Turing a Dress into a Bodice Top

I purchased a traditional Mexican dress last year. I picked it out because it had purple embroidery (of course) but it turned out to be too big for me.

Seems big...

Seems big…

 

Way too big!!! It Floats.

Way too big!!! It Floats.

But I still loved the embroidery and wanted to make something I would wear out of it. It took a year, but I finally figured out what I wanted. I had played around with ideas, but I was losing too much of the embroidery. I settled on the bodice overtop from Simplicity costume pattern 4940. I copied the pattern pieces needed. I use examination table paper; the paper you sit on in doctor’s office.

Plain Jane back.

Plain Jane back.

After opening the two side seams of the dress, I folded the front in half. I then laid the pattern piece for the top portion of the bodice, making sure to not cut into the neckline. This made for a higher/thicker neckline then the pattern called for.

I folded in half and matched the neckline, then laid the pattern piece down.

I folded in half and matched the neckline, then laid the pattern piece down.

The bodice piece, cut out.

The bodice piece, cut out.

Next was the waist portion. Here I used the rest of the heavy embroidery on the shoulders. I sewed the shoulder sections together, matching the embroidery. The scalloped edge of the dress ended up running length-wise down the front. This made the piece more squared than rectangle, so I added to the sides using some of the front of the dress with the smaller embroidery design. I laid these pieces under the scalloped edges and sewed them together with a zigzag stitch, over both the scalloped edge and the zigzag stitch already on the dress.  Laying this sewn section flat, I placed the center of the waist portion pattern on the center seam line of the built-up fabric. By doing this I ended up with a mirror-image section.

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Making the most of the embroidery.

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Sewing pieces together to get a piece big enough for the waist section.

The back of the garment contains  a center zipper between two solid (from the shoulder to the hip) pieces. I used the skirt section of the dress front and in that way used the little embroidery designs again.

This fabric is very light weight and a little sheer, so I cut every pattern piece (for lining) using the back of the dress. I then basted all the top and lining pieces together. I saved the scalloped edges of the dress for future use; I wanted to use as much of the embroidery as possible and am hoping that my idea on that will work…..

Lining the bodice piece with fabric from the back of the dress. I zigzagged the edges and trimmed off the excess.

Lining the bodice piece with fabric from the back of the dress. I zigzagged the neckline and trimmed off the excess.

First was sewing the front pieces together. Here I cut a strip of the scalloped edged that was around 1 1/4 inch wide and sewed it between the bodice top and waist. I then zigzagged that down to the bodice waist.

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I used more of the edge of the dress when sewing the bodice to the waist piece.

Next was sewing the shoulders and sides. The shoulders were wider in the front; no surprise there as I ended up cutting the neckline bigger to retain the embroidery. I just made an inverted tuck to match the edges. No issues with the sides. After trying on I took the sides in a little for a better fit.

I used a combination of flower and leave machine decorative stitching.

I used a combination of flower and leave machine decorative stitching.

I finished the edges of the arm-holes and the back neckline with thin double fold bias tape. I used a combination of decorative stitches to stitch the bias tape down with variegated purple thread.

Finished back.

Finished back.

Zipper time.

The edges of the dress became the hem of the top.

The edges of the dress became the hem of the top.

For the hem I tried that idea I was thinking of to use the scalloped edge, and it worked!! I cut strips of the edge around 1 1/2 inches wide and sewed them together for a long strip. This I sewed to the bottom, and then turned the seam up and stitched down so the seam would stay up in place.

Finished and gorgerous.

Finished and gorgeous.

I love my new Mexican top and am looking forward to wearing to Mexico some time soon.

Mexician Dress

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