Copycat Refashion

When I first laid eyes on the Southport Dress from True Bias, I knew I had to make one. However, as I thought about which view I would sew and what fabric to use, I realized that I had already made one – sort of. Waaaay back in high school, I had made a v-neck, button-down, short-sleeved maxi dress from a gorgeous navy rayon batik. I wore it a ton in my teens, but then put it aside for the last decade or so, since updated fashion trends (not to mention my updated fashion taste!) had rendered it pretty much obsolete. The short, set-in sleeves and lack of waist definition left it squarely in the 90s, and it was time to move on!

However, the Southport Dress inspired me to attempt something I rarely do – fashion an existing garment into something more wearable. Usually I prefer to start from scratch, but since I had loved this dress so much in the past, and since it was something I had made myself, I wanted to extend its life as much as possible. So, I pulled out my trusty seam ripper and got to work!

In my excitement, I of course forgot to take “before” pics, but just imagine this dress with short sleeves and no waist:

Obviously, my major design changes were to take off the sleeves and add an elastic waist! The sleeve removal was pretty straight forward – use a seam ripper to remove them and re-finish the armholes with bias tape. I did widen the armhole a tad in the back to improve the silhouette (so it wouldn’t just look like I had hacked the sleeves off!):

Getting the elastic waistline to behave was a bit trickier, since the dress had no waistline to begin with. I basically used a trial-and-error method of trying to mark the waistline in with chalk (which was not easy, thanks to the slinky rayon!), trying to measure down from the shoulders, and ripping out and resewing when it didn’t work. I created a casing with more bias tape on the inside of the dress and threaded 1/4″ elastic through, securing it at the button band on both ends.

All in all, I’m very pleased with my fashion, and this dress has gotten a lot of wear since! I’m so happy to have turned a former favorite into a new favorite :).

Trojans. And a baby quilt

So…I’ve kind off been putting of blogging for the past few weeks, as I’m sure you can tell :P. The opera I’ve been playing for has taken up a surprising amount of creative energy, so although I’ve still been sewing a lot, I just really haven’t felt like writing about it. Do you ever get so wrapped up in one creative endeavor that you just don’t have room in your brain for anything else? Oof.

While I know this is primarily a sewing blog, it just seemed strange to keep talking about my projects and not mention a little more about this huge endeavor that has been such a major part of my life for the past few months. So, long story short – I’ve been playing for the San Francisco Opera dancers to help prepare them for possibly the biggest opera production SFO has ever done – Berlioz’s Les Troyens (I.e. The Trojans). It has been a truly transformative experience working on a show of such magnitude and with such a stellar cast. Getting the opportunity to watch the famous mezzo-soprano Susan Graham rehearse the role of Dido pretty much blew my mind (I didn’t play for her rehearsals, but I did get to watch a few!). The whole process has been deeply humbling and inspiring, and has really lit a fire under me to keep improving my accompanying skills!

Sunday was the opening of the show, which was truly spectacular in every sense. Since the rehearsal process is now over, though, most of my involvement with the show is also done, so hopefully my life (and brain!) can return to normal…

Ok, now back to sewing. So, speaking of big and exciting things, one of my very good friends from college is expecting her first baby in July, so of course you know what that meant – baby quilt time! I wanted to make something simple, since I haven’t quilted in about a decade (seriously – my quilting phase was in high school!), so I decided to let the fabric do most of the work. I made super simple blocks consisting of a fussy-cut center with a border, and then just did vertical straight lines for the quilting. It didn’t take me nearly as long as I thought it would to finish – a little over a week to piece, and about a week to quilt and bind.


The quilt is for a baby boy, so I tried to keep the colors vaguely gender-appropriate without being too obvious. The backing fabric is even tiny snails! I got all of the fabrics at Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley. They have an amazing array of quilting fabrics – picking them out was almost as fun as sewing! I especially love the Dr. Seuss and Very Hungry Caterpillar blocks :).


All in all, I’m so proud of this quilt, and so glad I got it done in time for the baby shower!!