Formal Desperation

25 Nov Formal Desperation

There’s a first time for everything, and I let a formal event on November 23rd sneak up on me, in that I had nothing to wear. I planned on wearing my daughter’s dress but waited until Thanksgiving night to try it on and it wasn’t a pretty picture.

Frantically rummaging through every closet in the house, I stumbled upon this sequined dress I bought in 1994. I’ve been hoping to shrink back into it, but desperate times call for desperate measures and out came the scissors and a roll of Steam-a-Seam. I cut nine inches off of the dress and placed Steam-a-Seam along the lower edge. After removing the Steam-a-Seam backing, I secured the hem in place with the iron, using a silk organza press cloth. Within 15 minutes I had an acceptable top to pair with a black silk skirt I bought in 2004.

“Not so quick, Mom.”

My daughters, home for the holiday, advised me to shorten the sleeves to give some distance between the sleeve edge and the top of the glove.  

Another 15 minutes on the sleeves and I was ready.

“Do you have a sash, Mom?”

Fortunately I had a black silk organza sash.

Now I was set.  30 minutes and zero $$ investment.

Luckily it all worked out, but I vow to be better prepared next time – even if I do decide to upcycle an 18-year-old too tight dress!

No Comments
  • Minnie Me
    Posted at 15:08h, 25 November Reply

    Oh well done! Though I do know that desperate feeling of need something special now and what do I do? Hope you enjoyed your night you look lovely.

  • Redd's Threads
    Posted at 15:10h, 25 November Reply

    Stunning!! I never would have guessed that was an “upcycle”! I just cleans out my closets and got rid of tons of too-small things.. Now I’m sort of regretting it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:30h, 25 November Reply

      Thank you, Robin! My husband just cleaned out HIS closet and got rid of things I could have had some fun with. Oh goodness, we can’t hang on to everything I suppose 🙂

  • Pauline Droy
    Posted at 15:18h, 25 November Reply

    I am in a similar situation in that I have a work Xmas dinner on the 8th December (two weeks way) and need to make something for it. I only have next weekend, and part of that will be taken up running back and forth to Oxford to collect stuff from my son’s flat (6 hour round trip) – I am off to Dubai for work between 3rd-6th so I may be seeing what I can revamp at this stage lol. Your new outfit is stunning and well worth the effort.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:31h, 25 November Reply

      Dubai? How exciting! Good luck in coming up with an outfit for the 8th. I have every confidence you’ll be smashing 🙂 Many thanks for writing!

  • Joyce Love
    Posted at 15:19h, 25 November Reply

    Lovely! You have such a great fashion sense!

  • Myra
    Posted at 15:21h, 25 November Reply

    Awesome job! This is definitely a beautiful ensemble! You must keep this one for future wear, it’s beautiful!! Someone else who doesn’t sew would probably pay a high price for this very same top! Again, great work!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:32h, 25 November Reply

      Thank you, Myra! I love my new top – it’s a keeper for sure 🙂

  • Ruth
    Posted at 15:22h, 25 November Reply

    Now wait a minute…. You had nothing to wear????
    Anyway, what a marvellous remake. You look great, as always

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 15:36h, 25 November Reply

      It’s true….. Most of the formals and balls I go to are in the spring.I rarely go to all-out formals in Nov/Dec…… lots of black ties around holiday time but tails, gloves and gowns have been rare this time of year where I live.
      Anyhow, it all worked out and the evening was lovely. Thanks for writing!!

  • hazel walker
    Posted at 15:29h, 25 November Reply

    simply charming…………. you look gorgeous…… and your young man looks pretty pleased with the results also. Now here, in m y wardrobe, I REALLY truly would have ‘nothing to wear” I would probably go to the charity shop and find something to make-do-and-mend. Tomorrow I am off to my treat-of-the month……. we travel 144 mile return journey every 28 days for my husband to have a 6 hour infusion in hospital, I have recently discovered a wonderful sewing teacher, and I have a 6 hour one to one lesson……….. am I in heaven or what?? I have made a winter coat, a winter jacket, and am making a knitted jacket, my problem is finding suita ble fabric the lovely websites in the USA don’t want to sent internationally……. so frustrating.

