Recon: The Hawaiian Sundress

30 Apr

I’m still slogging away on my Bombshell dress – although right now it appears to be more of a bed than anything:
Current Bombshell state

More on that later! Today, we will talk about my newest recon.

I actually started plotting the making of this dress on Friday afternoon – I found this sweet Hawaiian maxi dress and I spent the rest of the afternoon obsessing over how to make my own. My drive home from work ended taking A FUCKING HOUR AND A HALF (I drive about 5 miles & it usually takes 15-20 minutes – tops! 25 minutes is long enough to make me feel desperate, no lie) – thanks, Country Music Marathon! – so I had plenty of time to plan the making of my new dress. I realized the head start was actually hanging in my closet.

Hawaiian Dress Recon - before
If you’re feeling underwhelmed, well, so was I. I picked this dress up at the thrift store last summer – I loved the print, and it’s rayon which is my faaaavorite fiber to wear in the summer. Also, it was $2. Unfortunately, it’s a big shapeless muumuu. I thought I could cinch it with a belt and be done with it, but belting that much fabric leaves some weird gathers & poof, so this was a dress reserved for hanging around the house.

This was a REALLY easy (and fast!) recon – I sewed a strip of wide elastic at the waistline, cut 6″ off the hem & sewed that to the elastic neckline. Done and done!

Hawaiian Dress Recon
The original inspiration is sleeveless, but I actually like the extra ruffle the sleeves give, so they stay… for now.

Hawaiian Dress Recon

Hawaiian Dress Recon
It is hemmed a little short – you can’t tell from these pictures, since I have the tripod angled, but I could definitely use an extra inch. Although I did wear this to shop the flea market with my mom on Saturday & she never mentioned the length (or lack thereof), so maybe it’s not as bad as I think it is.

Hawaiian Dress Recon

Hawaiian Dress Recon
I got a LOT of compliments on this dress! Probably more than I’ve ever received for any of my clothing – funny! It seemed like every other person I ran into had something nice to say about it πŸ™‚

Hawaiian Dress Recon - no belt
Oh, and thanks to the elastic waistband – it looks great without a belt! This will be extremely important once the rest summer heat+humidity hits πŸ™‚

Some construction notes…
Hawaiian Dress Recon - elastic waistband, inside
The elastic waistband was really easy to insert – I measured the elastic around my waist, and then sewed it to the middle of the dress (try it on first to check the placement), giving the elastic a good stretch while I sewed it on. I just used a straight stitch, since it’s not a really high-stress area.

Hawaiian Dress Recon - elastic waistband, outside
From the front – it gathered up nicely, I think!

Hawaiian Dress Recon - collar ruffle, inside
To make the ruffled collar, I sewed cut-off dress bottom (hem intact!) to the inside of the dress, wrong side up. Again, I stretched it as I sewed so it would gather up.

Hawaiian Dress Recon - collar ruffle, outside
Then just flip the ruffle of the outside, hiding the seams.

The hem is finished with a small rolled hem. No, I didn’t take a picture. I’m sure you can use your imagination πŸ˜‰

Hawaiian Dress Recon
And that’s it! Easy, breezy, beautiful… err, this’ll be great for Me-Made-May πŸ™‚

As for the flea market… well, the pickings were pretty slim this go-round 😦 I did meet two vendors who said they have loads of fabric they need to sell off, so I gave them my contact information and hopefully I can spend the money I didn’t spend at the flea market on their fabric πŸ™‚ Haha!

I did pick up this pattern… there’s not a listed manufacturer anywhere, just the pattern number.
Pattern 8452
I love the button placket.

Pattern 8452
It’s undated, but based on the fact that it’s unprinted & it has THIS across the top of the (sparse)instructions, I reckon it’s from the war era πŸ™‚

I also bought two pieces of stretchy fabric, although they were from the thrift store, not the flea.
Floral stretch fabric
Probably going to save this one for winter, it’s kind of… velvety? I like how loud it is, though. And yes, my cat is modeling because she refused to get off the table.

Stripey poly stretch fabric
This is polyester, but I just love those 70s stripes!

Bombshell list
The Bombshell is making excellent progress – and it still fits! YAY!


20 Responses to “Recon: The Hawaiian Sundress”

  1. Roisin Muldoon April 30, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    I love that fabric, good save!

  2. Tracy April 30, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Cute recon Lauren! I just wanted to show you this picture of Jessica Alba. Mullet hems are all the rage:

    • LLADYBIRD April 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      lol nooo JUST SAY NO, JESSICA!! haha

  3. Shannon April 30, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Wow your dress looks amazing and you make it look so easy!!

    • LLADYBIRD April 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      It was really easy! Now I want to find more of these style dress so I can have them in every color πŸ™‚

  4. grenouille78 April 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    You deserved all the compliments! It’s a creative and well-done recon.

  5. Sassy T April 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    It looks really cute on and I love the fabric.

  6. Sigrid April 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Best mumu refashion ever! I always pass up those crazy 70’s fabrics because I just can’t imagine what to do with them. Can’t wait to see what you make, it might give me some good ideas.

    • LLADYBIRD April 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      Oh I LOVE crazy 70s fabrics! I would just hang them on the wall like art if I couldn’t figure out what to do with them… the colors & patterns are so fab πŸ™‚

  7. Mollu April 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    GAH! I’m in love with this! I just got a terrible/wonderful hawaiian maxi dress at an estate sale and was trying to figure out what to do with it too! Thanks for the ideas!

  8. Cation Designs April 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Excellent save of a muumuu! I need to try that sewing-the-elastic-on-directly bit. Also, if you do that sort of thing, have a Sewing With Cats blog award! Yours is a great model πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD April 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

      Hehe, thank you! Amelia is very flattered πŸ™‚

  9. StephC April 30, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Cool refashion, so simple and effective.

  10. cjgal April 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    That fabric is awesome, you totally gave that dress a fabulous facelift!

  11. Kristy April 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Really cute dress! I would have sworn that first picture was of my cat Philana. She also loves fabric and sewn things.

  12. Rachel May 1, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Super cute – great idea!

  13. sallie May 1, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    An excellent save! I love the bright print.

  14. Casey May 2, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Ooooh! I *love* this dress! Such an easy refashion, but it looks like a completely different garment. And I adore that you paired it with cowboy boots. πŸ˜‰

    I have to admit having a bit of an addiction to tropical prints after living in FL. It never occurred to me to buy them before–I think because in DC only tourists or people visiting the beach wore them. lol. But now I have a pretty healthy collection of tropical prints (both in my closet and the ol’ fabric stash). hehe!


  1. Me Made May – Week 5 Roundup « LLADYBIRD - June 1, 2012

    […] Dress (worn as a swimsuit coverup): Hawaiian Sundress Hell yeah I spent the whole day at a waterpark. And then Fudpuckers (where my little brother lost […]

  2. Shabby Apple Giveaway « LLADYBIRD - June 20, 2012

    […] Bella! is reminiscent of my Hawaiian dress reconstruction, except quite a bit more regal – it’s like the casual version of a LBD. Love […]

Yay, comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: