Posts Tagged ‘ Cynthia Rowley ’

Refashion plan: From dress to what?

I found this turquoise silk dress for pennies at the thrifts.

I love prints that aren’t florals. So the paisleys were exciting. And I’ve been trying on this blue-green in a wardrobe that contains neither blue nor green.

Thought about hemming up the sleeves and the bottom, since the workmanship on this guy is amazing: Quilted yoke and cuffs, finished insides with interfacing to kick out the shoulders, bra holders, skinny tie front.

Then I noticed this giant spot on the front bosom of the dress. Boo. It’s going to need to be recut into something else.

But what?

Maybe a Wendy top?
Maybe a Cynthia Rowley?

Sometimes it’s faster to just start over

And cut a whole new dress from an old one instead of slaving to make the old one fit.

dress refashion brown print

Thank you, Cynthia Rowley, my new go-to girl. I think I own all her Simplicity patterns now.

I’m using a variation of this 2584 tunic. The A neckline, the B length and none of the sleeves.

Of course,  I had to reverse the front and back, so the back pieces of the new dress are cut from the front of the old one. Which means I almost had a patch pocket on my tush.

Rowley, part deux

This Rowley is addictive. Doesn’t take long to trace or cut or sew, even. I’ve had this black and white polyester forever. Finally I found a way to use it.





It needs a belt though. Like a red patent one I found this weekend at the thrifts with my sister?

How to… trace a pattern without cutting it

I didn’t want to cut this Cynthia Rowley tunic pattern because I wanted the other size options, perhaps for other ladies in my life. With only five pieces, two of them bias strips, I thought I could do it.

The straight lines were easy enough to mark and connect with a yardstick. But the underarm curves on the dolman sleeves, the neck? I don’t really trace with chalk, and drawing through the pattern lines with marker threatened to weaken them.

Time to start engineering. I weighted the pattern on my kitchen floor, using cans and jars. Started tracing the lines.

pattern weighed down

When I got to the curves, I started gently peeling the pattern back, slowly, a bit at a time, and then making a marker dot on the fabric at the pattern line.

pattern how to: start folding, dotting

Fold back a touch more, make another dot.

pattern how to: keep folding pattern back, dotting

As the underarm curved more, I dotted more frequently.

pattern how to: make dots closer on the curves

pattern how to: see the curve

When all the pattern was folded back, and the curve was visible on the pattern, the work was done.

pattern how to: finished dots

Voila, a curve good enough to cut confidently.

Cynthia Rowley, finito

Saturday morning.

Clean kitchen floor. Hot coffee, WBEZ on the radio.

Three yards of flocked velvet from the quarter table at Hancock, gray nap on a wine background.

gray/wine velvet on the ready

pattern weighted

Cynthia Rowley pattern, recently acquired (the one at the bottom).

By lunchtime?

pattern weighed down

One finished tunic.


Beautiful fit. Just in time for collective family party, too. It does need a belt. And a proper slip to go underneath. The sheer parts are super sheer. Maybe I’ll make the slip in nude to complete the illusion.


I love the hem — because there isn’t one. Just a folded band attached to the bottom. It’s only supposed to go with version B — the long tunic or minidress — but I’ll keep if if I make the full dress or the shorter top.

Five pieces, too. Front. Back. Bottom band. Neck facing — a simple bias strip I sewed as a French binding. Same for the gathered sleeves.


I can’t wait to make more. I smell a spring trend for this girl.