The “Picked-a-Pocket” Dress
Fabric: Cotton (RTW dress), African batik cotton (pockets, belt)
Pattern: Butterick 5638 (belt)
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: For photoshoot
Wear again? Yes
Total Price: $0
A shapeless brown shift dress from Target made of a horrendously mediocre cotton fabric better suited for a UPS uniform. My mission: To transform this sad, bland mumu into something cute and wearable.
It had some redeeming qualities worth keeping. The basic bones of the garment, such as the neckline and hemline were fine. But, the three-quarter length sleeves with elastic hems had to go and the waistline needed…well, to exist.
Since this was my first real refashion, no heroics were allowed. I did want to bring on a bit of challenge though, to make it interesting — the dress was pretty fugly and uninspiring on its own. This week’s construction challenge: INSEAM POCKETS. Somehow, I’d never sewn them before.
Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Pockets for Najah to sew for the first time. How wonderful! And with no matching brown fabric in my stash, Mr. Piper kindly handed me a yard of African batik print cotton to assemble my pockets and a make coordinating belt.
You may recognize the belt style from last week’s “American Geisha” Kimono. I reprised it for this challenge by scaling down the pattern from its original, kimono-friendly width. The downsized belt is my new, go-to accessory and its about to have brothers and sisters made up in more African prints. I’m certain my obi belt addiction will be rehabilitated once I make just a few more.
INSEAM POCKETS RICKETY ROCK, Y’ALL! How did I go this long without recognizing their simple genius and magical construction? I WILL NEVER GO POCKET-LESS AGAIN. Until now, I’d had this ridiculous fear of inseam pockets – as if they’d be a hassle or require geometry. But they are harmless. Just like when I realized that Freddy Kruger couldn’t really get me in my dreams. He was just a burn victim who liked to wear sharp gloves and haze neighborhood teenagers. Inseam pockets are equally unscary. Sewing the side seam without catching the pocket facing fold was a little whoa, but me and The Machine triumphed in the end.
Even drafting the pockets was all easy button. Draw big bubble around hand. Cut out. A cave man could do it.
Full disclosure: The 3-inch pumps were worn strictly for the photo shoot. Everyone’s got a pair of “30-minute” shoes in their closet. Ones suitable for only a brief wearing (like from the car to the building), because any longer would cripple you. Well, these are my “10-minutes” shoes. This week’s photoshoot lasted nine minutes.
Boring, shapeless, store-bought dress + elastic waistline casing + elbow-length sleeve bands + African print obi belt + PETER PIPER POCKETS = refashion success. Thanks for looking.
P.S. In case there was confusion. Peter Piper does not hang out in my sewing room. I made him up merely for the alliteration ;-).