  • goodbyevalentino
    Posted at 15:41h, 25 November Reply

    You’ve made lemonade out of lemons Hazel! What a wonderful thing for you to look forward to in the midst of your husband’s hospital visits. Surely there are online fabric stores that ship to the UK………Many thanks for your kind comment, my man just loves being called YOUNG 🙂 🙂

  • Cissie Wellons
    Posted at 15:46h, 25 November Reply

    Your re-do is smashing! Also, is there anything better looking than a man in a white tie and tails? I think not. (A white dinner jacket somes in a close second!) Wish we women had it so easy. Men get to wear the same thing year after year and have ladies swooning! You both look stunning!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:30h, 25 November Reply

      I think not too. The men may have it easier but we have more fun with our clothes – even when getting wild with the Steam-a-Seam!

      • goodbyevalentino
        Posted at 18:31h, 25 November Reply

        …… forgot to thank you for the nice comment, Cissie 🙂 I always love hearing from you!

  • 54pineapples
    Posted at 16:01h, 25 November Reply

    Lovely. You look terrific!

  • gingermakes
    Posted at 16:01h, 25 November Reply

    Phew! Just in the nick of time! Unfortunately, this super-successful refashion may just fuel future procrastination! 😉 You look gorgeous!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:34h, 25 November Reply

      Oh no!!!!!!!! The family will never survive if I do this again 😉

  • jstarr4250
    Posted at 16:06h, 25 November Reply

    Sheer brilliance! There is no wardrobe emergency that can’t be conquered when we look into our closets with a sewist’s eyes and a roll of steam a seam in hand! You both look wonderful.

  • artattack024
    Posted at 16:23h, 25 November Reply

    I would say “dream-a-seam” is more apropos…what a fabulous upcycle!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:35h, 25 November Reply

      Dream-a-Seam or Steam-a-Dream 🙂 🙂 Many thanks for writing!

  • mzsweetpea
    Posted at 16:36h, 25 November Reply

    What can I say…Steam a Seam to the rescue…..and what a great idea on your part! LAURA

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:37h, 25 November Reply

      Thank you, Laura! “Steam-a-Seam; don’t be without it.” 🙂

  • Laura
    Posted at 16:59h, 25 November Reply

    What a beautiful outfit! I’m glad it all worked out.

  • Calico Stretch
    Posted at 17:03h, 25 November Reply

    Oooo sparkles! And gloves. You both look gorgeous. There’s nothing like a bit of organised, um, mad panic sometimes hey?

  • Mrs. K
    Posted at 17:05h, 25 November Reply

    Beautiful outfit and a very handsome couple!

  • Alethia
    Posted at 17:58h, 25 November Reply

    Wow, what a great refashion! Even better that was $0 and at the spur of the moment. I am VERY impressed! You make me think. I have a few functions this coming month. My mind is racing as to what I have in my closet and what I can do with Steam-a-Seam,hmmm!!
    Your final outcome is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks to your daughters as well for their quick suggestions.
    And, what a beautiful couple you make! Thanks for sharing.

    • Alethia
      Posted at 18:10h, 25 November Reply

      I hope you don’t mind, but I shared this post and your picture on my Facebook page. I have inserted a link back to the complete post.
      I thought others would be fascinated reading about what you can do with a little imagination and some steam-a-seam. ;o)

      • goodbyevalentino
        Posted at 18:39h, 25 November Reply

        Hi Alethia!
        First of all, thank you so much for your nice comments! I don’t mind at all your sharing my post on your FB page – I’m quite flattered 🙂

  • svs22
    Posted at 18:07h, 25 November Reply

    U look fabulous I bow to you. Enjoy

  • petra mclean
    Posted at 18:19h, 25 November Reply

    fantastic, lovely dress and you look like a million

  • Florencia
    Posted at 18:27h, 25 November Reply

    OMG you look S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G!!! And you even had time to take pictures of every step of your upcycle! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:43h, 25 November Reply

      Thank you Florencia! After I figured out what to do I only spent 30 minutes working so there was lots of picture time. I do wish I had taken a picture of the dress before I cut it.

