Refashioning with ric rac

So ages ago I was approached by to see if I wanted to embellish/ refashion one of their dresses & share my approach on my blog.  Always one to give most things sewing related a go, & only generally limited (as you know) by my personal capacity & time I agreed & quite a bit later than perhaps they expected (apologies!) here it is.  Now you need to know that I was sent this as a freebie, disclaimers, standards & all that.

Choosing a dress was not easy: there must be hundreds on their website!  I needed to not only choose one that suited my style (I am not a bodycon kind of girl, being quite far away now from the “girl” description!) & the dress had to be plain enough to support some embellishing.  There are some pretty dresses on the site that are already pimped up with lace, multi fabric, yokes etc which would have looked frankly, ridiculous, or even grotesque if I let loose any more haberdashery on them.  So, I picked this “Polly Wrap detail sleeveless dress“.

Dress as it comes

Dress as it comes

I see that since I embarked upon this adventure that the TV presenter Lorraine has also featured it – is that a good sign?  !!  I guess it says that it’s a more, ahem, mature choice BUT would look lovely on any age I reckon. It comes in a few colours, but comes with a black self belt & the hem is edged in black too.  The skirt has simulated permanent pleats – something I know would be very hard to sew!

But once I got my hands on it, here is the finished article on me.

Ric rac dress

So, shall I take you through what I did?  It’s not rocket science, & very wearable – I hope you don’t think I look like I’ve raided the craft shop.    A trip to your haberdashery & a sewing machine is all it took.  I bought several metres of ric rac (in this case velvet ric rac) & some fancy ribbon to swap around as different belts- a day look & a going out look.

You could even get nice & fancy with organza ribbon & a pretty brooch.

Ric rac dress

I also bought 2 metres of grosgrain ribbon for the daytime look, tying it like we used to tie our coloured belts at school (do they even do that anymore? Do you even know what I’m talking about?)

Ric rac dressSo, here are some pictures to explain this super simple trick to vamp up (but not too much) a plain dress “with potential”.So assuming you have bought your supplies and have several metres of ric rac, a sewing maching, pins, thread etc let’s go.

Ric rac neck1. Pin the ric rac underneath the neck edge so that half of it shows on the right side as cute little scallops.

Ric rac neck2. Each end of the ric rac needs turning in so that the raw edge is hidden underneath.

rick rack neck3. Sew close to the edge of the neck, from the right side.

Rick rack neck4. Admire the neck edge as it is transformed elegantly into its scalloped prettiness.

Joining ric rac5. Start to attach the ric rac to the sleeve edges the same way with pins, but leave enough ric rac unattached by the dress’s underarm seam to join the ric rac to make a circle the size of the whole sleeve.  You’ll need to play around with trial & error to get the ric rac seam so that it forms the right size to go around the sleeve without any pulling or gaping.  Pin the ric rac in a seam.

Ric rac 6. Sew the ric rac seam and then attach the ric rac to the rest of the sleeve.  Now sew around the sleeve, from the right side of the dress, as close to the edge as you did for the neck edge.  Repeat for the other sleeve.

Ric Rac dress7. Put it on, experiment with different ribbons for belts & twirl.  This dress has serious spin factor.

27 thoughts on “Refashioning with ric rac

  1. Gjeometry

    Ah, very cute dress now! Before it had little personality and now the flower belt and hint of black ric rac make it much more original.

  2. Jane

    Predictably, I know what you’re talking about re those belts from school, god I haven’t seen one tied like that for about 30 years!
    Love how you’ve subtly changed a plain dress to one with more more pizazz. And all through the use of ric-rac! You look great in that colour too. xx

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I knew I could rely on you Jane! I’ve been reminded that ‘sash’ was what we called them, and I failed to say that in our school they were symbols of power….. Or swotiness depending on how you viewed being voted form captain/ secretary….

      1. Jane

        Aha, they were just called disco belts (or something like that) in our school. If you had to be swotty/form captain to wear a sash then I can guarantee my sister-in-law never got to wear one in your school!

  3. CGCouture

    Amazing what a tiny bit of embellishment and time can do! Very cute! I’ve never seen velvet rick-rack before though, only the stiff braided(?) stuff that comes in the packets. I might be more inclined to buy the stuff if I could find it in velvet or other softer materials!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I’m not sure how common it is, it’s sold in my local habbie, and isn’t that expensive, however, it is flock velvet if I was to be more accurate. Hope it washes ok!!

  4. Sarah Jane

    Wow! That really makes a rather plain dress look really classy! And you look lovely in it!
    The only thing….I dont remember the coloured belts from school…..And I went to school with you!! Lol x

  5. Barb

    Ha ha, I remember the sashes! Not sure if I ever got to wear one bacause I seem to remember that they were reserved for class captain and secretary??? I love this colour and style on you – very glam!

  6. sylkotwist

    Velvet ric rac???! Where have I been, I didn’t know they made it in velvet, how exciting! It looks really lovely and Jane’s right you look great in that colour!

  7. Jane

    Wonderful, as ever. Subtle, but really lifts the plain dress. As mentioned above, the colour suits you.

  8. scruffybadgertime Post author

    So it seems that I’ve revealed a new source of ric rac inspiration – in velvet (flock) – hope you can go forth and track some down. It’s cute!
    Thank you everyone for such lovely comments about the refashioning 🙂

  9. zora read

    I bought some giant ric rac just recently at the Brighton Meet up. I never thought to use it like this before. Brilliant!. Thanks so much, I get so much inspiration from blogs like yours.

  10. Alessa

    Oh, nice! I always forget how much interest a little embellishment can add to a dress. It fits you very well and the ricrac and swappable belts are a very nice touch!


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