I fell in love with the print of this fabric from the moment that I saw it! I knew I had to have it! Just take a look at those sleeves. Have you ever seen anything like them?
This dress was made by the Leslie Fay company and judging from the label, I’m guessing it was made in the mid to late 70’s. I come across Leslie Fay creations very frequently in my thrifting adventures! In fact I have about 10 of them in my “to do” pile right now. Because I see them so often, I did a little research about the company and it turns out they started in the 1940’s making women’s military uniforms. After the war they transitioned into more fashionable trends for woman that were sold in nicer boutiques. The company went under in the early 90’s but not before producing some awesome treasures for me to find!
With this dress I really just wanted to simplify it and un-70’s it. I removed the sleeves and threw it on my dress form. The size was pretty close already. I drew a new neck like in the front and the back. I cut off the extra fabric and gave all of the edges a new seam. The armpits desperately needed bust darts! The bottom lost a few inches and I tried to give it a little something extra by cutting the seams at the bottom on a little angle. I gave the bottom a new hem and paired the dress with a brown belt. Be on the look out for many more Leslie Fay treasures! There are lots more to come!
When I was in kindergarten, we would sing a song called Baby Beluga. It was about a baby whale that liked to swim. It was a pretty cute song. I hadn’t thought about it in probably 20 years. Then I put this dress on- – Suddenly, I remembered most of the words… and all I could think while looking in the mirror was that this dress reminds me of my dear friend Baby Beluga. A dress that makes you feel like a whale, even if it’s a cute whale, probably needs to be cut up a little bit. If you’re curious, which I know you are;) here is a link to my beloved childhood SONG about ocean life.
I truly don’t know how I talked myself into bringing this one home with me other than those polka dots. I’m such a sucker for a good polka dot! This dress was just a huge disaster. I thought about keeping it a dress. In order for that to work, I would have needed to disassemble every piece and trim it down dramatically then piece it back together. I decided to just use the bottom portion to make a skirt instead. Don’t worry, I saved the top and I’m sure you will see that another day!
All I did to make this skirt was chop the bottom portion off just a little longer than I wanted the to length to be. Then I measured my waist and trimmed off the extra from the sides. I gave the side a quick seam half way up the side then added a zipper. I used some of the extra fabric and made a waistband for the top of the skirt. When I attached the waist band, I was careful to keep the pleats in the right places. I debated big time between gold buttons or white buttons but finally settled on these fabric-covered white buttons that I saved from a shirt that I refashioned awhile ago.
Goodbye Baby Beluga!