Posts Tagged ‘jcrew’

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 9

June 1, 2009

FYI – The “real” Watters gown is on eBay in a size 10 (starting at $300, Buy It Now for $399).  Click here to go to listing.  And here’s another size 10 on eBay (starting at $75, Buy It Now for $425) – (click here to go to listing).


Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 8

April 11, 2009

The other day I found some J. Crew shoes that, in the Pale Gold color, would go with the modified gown well.  They are called Paige Metallic Braided Flat Sandals and are on “sale” now at

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 7

March 22, 2009

I’ve done a lot of seam ripping over the past couple of days.  First I detached the bodice from the skirt (both sizes).  Then I deconstructured the back of the gown so that I could restyle it to remove the surplice.  Here are some pics (the bodice also shows how I deconstructed it to remove the surplice):

Detached Bodice

Detached Bodice


Detached Skirt

Detached Skirt

I tried on the bodice and, with skillful mirror placement, was able to determine the most flattering back.  I chose the button back where the seam would meet at the top middle of the waist yoke.  There was another option to make a low back where the shoulders plummetted straight down and the top of the waist yoke was exposed.  This was flattering, but I felt it did not jive with the style of the front of the gown, so I decided against it.

I pinned and creased the back in the same way I did the front.  I tested the symmetry by placing pins in an “X” pattern on the inside of the gown, holding the back seam together as shown below:

"X" Pattern Pinned Back

"X" Pattern Pinned BackThe result:Seam Meeting at Back

 The result:

Seams Meeting at Back

Seams Meeting at Back

I need to rethink the buttons and even the overall type of closure I want at the back of the bodice.  I’m not sure that the buttons I currently have are right for this gown.  I’ll keep digging for the perfect closure.  The other contender which I have yet to explore is the high back.  I could do this with buttons as well.  I’d have to trace out a pattern and cut it out using the skirt that I’m not using.  I also need to determine the desired shape of the sleeves and create a pattern for them.

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 6

March 19, 2009

I’d like to talk briefly about the color of the J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Dress.  On J. Crew’s website the gown looks whiter than in non-professional digital camera pics on other websites.  I think in bright or natural light this gown does look close to off-white or light ivory.  Even against the whitest white in person, this gown looks off-white to ivory.  However in some pics it comes out looking more like a dark ivory.  I think this is due to the creamy yellow undertones in the fabric.  I would say that if you wanted your gown to look white and will be using it in a poorly lit indoor area, you’d want to go with something other than the ivory silk tricotine.  My other advice is, if color really matters to you, purchase the gown with a return policy and bring it to the venue in whatever light will be typical throughout your event and take lots of pictures so that you can have an ideal of how it will look both in person and in photographs.  Personally I love the color as is.  It goes very well with my olive undertoned skin.

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 5

March 17, 2009
 I’m really excited with tonight’s progress.  I’m starting to be able to see “it”.  The first thing I did was deconstruct the bodice a little more to allow the update of the surplice neckline to a deep v.  Here’s a pic of the deconstructed bodice/neckline:
Deconstructed Bodice

Deconstructed Bodice

 After both sides were deconstructed (using a little seam ripper and a lot of patience) I laid out the gown and measured to the middle of the waist yoke.  That would be my center line.  I folded each piece so that they met at the center of very top of the waist yoke, pinning them carefully in the seams.  I then folded each piece (2 outer fabric, 2 linings) in a diagonal line from the place I have folded to the inner corner of the shoulder seam and pressed/creased them with my Rowenta on the silk setting.  I creased the fabric and lining towards each other, just as they’d be once sewn.  I double checked my creasing by lightly pinning the bodice back to the waist yoke’s hidden seam.  The result is so pretty:

Deep V Neckline

Deep V Neckline

 My next steps are:

  1. sew the bodice back together,
  2. add the cap sleeves,
  3. deconstruct the waist at the bottom of the yoke, and
  4. switch out the skirt.

I’m looking forward to that, meanwhile I revisited an old thought – the Watters 1096B gown had buttons at the back.  My options are to either use additional fabric to raise the back, modify the existing surplice to a deep v similiar to the altered front, or modify the surplice back to meet at the center and display a small row of glass or fabric-covered buttons.  Here are examples of clear glass buttons:

Tiny Square Clear Glass Buttons

Tiny Square Clear Glass Buttons


Larger Round Clear Glass Buttons

Larger Round Clear Glass Buttons

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 4

March 16, 2009

I’ve been procrastinating lately because I couldn’t decide what to do next.  My choices were:

  1. Sew up the shoulders in preparation of adding the cap sleeve
  2. Deconstruct both gowns and the waist and begin combining the gowns together
  3. Deconstruct and alter the surplice portion of the gown (crossover necklice into deep v)

I’ve now decided to do #3 first because the shoulders may need to be realtered if I don’t and I still need time to think about #2.  I think if I get the bodice completed I’ll be able to think more clearly about the rest of the gown.

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 3

March 8, 2009

In photographing and trying on the 2 sizes, I’ve determined that the bodice would be better if I alter the size closest to my true size (the smaller).  Therefore I’ll be using the bodice and yoke of the smaller size and the skirt of the larger size.

