I recently was given a large amount of old square dancing dresses from some kind but mistaken relatives who thought that they were 'my sort of thing.' D: At loss at what to do with them, I finally came across and idea that actually worked really well: convert them into aprons!
This is the dress I started out with, which was actually the plainest of the bunch (don't mind the petticoat sticking out from under...)
Too-thin (though nice quality) fabric. Low neckline. Plastic rashel lace everywhere. Tiiiny little 25 inch waist and 34 inch chest. Basically, it wasn't lolita and it sure as heck wasn't going to fit me any time soon. Not a good combination.
But I felt bad about just putting all these dresses in a box and forgetting about them. After all, here was plenty of perfectly good fabric; all I had to do was figure out how to use it. Yeah, easier said than done, considering that on this dress alone I had the choice of ripping apart the seams or covering them in something else due to the large amounts of bad lace.
At first I tried putting blue ribbon around the ruffle and the waist and ripping the elastic out of the sleeves, thinking to make it a sailor-themed dress, maybe with some nicer lace down the front. Unfortunately, the new waist-ribbon had the irritating effect of taking all the give out of the waist and making it impossible to put the dress back on my form, and the sleeves were gigantic. Shortly following these discoveries and an influx of other projects, the dress was put in my pile of 'stuff to look at later' and, with a sigh of relief, forgotten about.
It wasn't until this weekend that I finally thought up something to make with it: an apron. I took the ribbon off the waist, detached the bodice, and lo and behold if I put a waist band on, here was a perfectly serviceable apron! Except...it was kind of boring, and I was kind of bored. Thus I ripped apart the bodice, dug out some lace I'd forgotten about, cut apart the sleeves for the waistband, reattached the front bodice-panel and the back panels, put in elastic, swore over my stuck fingers, and several hours and a pile of realllllly bad lace later, this is what I came up with:
(Why do I have an inability to take nice photos? The skirt doesn't actually ride up in the back, I was just trying to show off the lace...)
There's elastic in the waistband on the sides to make it sort of a one-size-fits-all deal. In the pictures I have the waist band crossed in the back and tied in the front, but it can be tied in the back too. There's even ribbon on the ends ala Alice and the Pirates! The other ties just keep the back from flopping open.
Here it is over an outfit and petticoat:
It's just a fun little something that really could function as an apron and not just decoration. At first I thought the front might be too narrow, but that's really where spills tend to land--right down the front. Ack. The lace just really makes it for me. Overall I'm really pleased with the the finished product, which is a good thing because I have ten other dresses waiting downstairs XD
If you are looking for something to do with old or unwearable dresses, this might work for you. I even had enough fabric that I didn't have to try to match whites, I guess making this...recycled loli? Eco-loli! Saving the world, one old square dance dress at a time! ...Or something.
Anyway, thanks for looking! :D