  • Lori
    Posted at 18:27h, 25 November Reply

    Wow, what a transformation. You look great.

  • Carolanne
    Posted at 19:50h, 25 November Reply

    Unbelievable….I am in awe of the transformation and how you pulled it all together! It just occured to me the very project I’m working on and having a great deal of trouble with due to the type of fabric I’ve chosen, would be rectified immediately with Steam-a-Seam…goin’ to get me some tomorrow! 😀 Thank you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:19h, 26 November Reply

      Steam-a-Seam is miraculous! I believe you need to stitch because it may not bond after laundering, but I wasn’t about to stitch on top of sequins. Good luck!

      • Carolanne
        Posted at 18:12h, 29 November Reply

        Steam-a-Seam was the absolute answer! Thank you! Working with a fine chiffon-y type fabric that was fraying like a b%tch had me believing it was destined for the trash. 1/4″ steam a seam not only finished the edges of the sleeves, but gave the ruffled bottom hem almost a “flirty” finish! Thank you again for your most helpful post!

  • crystalpleats
    Posted at 01:22h, 26 November Reply

    You are amazing! I’m impressed with your resourcefulness and speed. And the sleeves look just perfect, so its probably good you shortened them.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:22h, 26 November Reply

      Thank you, Crystal! This was an easy one once I had the nerve to cut the dress. By the way, I love the dresses you’ve made for your daughter. They bring back great memories 🙂

  • Carola
    Posted at 03:04h, 26 November Reply

    I’m amazed that you kept the dress for that long if it didn’t fit… I guess I’m too quick with my culling and can see now that maybe I should think a little more outside the square. You look amazing the scalloped neckline is very flattering! I can see why you couldn’t part with it and I’m glad you were able to upcycle it. Very inspiring. Quick question: we don’t have “steam a seam” here in Australia but I keep reading how wonderful it is… can you wash your garments without the hems ever coming loose? Or do you also need to top stitch down the track? Carola

    • CherryPix
      Posted at 03:17h, 26 November Reply

      Hi Carola, Spotlight carries Steam a Seam in Australia….great stuff!

      • Carola
        Posted at 09:20h, 26 November Reply

        oh wow ! guess where i will be heading tomorrow?? Thank you 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:25h, 26 November Reply

      Many thanks, Carola! I have all kinds of clothes that don’t fit around the house even though they are completely dated ….wishing and hoping and thinking and praying that I’ll be a size 2 again. HA!

  • CherryPix
    Posted at 03:15h, 26 November Reply

    How elegant! Love the gloves with it….good advice from DD’s to get sleeves looking just right!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:29h, 26 November Reply

      Thanks, Cherry! I’m sooooo happy my daughters were here to see me through this one 🙂

  • Gail
    Posted at 04:50h, 26 November Reply

    I think you’re lucky the shorter dress didn’t fit. You look so elegant. A perfect solution and your partner looks very dashing.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:31h, 26 November Reply

      Thank you, Gail….. I’ll pass on the nice comment to my husband 🙂 Lucky? um……… I wish the dress still fit, but I’m lucky it all worked out! Many thanks for writing.

  • Maggie Edger
    Posted at 09:43h, 26 November Reply

    Looks great to me. A. Maggie

  • Barbara
    Posted at 09:54h, 26 November Reply

    Absolutely amazing! Your work is fantastic! As others have pointed out, I don’t think I would have any anything in my closet that would have worked in such short notice. I love the belt and the ensemble is perfect. Great job! You guys look fantastic!

  • Carol
    Posted at 10:15h, 26 November Reply

    Love the combo! Absolutely love it! Chalk 1 up for creative juices!

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 10:35h, 26 November Reply

    First I’m amazed that you have such wonderful evening wear hanging out in your closets! Second, your refashion of the dress to a top with that evening skirt is just awesome. Your creative juices are flowing on max. Hope you had a wonderful time at the event!

