Making that Off the Rack Dress a Designer Original with SRE

Stephanie Novatski © 2004

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 In the past, I have always made all my special occasion clothes because I didn’t want to see myself coming and going—plus I could not justify paying the cost for the items I really liked. Now, I don’t sew as many garments as I used to—takes away from my CQ and SRE time, but I do like to add touches to Off the Rack items to make them uniquely my own.

I wanted to do SRE on a jacket dress and started by looking in all the shops for something that would lend itself to embellishing. I finally found a simple crepe and satin dress with a jacket in a catalog. The dress was very simple. The jacket had some decoration, but it just screamed out for some SRE to me!.

I decided that since the dress was black, jewel toned ribbons and beads would stand out. I placed the jacket on a large piece of newsprint and traced it so I could plan my design. Since the jacket wasn’t lined, I didn’t want too many ends on the wrong side, so I planned the design with flowers that could be constructed separately, such as posies, or that rested on top of the fabric like spider web roses.

I sketched out a design and started to stitch away. I repeated the motif on the bodice also.

I was very fortunate in finding this dress. Its style and fabric were perfect for silk ribbon. I plan on doing this again and know to look for something with simple lines, preferably not lined and of a stable fabric. If you do find an outfit that is lined, you can open a portion of the lining where you are going to embellish and then close it up upon completion. I hope my dress inspires you to try embellishing something you have in your closet that just needs a "little something". Please share pictures with us.

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