Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Pursuit of a Modest Wardrobe for a Young Lady - Part 2

Good morning! Welcome to all visitors who are joining us from Elizabeth's!  Its time to link up with needle and thREAD cause its been way too long!

I'm still in pursuit of a modest wardrobe for a young lady, my young lady of 15, and that's really difficult to do given the fashions in the store. You may remember my first post of this series.  Appreciating that many people have very different ideas of modesty, I am ok with where our family is at in terms of our guidelines. 

Today I want to share with you how I took a store-bought dress my daughter loved, made a paper pattern from it and adjusted it for modesty.  This type of technique is called a rub-off because you literally rub-off the pattern from the existing garment onto tissue paper; the bodice, the sleeves, the skirt pieces, the waistband and so on. There are several methods to do this; I used the method of laying the dress overtop tissue paper and poking pinholes around each individual garment piece through to the paper underneath. Then remove the garment, connect the pinhole dots, add seam allowance and make necessary adjustments. 

The beige dress on the left was purchased at H& M last Easter. She has grown several inches taller since, but even then it was still a bit too short, too tight, and had too low of a neckline for our modesty preferences, but we were in a bind at the time for a dress and I guess we could have done worse (you can read about that here).  My daughter loved the dress though, LOVED it.  

That was my cue, because I knew the dress style was something I could work with and make it better. When I first read about pattern rub-offs from Sunni over at A Fashionable Stitch, I knew it was worth a try. I used the book she recommends, Steffani Lincecum's Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-off Technique to Re-create and Redesign Your Favorite Fashions.  Sunni also gives some great visuals to demo this technique so make sure to pop over there. An all-things-sewing-goldmine, her blog.

We chose a fabric similar in stretch to the original, a really cute polka-dot knit. We made it a tad bigger overall, shortened the sleeves, raised the neckline, and gave it a few more inches in the length.  I did sew a practice muslin for the bodice out of bargain-bin knit first though, which is always well worth it! And yes, dear sewing friends, it was incredibly gratifying to take this project from start to finish and have my daughter love it! When you make a rub-off, you aren't given the sewing instructions so you need to think carefully as you proceed; you learn a lot about garment construction along the way. Brittany wore this dress for Christmas and to a post-Christmas wedding. Some fun, heh! I think this pattern is a great basic foundational piece - it's classy and cute - and can be made again in other knit fabrics for a different look.  Thanks Sunni, for inspiring me to give this technique a try, I hope its the first of many awesome copycat designs! I already have a skirt for me in the works ...

Now for the reading part of needle and thREAD. I'm reading The Chosen by Chaim Potok for my Classic Moms class tonight. Loving that class. The book has been on my to-read list for some time, and it does not disappoint. Its the story of two Jewish fathers and sons and how they each pursue their faith. Very insightful, highly inspirational, sure to be a favorite.

Christmas, all fancied up!

Thanks for stopping by!! Till next time, God bless your week!


  1. Woot woot! Let's make the next one in like...teal?

  2. Good job, and she looks quite happy with it!

    1. Thanks Lisa! She really was pleased, especially since I make so many clothes for the little girls, it was nice to focus on her this time!


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