Little Black Dress Upcycled Fashion

Little Black Dress
Upcycled Fashion

My sewing machine is plugged in and left out on my desk, loose threads, scraps of fabric scattered, rulers and chalk– decorating Evie’s bedroom carpet; this mess is a good sign.  It is the scene of craft, and evidence that I am making use of all the expensive tools that I bought while going to school, especially the now priceless knowledge of applying fashion in my life.  Clothing that I once thought we could not afford, was always in a pile meant for a clothing swap, at a tip of a needle, and under the presser foot.

18 August 2013 Spending a beautiful day at Presidio Park

18 August 2013
Spending a beautiful day at Presidio Park in her LBD

“Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”
-Coco Chanel

Sewing dresses and tailoring Evie’s clothes to fit her petite body gives me a satisfaction as though I am fulfilling my major duties as a mama.  I remember being a little girl, and my mother would spend hours in the night sewing the inseams of my jeans to fit my toothpick legs, just so that I would actually wear it the next day for school.  If there is one thing that causes me to feel in-confident, it is wearing clothing that does not fit just right!  When it comes to clothes, Evie is very similar in stature.  Her shoulders are not broad enough to hold up straps, shoulders on any garment are about 1/2″ too wide, the only jeans that fit her will always be one or two sizes down, which gives the impression of capris, and her leggings are the same story.

I found a plain black medium dress (once owned by my friend Britnie S.) that was a size too big on me, but I figured that it would be perfect on Evie because she loves silky lightweight and flowy dresses.  I began with a small pencil sketch to show the possibilities to Evie of what something can become.  I enjoy having her beside me and a part of the sewing process.  She stands by to wait for the first fitting.  Her ideas are lovely, and it always includes embellishments.

Before & After

Before & After
Evie always manages to get into my work!
“Thes jres es gon bee Evie jrees” written by Evie

Evie in her upcycled LBD

Evie in her upcycled LBD

On the first day I worked on her little black dress, I made spaghetti straps out of the extra fabric which could tie criss-crossed in the back so it wouldn’t fall off her shoulders. The neckline ended up still being too big.  However, she wanted to wear it immediately, so I let her.  She gets really excited when I make things for her.  Its a blessing, because now when we walk into a store, she finds something she likes and asks if we could make it instead of buying it!

A couple days later, I ended up taking off the straps and sewing it into a halter to keep it from drooping in the front and back.  I also had a roll of black ribbon that was given to me.  Everyone tends to give me their untouched crafts and materials knowing that I will use it… and sure enough, there is a purpose for everything!  The only other thing that I wanted different was the size of the scallops on the edge. I wanted them bigger, but realized that it would take too long to hand draw it out and sew it to not fray. So instead I used the small scallop stitch which looks a lot more feminine and less of a statement.

Scalloped Edging

Scalloped Edging

Hi-low dresses and skirts are a huge trend today, and its time it leaked into children’s wear. I love the construction of a hi-low garment because it creates the impression of shorter legs actually looking longer. I had my wedding dress cut this way because we had decided to walk barefoot, and whenever I wear a floor-length dress without heels, I look extremely un-proportioned and very short.  (That’s a little style tip for those who want to appear taller!)

She loves ribbons

She loves ribbons



4 thoughts on “LBD

  1. Some might think black can be risky on children but you pulled it off so well! I have a son who is only 7 months old at the moment but I am also planning on getting my hands on some black this and that for him. Since we live in Thailand now he basically just wears cloth diapers. One is actually black with some white prints. It looks cool on him. But back to you! Your daughter with the sunglasses is super cute. Congratulations! 🙂

    • Thank you! I was thinking the same thing when I chose black to make this dress for my daughter– black can seem quite depressing on children. I bet your son will be able to pull it off… I just love seeing little boys dressed up in black tuxedos in a wedding; they look like little gentlemen! Where did you get the black printed cloth diapers?

      My husband loves to wear black shirts, so I just know that if we ever have a son he will probably be wearing black too!


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