I found a big skirt at a vintage shop that was made of a beautiful fabric, so I bought it with the intention of making a 1940’s style inspired dress. This is the process of the reconstruction.
Step 1: Making the Pattern
For the bodice, I drafted my own pattern roughly based on a couple of different patterns, adding my own alterations through trial and error. I arrived at my own design after several sample pieces.
Step 2: Cutting the Skirt
For the construction phase, I started by cutting off the waistband of the original skirt. Then I cut straight across the skirt top to get a piece big enough for the front panel of the bodice, leaving enough length on the bottom to be the right length of the skirt of the dress.
Step 3: Making the Bodice
I used some black linen from my mom’s stash of fabric for the rest of the bodice since there was not enough of the original skirt fabric to completely create the bodice. I added tucks to the center of the bust line for shaping and detail. I also took some of the trim from the original skirt and attached it to the bodice.
Step 4: Adding the Lining
I created a lining from the same pattern and stitched the bodice to the lining, then added sleeves before attaching the skirt.
Step 5: Gathering the Skirt
I gathered the original, shortened skirt in preparation.
Step 6: Attaching Skirt to Bodice
I attached the skirt to the bodice, matching the front, back, and sides and evening out the gathers. I had to split the skirt a few inches in the back in order to attach the zipper that I had already added to the bodice.
Step 7: Making Vinyl Bases for Accessories
With some of the leftover fabric and some other materials, I decided to make a belt and hairpiece. I started with a structure of vinyl, making up my own pattern for the headpiece and using a long strip as a base for the belt.
Step 8: Decorated Accessories
I added fabric, my own hand made embellishments, and fasteners.
Step 9: Finished!
The process was tedious but fun and fulfilling, and I would definitely recommend reconstruction/upcycling for anyone interested in making their own clothes!