Last weekend I went to the Maker Faire and there was a big tent for Swap-O-Rama-Rama. Swap-O-Rama is a concept where you bring old clothes to donate and you can swap it for other people's cold clothes. But this was more than a simple clothing swap- the extra "rama" means you could also use the clothes to make new stuff. It's a swap-and-upcycle DIY kind of thing. They had sewing machines all set up for people to use and designers to help you with your ideas.
I brought in 2 zipper hoodie sweatshirts and 2 long sleeved v-neck tops.
I kept one of the v-neck tops to make into a dress. I just knew I wanted to make a skirt for it but I didn't know what kinds of fabric I'd find, so it was going to be a spontaneous project.
This is the finished dress.
The top is the black v-neck shirt I brought in.
The skirt is a charcoal grey knit skirt I found there, I was able to just cut off the waistband and sew it to my top. That made a very simple dress but I wanted more "oomph".
I found a shirt with a rayon print fabric I liked. I cut strips from it to make a ruffle for the bottom of the skirt.
I finished the bottom hem of the ruffle with the serger they had there. It was threaded with turquoise thread, which didn't really go with my project at all but it takes forever to rethread a serger so I just went with the serendipity of the moment! I think the turquoise actually adds an unexpected visual punch.
Then I found a really TEENSY miniskirt, like size XS, in the cutest black and pink chiffon print. It was lined in plain black chiffon. It had a handkerchief hem which I decided would look cute as a 2-layer ruffle on the 3/4 sleeves. It would break up the solid black and grey a little more, and make the dress less severe and Amish-y. The sleeves remind me of a Stevie Nicks kind of vibe.
For the last touch, I added a drawstring waist to make it less sack-like. I recycled the belt from the grey knit skirt, and just sewed a casing to the waist seam where I had attached the top and the skirt.
I am a bit bigger than my dress form so the dress is not as loose and drapey on me as you see here, but it's not skin tight either.
But I think this might be a dress I would actually wear, for fall & winter. It's enough black that it's well within my comfort zone, but it's got some more feminine touches to break it up and not look boring. I like the mid-calf length, especially with boots in the fall.
I like how my dress came out!
I could have done something similar with clothes I already had, or with goodwill finds, and I have done that in the past. But the Swap-O-Rama-Rama was a fun experience and I got to get rid of 2 big bulky hoodies which hopefully someone else made into something cool! I noticed they were both gone from the donation tables when I left so I hope someone got some good use out of them. (or maybe someone just wore them home, because it was rather unexpectedly chilly and windy that evening!)