Nurse Ratched, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1976)
And so began the end of my 2-month Wardrobe Refashion pledge. I give you the Nurse Ratched Shirtdress, made from two white mens button down dress shirts!
First round of thanks goes to my friend Stephanie, who invited me to perform with her on her recent recital. I told her about my shirt refashioning project, and at rehearsal a few weeks ago, she brought 5 shirts from her husband's closet for me! What a doll! Two of the shirts were white 100% cotton twill, so immediately my mind went to a shirtdress with a more reasonable hemline than my previously refashioned shirtdress.
I wanted to knock off a black shirtdress I bought a couple years ago, which lots of people compliment and I love to wear. I imagined a white version I would wear under tunics, vests, etc. For some reason - wishful thinking, perhaps? - I assumed two shirts would give me enough fabric to create the tiered skirt on the peasant dress. I forget that all the shirring on the multiple tiers requires so much more fabric than an a-line skirt, so after I cut out the shirt (using that magical combo of Simplicity 4077 for neckline and collar and Simplicity 4179 for bodice and sleeves, and ending the hem two inches higher than the pattern recommends), it dawned on me that the second shirt wouldn't offer enough fabric for a tiered skirt. So I went for a gathered a-line.
For the first time with one of these shirts, I unpicked the chest pockets, and it really wasn't bad at all. I ended up using the chest pocket from each shirt as the two skirt pockets, which was an easy choice because they were simpler to sew than side seam pockets!
It took me FOREVER, as in almost two weeks, to put this dress together, probably because I was disappointed it wouldn't have that full, tiered skirt. I suspected that the new shirtdress would be pretty plain, and suddenly lost any urgency to finish it. After I tried it on, I immediately thought "old-school nurse". I made a stern face in the mirror and laughed a diabolical laugh, and Nurse Ratched came to mind.
But really, this is a blank canvas kind of dress. I bought some dye, a la Tina's recent skirt post at glam.spoon, thinking maybe now I would finally have a yellow dress, but I haven't taken the plunge yet. I was also considering fabric paint, maybe stenciling? For now, in white, I see it worn as a layer underneath some nice transition (to fall or spring) pieces.
I tried it with the corset but it didn't work for me. What do you see in this dress' future? Is there any hope for this dress? I'm open to ideas! Please bring them on!