The Light’s The Thing Dress (ReFashion)

First and foremost, the winners of the last two giveaways! Giveaway # 7 was won by Kristin of Quiet And Small, and Giveaway # 8 was won by Adri Makes a Thing or Two! Email me at and I will (eventually) send you your prizes!

Lauren of Lladybird in all her wisedom said it best when commenting on my excitement about getting a tripod. She said something along the lines of, now the challenge is to get good light. Sigh. Challenge? Not accepted. At least not with this round of photos….

I’ve had this robe for a long time, it was my grandmothers, probably of Israeli or Moroccan origin, a remnant from her childhood in Tehran or maybe one of her many trips. I don’t know, I found it after she had passed away in the labyrinth of stuff that is my grandfather’s attic. I loved the print and the colors, and I just knew I could do a quick and dirty refashion that would render this wearable. Or more wearable then this:

Not only is it long and shapeless, but it’s a bit, um, scandalous, in the bust area. So I thought to myself, I bet this would be a great summer dress if I chopped off a bunch and made a belt out of the excess and stitched up the placket a few inches. And I thought that to myself last summer, and never ever did it, even though I knew it would take approximately 45 minutes. And so, last night, I looked at the robe hanging in my closet and just said, screw it, and chopped and hemmed and stitched and here we are:

Now, wasn’t that easy? And worth it? Why didn’t I do this a year ago?

Honestly, I think part of me was reticent to cut into this robe, even though I knew shorting it would be the only way I would ever wear it. I was so reluctant to transform something “authentic” into something modern and western and “inauthentic”. And most of me knows that that’s indulging in the spectacle of authenticity, the very oil to the hipster engine, and a false simulacrum, an illusion. There is no “authentic” anything,  and it’s wasteful not to use the clothing that already exists, in fact, it’s the more historically accurate act to re-fashion, a process that’s as old as clothing itself, then to let something sit in perfect untouched archaic isolation. But still. Part of me cringed at the notion of sawing through this fabric, knowing it would never again adorn a wandering Middle Eastern person plodding through the desert.

Sigh. And then I got over that, and hacked off 12 inches or more.

I wont pepper you with photos, as this is a refashion that took very little time or effort, though I must say, I couldn’t help but be inspired by Tilly’s latest amazing (and also green!) creation.

I tried to do a jump shot, but, um, I’m still working out the self timer…

Hahaha, I’m so pleased with myself because I think I’ve caught a good jump shot. Foolish struggle.

How do you feel about refashioning, especially something that’s vintage or old or meaningful in some way? Does it feel sacrilegious or virtuous, are you killing the past or giving life to a new garment?




Filed under Clothing, Refashion, Sewing

19 responses to “The Light’s The Thing Dress (ReFashion)

  1. love your refashion.. i think now you made the rope more meaningful 🙂 it tells a story, and it’s a nice story to tell..

  2. Very cute! And nice photos, too! 🙂

  3. Totally cute refashion!!! Fresh and sweet. As for your thought-provoking question, although it may initially make you cringe to cut into something vintage and/or meaningful, you’re definitely breathing new life into it. You’re honoring it more by wearing it and jumping in the sunshine than letting it sit in some attic. Plus it looks great on you. Bonus.

  4. I think refashioning is very cool, especially when there’s some sort of history behind the piece you are remaking–that way you remember the story every time you wear it in it’s new (practical) form. 🙂

    And your “jump shot” pic cracked me up. That’s probably how all of my jump shots would look too, either that or I’d get the jump but have a goofy expression on my face….

    • Sigh, jump shots, the bane on my existence, and yet I seem to keep dedicating myself to doing them!

      • Well, as they say, practice makes perfect! 😉 BTW, I know absolutely zilch about photography, but a friend’s camera has an auto setting that takes like 3 or 5 pictures very close to each other (I have no idea what it’s called). You might see if your camera has that feature–it might help!

  5. Love love love this! I adore shirt dresses, this is a perfect fit on you too. The belt and pockets are a nice touch, I’d never think this was a nightgown in a million years!

    • Well, it wasn’t quite a nightgown, more of a behouin robe, and I have to admit I didn’t add the pocket, but I do love the result! Thank you! I love shirt dresses too.

  6. I think that you’ve kept the memory of your grandmother with you in a special way, incorporating your tastes and hers. A lovely blend of cultures.

  7. Ah, light. That’s always the trick. Indoors isn’t bright enough, outdoors is usually too bright… 🙂

    I come from a family of archivists and historians, so I’d have a pretty hard time cutting into something like this. Which is not to say I’m criticizing you in the least—it’s awesome that you’ll wear it now. I have a hard time using my vintage zippers for the same reason, and really, it’s pretty silly. 🙂

  8. I definitely have an issue with refashioning vintage things, even if I’m only altering them to make them fit better, and not majorly changing them. (I also have an issue with getting rid of, well, anything I might wear someday, especially vintage things. And soon I’ll have an issue with closets because all my clothes won’t fit.) But I really like refashioned vintage things when they turn out well, I’m just terrified I’ll ruin them.

  9. I’ve never had vintage things to wonder about, so I’m all for refashioning to make them wearable. Although who knows, I may feel differently once I have some actual vintage in my hands.

    The shirtdress looks so much more wearable now, and possibly cooler for wandering around in deserts. And I totally laughed out loud at the bit about roast lamb and fruit bowls!

  10. I love this! I think in some way it honors objects, especially ones with a sentimental value, to find a way to use them. And I bet your grandmother would’ve gotten a big kick out of seeing you wear and love something that once belonged to her (or someone near her).

  11. I find it incredibly hard to refashion certain items, especially when they belonged to someone who you cared for. It’s almost as if you might offend them somehow. Realistically, it’s great that their clothes are still being used and worn, and most importantly, loved.

  12. woah i won something??? AWESOME!!! almost as awesome as that refashion!!!

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