Friday, 24 April 2015

#SewSolidarity Sewing for the TRAID refashion challenge

Thanks to Charlotte from English Girl at Home i'm taking part in my first refashion for TRAID's #SewSolidarity Challenge this year. Today is the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse disaster. This also coincides with Fashion Revolution Day #FASHREV. The campaign by TRAID is to highlight how several companies that had garments manufactured at the Rana Plaza factory have either not paid any compensation or an inadequate amount to the families of workers who were killed or injured in this disaster.

I would encourage you to read Charlotte's blog post on thinking about where your fabric and clothes are sourced from and how they are made. You could also read my previous post about recycling your clothes with care.

To support the campaign work of the charity TRAID, I found a dress in my pile of clothes that needed altering, which I had bought from an Oxfam Charity shop in Cambridge for only £5. This dress had not been worn and was made for the brand Mango (in China). Mango is one of the companies that manufactured clothes in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh.

I hope that by refashioning this dress I can highlight not only the TRAID #SewSolidarity campaign but the value of repairing or altering garments to make them wearable again and that donating your unwanted clothes to charity shops means they can be worn again and raise money for charity.

This dress had two fitting issues for me: the waistband was too long and the buttons and loops did not overlap enough at the front so this left a gap all the way down the front of the dress (a bit too revealing!). The zip end also curved outwards on the side of the dress (so it did not sit flat against the body).

Dress before

Fitting issues: long waistband

Fitting issue: buttons and loops

Construction issue: Zip end facing outwards

Nice details on the dress

- Lace shoulders

- Button sleeves

- Pleated waistband

- Back frill 

I decided to shorten the waistband, re-stitch in the zip and change the button detail at the front. From the following two options that matched the colours of the dress in my stash, I decided to use the brown silkier fabric with more drape. This was actually the lining of one of my Grannies skirts from years ago that she removed herself. In her post war time mentality she never threw ANY fabric away! I've been waiting for the perfect project to come along and this is it! 

I used the fabric to add a panel to the front of the dress. I removed all the buttons and loops except the last three, which I stitched closed. I then added a triangular panel above this and hand stitched it in place.

Here is the finished refashioned dress with shortened waistband, repositioned zip and new bodice panel!


  1. I have the very same dress and same issues (gained weight whwn I quit smoking). Thanks for the inspiration for a good refashion :-)

    1. Thanks! I thought other people might have had the same problems with this dress and that's why it ended up in the charity shop. Hope you can alters yours too : )

  2. Love it. Perfect for some summer sun (hopefully):) I love that you managed to use some of your gran's fabric stash.

    1. Thanks Charlotte! I'm sure my Grannie would be pleased too. She literally didn't throw out even the smallest scrap of fabric, in case one day it was useful.