Sewing Project: Refashioning Old Clothes + Dickeys in 30s Style

So many projects, so little time. Among a bajillion other things, I’m currently working on a wardrobe refashion project. I’ve been really, really into wartime sewing pamphlets and cotton bag sewing materials that give tips on how to reuse fabric and refashion clothes that you already have into something new. During WW2 especially war rationing resulted in some ingenuity in reusing old materials.  It has me digging through my old bags of clothes I’ve been meaning to discard with a new pair of eyes! So many things that I don’t like because they don’t quite fit can be deassembled and used in ways I had never though of before. Some of my many sewing failure projects can be reused too.

There are lots of ways to do this–patterns with yokes, with top pieces and bottom pieces that join, special sleeves, kimono type sleeves, etc.makedomend image by BeautyArmy

And my current personal favorite–the bodice with a deep neckline + a dickey beneath. What is a dickey, you ask? It’s a common vintage clothing article worn beneath shirts and suitjackets to add variety, or to dress lightly underneath an outer layer. It’s a kind of partial blouse without sides or sleeves that sometimes has ties at the sides to hold it in position. Here are some pattern examples:


Advance 3247

dickeys2I love it for the potential variety this could add to a wardrobe. One shirt + an infinitely variable number of necklines. It also gives me a low risk way to indulge in and wear some of the nicer fabrics from my stash. Here’s what I’m planning on playing with over the next few days:

DSC_5291Two kinds of gorgeous red chiffon, some dot lace and some stretch satin. Normally I would be too afraid of wasting them, but since a dickey requires so little fabric and is cursed with far fewer fitting issues than a full blouse, results are likely to be pretty good.

I have two pieces of clothing to rework–both are velvet, semi fitted, and not at all my current style. One is an old button up basic blouse with no darts or embellishments. The other is a burgundy pair of pants which are a bit too clingy for me, and which I wore so much in my teen years when grunge was the thing and we all walked on our pants legs that the bottom 4″ of the pants leg is not pretty. The shirt will be remade as a deep v-neck (cutting out a new neckline, binding the raw edge with wide bias strips of a similar color broadcloth) long sleeved blouse, but the pants I will be completely disassembling and trying to remake as a more bustier-like fitted blouse or Edwardian style corset cover shaped blouse. The end goal is to be able to wear them with dickeys sort of  like this contemporary interpretion of 30s fashion:



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