Would you believe it, this is my first Southbank hack? I mean, I've only spent 8 of the past 12 months living in this pattern, dreaming up ways to take it further... But my first Southbank hack is a cracker, if I say so myself. I've loved wearing this over the past couple of months, finding it that rare combination of comfy, easy and slightly edgily stylish. I've paired it with plimsoles for brunch and heeled ankle boots for drinks in the evening.
It was inspired by this dress
I spotted in French Connection some months ago, which triggered memories of similar things I'd seen on the catwalk.
French Connection Ono Dreda Tie-Mix Dress
Yohji Yamamoto Sleeve-tie Shirtdress
I wasn't wild about the fabric insert or the asymmetry in the FC dress, and I wanted something bolder than its ties, so opted for shirt sleeves as seen in those other dresses I'd come across. I picked up a man's shirt at a local charity shop and brutally scythed off the sleeves (leaving a good amount of plain white cotton in the body for future use). I initially tried inserting the sleeves where the pockets would sit but in the end felt slightly higher was a more flattering look. Using the original slant of the sleeve heads to match against the hips of the dress and give the sleeves an slight downwards angle, I pinned them in place sandwiched between the dress front and back and simply stitched through all 4 layers.
Of course as you'll have spotted, the addition of the shirt sleeves isn't the only adaptation I made to the Southbank here. To create the crew neck I simply cut a slightly deeper and wider neckline (roughly copying the neckline of another top I have) and then finished it with a neck band. The band is 18mm deep, plus a 1omm seam allowance, so the original piece I cut was 5.6cm deep (the band is folded in half). It's 51cm long in my case but obviously if you were to replicate this you'd need to check the size of your neckline and the stretch level of your fabric - I shortened my band incrementally to get just the right fit.
And finally, this dress has no cuffs - I simply hemmed the sleeves with a zigzag, meaning I can easily push them up to my elbows for a relaxed look.
I realise this isn't the most in-depth of exciting walk-through of a hack and I'm afraid it doesn't do justice to how pleased I am with the finished result! I have to be careful not to tie the sleeves in such a way as to make me look like a sumo wrestler, and the knot can make a strange sort of bulk underneath a light coat but these paltry concerns do nothing to undermine how much I love it! It was a windy, drizzly and bitterly cold day when we took these photos; as daylight here in the UK has shrunk to a mere few hours I've had to rely on weekends, whatever the weather, to recruit my ever-faithful J to take his ever-so-slightly-oddly-composed pictures... But in exciting news, 2019 will see me sharing a co-working space, offering the very real possibility of lunchtime photoshoots! Small victories! This will also entail me having to actually put together proper outfits (as opposed to the Southbank/dressing gown variations I'm currently relying on) - challenging me to get more out of my me-made wardrobe. I'm more than a little excited!
Next on the blog this week (and yes, I know it's been ages since I last posted but I've got this ready to go!) I'll be sharing my festive lookbook!