Thursday, December 12, 2013

Retro Restyle: Secret Garden Jacket

A few years ago I picked up this 1960s wool shift dress for a couple of bucks.  It was wool.  It was plaid.  I was powerless to resist.  But deep down I knew that it probably wouldn't get worn too much.  Comfy though it is, I like a defined waistline because I figure that at some point in my not too distant future, I won't have a waistline.  I'm enjoying it while I can.

I liked the clean lines, and my first thought was to simply add darts, shape the side seams and add a bit of trim.  Pockets maybe, or a belt?  But it turned into one of those dreaded mending projects that I continually avoided.

One night last week, I was frustrated with seeing it on the mending pile, just laying there, taunting me, so I took a scissors to it.

I decided that perhaps a jacket would be more useful than a fitted wool dress.  I ripped out the zipper and cut the dress in half.  The bottom half of the dress was trimmed and gathered.  I added onto the short sleeves, making fabulous bell sleeves.

I put a separating zipper in the front and asked Hank to snip off the pull.  I replaced it with an old, flat key.  Somewhere, someone is taking a bobby pin to their suitcase, but I have a swank new embellishment.  I think the key should be red or yellow though, to make it pop.

Miraculously I was able to cut out two patch pockets for the front.  They are nearly invisible because the plaid matched up perfectly.   I couldn't believe my good luck.  Believe me when I say that there is not a single inch of this former dress left over.

It really only took me about 2-3 hours one night after the kids went to bed to slice and dice.  Some of my motivation for this project came in the form of accessories.  Last fall Mr. Schimstock surprised me with a pair of fingerless alpaca gloves in a sumptuous hunter green.  Well, of course I needed to make an outfit to match.  On the knitting needles as I write this is a 1950s tie-on hat to complete this ensemble.  I'll post soon!  Happy Plaid, Everyone!


  1. What a great idea, and definitely more wearable. Love the hat, too.

  2. Your did great!! So cute. I really love the sleeves.
    Christine in Tucson,Az

  3. super!
    the dress was a little bit church bazar, but the jacket is gorgeous!
    would look great with a pencil skirt, there are lots of possible colors in.
    love those sleeves. have to steal that look for my next project that involves sleeves.
    merry x-mas!

  4. WOW love the ideals you come up with.

  5. The jacket is so cute! The plaid suits it perfectly. Good job!


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