Here are some additional things I’ve thought of:

  1. The circumference of the skirt will be larger than the yoke that I will be attaching it to.  Should I do a full alteration or add pleats in order to make up this difference?
  2. I have a small piece of lace that I can cut in half to add to the dress.  The lace is only enough to use on the yoke and/or bust of the gown.  I could use it to peek out of the deep v that I’m going to create (I originally got this idea when trying on the gown with a laced camisole).  In any event, should I add the lace (it matches very well)? Or will it ruin the simplicity and versatility of the gown?  Here is a pic of the lace:
Ivory Alencon Lace

Ivory Alencon Lace

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 2

March 7, 2009

Yesterday I repeated the deconstruction on the smaller sized gown.  I learned a few of things:

  1. It’s best to purchase a newer gown in great condition because the seams of the smaller gown were more frayed than the larger gown.  I guess there’s no way to know that with eBay except by asking or by looking at the pics.
  2. This gown irons very well; today I ironed it inside out on the silk setting with no pillow case between and it did fine
  3. I really like the fabric
  4. I really like the yoke on the gown and am leaning toward keeping it
  5. My favorite shoes match this gown…now if only I could walk in them
  6. A larger size makes for a loser fitting top – you’d think this would be obvious to me, but I don’t think I fully thought this through – do I like the tighter or loser fit?  Using the larger gown and altering it down to fit will allow for more substantial/sturdy seams (at the shoulders anyways)…another fairly important plus.  I may take pics in both sizes and review them in order to give myself a more objective view since cameras tell less lies than eyes.
  7. Being more visionary than seamstress, I need to determine if I will need to deconstruct the entire bodice in order to remove the surplice – probably yes

Another treat – a sketch of the finished vision:

Sketch of Vision

Sketch of Vision

Adventures in Modifying a J. Crew Sophia Silk Tricotine Gown – Part 1

March 5, 2009

Lately, in a nod to conservation, I’ve taken notice to achieve the look for less.   I have known myself to be the type of visionary that can take something ordinary and turn it into someone else’s dream.  I’ve also known myself to be just the compulsive type that is fascinated by weddings and dresses and other pretty things.  Last week during one of my online scavenger hunts, I came across the beautiful wedding of John + Whitney on Elizabeth Anne Designs.  I read the posts and thought about the simple, elegant nature of the gown.  One poster noted a failed attempt at trying to equate the gown to J. Crew’s Silk Tricotine Cecelia Long Dress.  However, I agree with the poster that it would not work in this instance, however I suprised myself by thinking that J.Crew’s Silk Tricotine Sophia Long Dress might be able to be modified into a gown with the same feel.  I thanked J. Crew for using pleated shoulders and began my journey.

Finding the gown was fairly easy.  They are all over eBay for around $100 and still being sold on for $295.  I purchase a larger tall size (no longer sold on on ebay, along with a petite size (perfect fit).  I did this for a few reasons:

  1. My breasts are smaller and hips bigger than the J. Crew size chart allowed within one size
  2. I wanted a train
  3. I wanted extra material to add cap sleeves, remove the waist yoke without sacraficing length, and/or add covered buttons

The gowns arrived without a hitch, and I got on with my first order of business – deconstruction.  😉

Using a seam ripper, I carefully deconstructed the shoulder seams and outside armpit seams of the gown down to side seams.  My Rowenta on a silk setting and a thick, clean, almost new, white 100% cotton pillowcase (laid between the iron and the silk) flattened the pleats of both sides of the shoulders of the gown.  Here’s a pic showing the shoulders before and after (left side-done; right side-not done):

J. Crew Sophia Shoulder Modification Before & After

J. Crew Sophia Shoulder Modification Before & After

During deconstruction, I noticed that the J. Crew seams were french seams* (according to my 1961 McCall’s 1001 Questions on Sewing answered by Meg Carter – the best sewing how to book I own), so I had to be really careful with each step so that nothing would fray.    Though not the best for my modification purposes, I’d have to use this same seam type during reconstruction due to the lack of seam allowance.  I was also aware that the bodice lining was not pleated and could not be “let out”, so I’d have to determine whether or not to leave it or to add to it with the material I’d need to remove when I hemmed the gown.  Here’s a pic of my progress after all of the seam ripping was done:

J. Crew Sophia with Both Shoulders Deconstructed

J. Crew Sophia with Both Shoulders Deconstructed

Progress is good, and I am excited.  My future plans/thoughts are as follows:

  1. Alter the surplice neckline (front and back) into a non-surpliced deep v (this sophisticates the gown and makes it look more expensive; perhaps a lingering ideal borrowed from the time when only the nobility wore low cut evening gowns).
  2. Think about closing up the back, adding covered buttons, and removing waist yoke (this will make the train shorter as well – do I want that?)
  3. Add cap sleeves
  4. Merge the bodice of the petite and the skirt of the tall;
  5. Hem front of gown – leave slight train in back

*According to the book, a french seam is constructed by pining wrong sides together, stitching 3/8″ from the edge, trimming the seam allowance to 1/8″, pressing seams open, turning them wrong side out, and stitching “on a natural seam line, encasing raw edges”.