31 Days · Color · good life · Sewing · Style

31 Days: Color – Day 22: Green Oxfam Dress

So, years ago, before we had kids, Husband and I took a trip to England. Husband’s brother was working in London, so we had a free place to stay. We did day trips to Bath and Greenwich and did lots and lots of touristy things in London. At one point, we were stopped by a couple. “You’re American, right? We’re trying to figure out where to get on one of those sightseeing buses with no roof on the top deck.” No, we didn’t do that, so we don’t know where that is, thankyouverymuch. But we did ride a double-decker quite often. (Wow, I talk about double-deckers a lot – here and here and here.) And we saw Phantom at Her Majesty’s Theatre. And we saw a Fulham match (cannot remember who they played). And the museums and the tube and the churches and…. It is still one of my most favorite trips.

london telephone

At one point – I think we were in Bath – I stopped in an Oxfam Charity Shop, because really, if you’re a thrifter, you’ve got to at least check out the shops in another country. It was a great little shop, and I found an adorable green dress that was too large and, frankly, overpriced, so it didn’t come home with me. So when I did get home, I went to the fabric store and bought this in hopes of making my own:


It’s been in my fabric bin ever since. I pulled it out last week when I was trying to figure out something to do with that green tank. (I’m still going to make that dress, don’t you worry.) Seeing it next to the green tank, I got an idea for a different kind of tank dress, this time, with a long skirt to be a fun maxi dress for summer. (I was inspired by this dress.)


I used the full width of material off the bolt for the length, and I wrapped the material around my waist twice to determine the circumference of the skirt. I pinned the material and sewed a seam to make a tube of fabric. I pressed open the seam and then did a zigzag stitch to keep the fabric from unraveling.

I tried (and tried and tried) to use elastic thread as in the inspiration dress, but it just didn’t work.


Instead, I folded and ironed a waistband casing for 1/4 inch elastic, and then I stitched it up, leaving a 1 inch opening for inserting the elastic.


I measured the elastic the same length as my waist, but when I threaded it through the casing and tried it on, it was too loose, so I just cinched it up until it fit and did a (messy) zigzag stitch to close off the elastic. (After the elastic was finished, I stitched up the casing opening.)


I didn’t want the elastic waistband showing, so I created a 3 inch sash with the leftover fabric. I folded a 7 inch wide strip of fabric in half, pinned and sewed the seam, then turned it inside out and finished the edges of the sash.

As I was sewing it, the skirt seemed familiar. Then I realized it was like some of my Hello, Dolly! costumes from high school. (Nice to have you back where you belong….)

hello dolly

This is me in a long yellow skirt. I also had a black one. They both had actual waistbands and zippers. I texted my aunt when I was sewing to tell her what I was doing and that I appreciated all of her work on my costumes. She had no idea what I was talking about. All this time, I thought my mom’s sister sewed my high school drama costumes, but apparently it was my dad’s sister. I have two aunts who are both great seamstresses. I think I need to take some lessons next time I’m in Tennessee.


Here’s the skirt, paired with a tank top from Target.


It was supposed to be a simple, easy summer dress, but it looks a little fancy. (necklace made by me – similar in my Etsy shop)


Maybe it’s the full skirt paired with a big bow. (As I was taking pictures today, and BB and BG were having a dance party, BG said, “Mama, you have a LONG dress! Like Elsa!” I think I’m now an even cooler Mama in her eyes.)


My original plan was to attach the tank to the skirt to make an actual dress, but then I realized I might want to wear the skirt (or tank) separately. Because you never know when I might need to jump into the chorus of Hello, Dolly! again.

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This post is part of a 31 day series. Find all the posts in this series here.

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4 thoughts on “31 Days: Color – Day 22: Green Oxfam Dress

  1. What a fun post full of throwback pictures, good stories and an amazing skirt!! I love the shape and style, but I really think it’s the color that makes it such a fabulous piece. Great job, Nicole!

    1. Thank you! I think the stories are my favorite part – something I’m doing reminds me of something else, and it just goes from there. I love finishing projects, but I love the memories that they bring back more.

  2. I actually liked it better with the bow / belt around you waist and didn’t think it was too formal (it looks good the other way too). Another great example of your talents!



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