Friday 5 May 2017

Refashion Friday: Primark Maxi Dress to Striped Scout Tee

When you find a well-fitting, quick-to-make sewing pattern, like Grainline's Scout tee, you'd be crazy not to make another, amirite? I'm so pleased that I held back from cutting into this charity shop score maxi dress until after I had the chance to try out that pattern for myself. 

'Before' garment:

Whenever I pop into a charity shop, I check out the dress section for both larger sizes and maxi styles, as you can sometimes get a good amount of fabric for your money in those items. I was particularly elated when I found this treasure because: A) it was in one of the cheaper charity shops in Hastings so, for once, the fabric I wanted to reuse didn't cost me more than if I'd bought something similar on the roll in a fabric shop, B) it's a Primark garment, and as one of the biggest 'disposable fashion' offenders here in the UK, I take extra pleasure in giving new life to something that started its life on their racks, and C) navy and cream stripes. 

Initially, I considered leaving fairly well alone and simply hacking off the bottom. My thoughts being that it's existing shape is similar to the April Rhodes Staple dress pattern, and I have worn the living hell out of my version. But where's the fun in that?! Also, I'm not a massive dress wearer, even when I'm not breastfeeding, so I decided to go with a remake that would see LOTS of use. 


Having toiled and made up this pattern before, I knew which size to start with (i.e. a size smaller than my measurements would have suggested I cut), and also what issues to look out for. I found that the sleeve head/shoulder seam on my safety pin version sat a touch too far off my shoulders. But I feared that grading to a smaller size for the top part would make this top too tight across my shoulder blades to get on and off or feel comfortable. What I ended up doing was to slightly redraw the armhole shape to simply scoop away a little from the shoulder line so the sleeve heads sat where I wanted them to. That seems to have corrected the issue nicely without reducing the width across the back at all. Boom. 

The only other change I made was to create little side splits, mainly because I like the way they look, but also because I found with my safety pin version that it's a bit of a stress point with all the yanking up for 'access' that all my tops currently receive. The side splits meant that I couldn't do French seams on this version but I was happy with that as I think it made the side-seam pattern matching a bit easier.  


So I'd say that I've now completely nailed the fit of this pattern on me, until I go and change size/shape, of course. If I were being the pickiest pernickerty of all time, I would, however, point out that I should have used cream bias to finish the neckline rather than making self-bias from the dress fabric. You can see a tiny bit of shadow where a navy bit of the bias can be seen through the cream bit of the neckline at the front. But I'm going to chalk that up as a lesson learnt and move the hell on.

Whilst I was figuring out how to position the Scout tee pattern pieces on this dress, I discovered some nail varnish along the hem. Perhaps the former owner was painting her toe nails on holiday before a night on the razzle. I think there's a bit of it still inside the turn up on the hem of my top! I think that's as close to going out on the razzle as this top is going to see, but you never know...


Pattern: $12 in PDF form (approx. £9.86)
Dress: £3.50 from Oxfam in Hastings 
Total: £8.43, as per my own rules, if I use a pattern more than once I calculate the total with the pattern's cost-per-use (in this case, by dividing it by two) rather than the original pattern price 


Philippa said...

Great minds think a like! I just bought a bright blue maxi dress from a charity shop with the intention of making a t-shirt from it. Apart from the recycling aspect it's much cheaper, I am surprised more people don't do it! Anyway, your top looks perfect. You can't go wrong with stripes. I might have missed this, but is it jersey? I ask because the Scout tee is designed for wovens I think, and I am looking for a slightly looser t-shirt pattern. If it works well with jersey I will try it.

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

Go you! Primark just sounds like the most evil place and being able to fight back a little is awesome. When Ann Harvey still existed I went mad in it, as RTW that is stylish in my size is a rare beast. MY fave dress was a maxi bu made from the crappiest fabric. So I chopped it up and made a pattern for it. It had one of those twist bodices hard to "rub off" without deconstruction. I am determined that my little stash of RTW will get maximum use!

MrsC (Maryanne) said...

PS I just realised that the dress I am wearing in my profile pic is copied from that maxi dress

Kathryn said...

What a good refashion! I bet you'll get lots of wear out of it! I've got such a big pile of stuff for refashioning that I've had to stop myself even buying from the charity shops until I get making with what I have already.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I think it's a gorgeous refashion, and while I think the idea of remaking a maxi dress into something else is a great one, could you please be careful when buying things from charity shops that are larger sizes or advising other people to do the same.
I am a size 20, & literally in any charity shop I go into there will only be 5 or 6 items of clothing in the entire shop max that are in my dress size, the situation isn't much better if you are a size 16 or 18. While I absolutely applaud your stance on ethical fashion and recycling, if thinsmall girls, who would easily fit into 3/4 of the stuff in the charity shop target the larger sizes as a source of fabric, it stops plus sized people having the opertunity to make ethical purchases ourselves. As a plus size person I rarely fit into any vintage, on the high street I'm limited to what stores i can buy things from, & mostly have to buy stuff online from any old place that'll sell it, with god knows what ethical policy. If smaller people buy our stuff from charity shops (where as I said it's really in very limited supply) it takes away our opertunity to buy ethically, to say nothing of larger people with financial issues who can't afford the often overinflated cost of plus size clothing.
It really is a lovely make, & refashioning a maxidress is great idea, but please stay away from the secondhand plus size stuff and don't encourage other sewists to mine it. It really isn't fair on people who actually need it.

Fabric Tragic said...

Fabulous stripes!

Unknown said...

Looks great, and you have nailed that fit. Well done xx

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