Guest at Downton Abbey


The Facts:

Fabric: Upcycled Black and White Rayon (or something), Extra Large Women’s Dress
Pattern: self-drafted
Year:Faux 1920′s Downton Abbey style
Notions: a bit of lace and another upcycled black dress for underslip
Time to complete: Here and there between my other projects- maybe 4 hours.
First worn: November 12, right after last week’s shirt photoshoot.
Wear again? Yes, probably during Thanksgiving.
Total price: Less than $5.00.

I picked up this dress earlier in the year at the thrift. I knew that I would refashion it someday because the fabric was so beautiful. When the Black and White challenge came up, I knew that this dress would be my medium. I should have taken pictures of the dress before I cut into it, so that you could see how much I changed it, but you’ll just have to imagine. Originally it was a faux two piece garment with the top falling down below the waist. The sleeves were about 8 inches long and the neck was high. The skirt was attached to a full length lining so that it could fall without a waistband.

I cut the whole thing apart and threw away the lining. I used a blouse pattern to help me recut the neckline and armcycles, and pinned and marked the sides while it was on my dress form. I used the old sleeves to make cap sleeves that simply overlap under the arm. I was able to save the original hem on the end of the sleeves. For the neck, I serged, then added some lace to finish it off.

The skirt was really long, but I wanted to keep the original hem, especially because it had triangle pieces built into the sides to give it a little more fullness around the bottom. I carefully measured how long it needed to be and cut from the top of the skirt. I gathered it so that I could adjust it to fit the bodice. I basically used my serger for just about every step. I don’t think you could successfully work with this type of fabric without one. I was very satisfied with how it came together. My dress form really was a big help too. I had to make sure the original bust darts were in the right place, and once they were, then I could cut and pin the top together properly. There were some spaghetti ties for tying at the back of the dress, that I hand-stitched together to make one long belt that I used to go around my waist and tie in a little bow. Finally, I used another thrifted black shift dress for the under-slip. All I had to do was shorten it and mend a few tears in the side seams. It was like they were meant for each other!

About SeamQueen

Seamstress, Sewist, Artist, Fashionista, Quilter, Upcycler, Textile Obsessed!
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1 Response to Guest at Downton Abbey

  1. Linda says:

    I love, love, love Downton Abbey and simply can’t wait for season 3 to begin. Your dress is lovely. The black and white fabric is indeed
    pretty and was worth the re-style.


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