    • goodbyevalentinog
      Posted at 11:03h, 26 November Reply

      I wasn’t about to get rid of that dress, Carolyn – even if it didn’t fit anymore! Many thanks for the nice comment and hope to see you in NY 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 11:04h, 26 November Reply

      I wasn’t about to get rid of that dress, Carolyn – even if it didn’t fit anymore! Many thanks for the nice comment and hope to see you in NY 🙂

  • Joy
    Posted at 16:34h, 26 November Reply

    Your refashioned top really turned out fabulous! I love the added sash! you look gorgeous in complete outfit!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:43h, 27 November Reply

      Thank you, Joy! I was very pleased and couldn’t have done it without my daughters 🙂

  • Karen
    Posted at 16:59h, 26 November Reply

    Now if I were you, I would have been secretly gloating over my cleverness all evening! All kidding aside, this was a perfect make-do. What fun to see it all come together – and aren’t daughters wonderful?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:46h, 27 November Reply

      Thank you, Karen! Yes, daughters are wonderful and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. Secretly gloating? Who, me? on my “new” “free” formal attire? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Leslie R.
    Posted at 19:51h, 26 November Reply

    Great refashion. I think I had a top with those same sleeves. I never really liked the sleeves so I tossed it. What was I thinkin’

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:47h, 27 November Reply

      Thanks, Leslie! I rarely toss … but there’s a downside to hanging on to all this stuff. 🙂

  • Lizzie
    Posted at 23:59h, 26 November Reply

    What a beautiful outfit, and what a beautiful couple!

  • Joen
    Posted at 11:03h, 27 November Reply

    Your formal look turned out fabulous!

  • poppykettle
    Posted at 21:30h, 27 November Reply

    You’ve got me in fits of giggles here…. such a stunning end result though! It’s exactly the kind of thing I would do… leave it to the last minute. I love how you’ve saved your dress… and it gets another lease on life – win win!! Totally gorgeous.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:27h, 02 December Reply

      Ah….. thanks, Poppykettle 🙂 I was so convinced my daughter’s dress would work so well that I didn’t bother to try it on until the night before the event! Never again and I’m just it all worked out!

  • Amy
    Posted at 02:07h, 28 November Reply

    You both look fabulous! I think you were meant to wait so long in order to give new life to this fabulous top. Scallops and sequins – no one would know it wasn’t from this season! And, I’m going to have to try out some steam-a-seam…

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:28h, 02 December Reply

      Many thanks, Amy! I’m really thrilled to have a new top and you MUST try steam a seam 🙂

  • Beth (SunnyGal Studio)
    Posted at 11:34h, 29 November Reply

    what a great recycle and new life for the sequin top . (I am a sucker for sequins and would wear them daily if I wouldn’t get strange looks) you both look great.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:29h, 02 December Reply

      Many thanks, Beth! Sequins, everyday? Why not 🙂

  • Bubbles
    Posted at 18:29h, 29 November Reply

    I love your blog. It is so inspirational.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:31h, 02 December Reply

      Thank you so much, Bubbles. I never dreamed I would love blogging so much, but it is inspirational for me to communicate with people everywhere and learn from so many talented sewists.

  • Faux Stepford Wife
    Posted at 12:27h, 01 December Reply

    I love the outfits you’ve made. But I have been dying to tell you how I love your hair! What do you do to style it?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:36h, 02 December Reply

      My hair???? Really?…… Regular cuts, product (Sebastian Potion #9), blow-dry, hot rollers, curling iron and lots of h a i r s p r a y 🙂 (freeze and shine) everyday. It’s much easier to sew clothes!

  • Pendle Stitches
    Posted at 16:57h, 02 December Reply

    You make such a gorgeous couple…and your outfit is just amazing. You’d never guess it was a mad rush to get it finished

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 18:36h, 02 December Reply

      Thank you, Pendle Stitches! It worked out well and I plan to wear it again 🙂

      • Pendle Stitches
        Posted at 11:08h, 03 December Reply

        I hope so…you look beautiful in it!

  • Ann
    Posted at 15:51h, 05 December Reply

    You look stunning in your refashioned top! I never would have thought of that. Love the entire ensemble!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:56h, 10 December Reply

      Thank you, Ann! I was relieved it all worked out 🙂

Post A Comment