ago.
I was really excited for this week’s challenge, and immediately set to work culling a few inspiration pieces that I could pair with stash fabric. When I came across the My Favorite Mod Dress, I knew of just the fabric. Rather, just the outfit that had been waiting for me to reinvent it for quite a long time. This was a really fun project for me, and got me back to my sewing roots of taking an existing garment and making it something else. Goodbye 70s poly suit, hello cute modern dress! Minus the bow… not into the bow. I think I had a more liberal translation of the challenge this week. Rather than replicate an existing dress, I used my inspiration piece as just that, coming up with something similar, but not an exact knock off. Hope that’s cool.
Guess I’d already partially seam ripped the waistband of the skirt before letting this languish. The waistband was waaay to snug for me then and now. After lots of trying on, tucking, pinning, hemming, hawing, here’s what I did in a nutshell:
Took off the skirt waistband and the 6″ CB zip, then stitched up the skirt where the zip was. Unpicked the sleeves, collar and the blouse CF placket. Because of the buttonholes, I had to trim one side of the placket. I turned the blouse around so that the CF was now in back, then stitched up the new CB seam, leaving an opening at the back. Due to the aforementioned buttonhole issue, it’s slightly off from the true center, but I’m okay with that. I marked a new neckline on front, then trimmed off the excess. Then stitched down shoulder pleats, followed by armscye pleats with button detail, harvested from the original blouse. This was to prevent gaping at the armscye, as there was no room to add darts where they’d traditionally belong. I turned the armscye under twice and stitched a narrow hem. I then made pleats on the front of the skirt, darts on the back. Next were darts on the back of the bodice, and then stitched bodice to skirt. Bias tape was made from a sleeve, and I stitched this around the neckline rather than make a facing. I then stitched the back keyhole and added a hook and French tack to avoid a zip (passed the Mena test!). The final step was to stitch the original waistband closed, then add a second buttonhole. I tacked this down on the CB, and added two buttons from my stash to the front. I was lucky to find two matching buttons in the right size/color! The original garment only had one button (from the waistband) in the correct size, and the remainder were smaller from the blouse. The “belt” can unbutton, allowing the dress to slip over my head. Huzzah!
Doesn’t everyone put on some tunes and have their own private dance party post-garment completion?!