Monday, September 9, 2013

1980s (?) dress refashion

I am obsessed with dress re-make blogs and when I came across this hideously unflattering belted tent dress from I'm guessing the 1980s in this adorable daisy-print fabric, I had to buy it. It was only $5 (thrift stores in Austin are expensive), and had so much yardage, it was perfect for a re-make. 

Look at this beauty. (no, I meant look at the dress, not me, silly!)

Ugh. Just... Who would DO this to themselves?

Unbelted. Lots of potential.

I love the fabric! And the matching buttons and pleats!
My dog immediately recognized it as a fashion don't and started trying to eat the buttons.

I found a sewing blogger that often remakes clothes, usually by just trying it on, grabbing fabric at the sides and waist, guessing how many inches need to come off, and then cutting and sewing something that ends up looking fabulous in no time. So rather than take notes from other bloggers with more precise tutorials on how to remake a shapeless ugly dress into something cute, I decided to try her method. I can't for the life of me remember her blog name, or the search terms I used when I came across her blog, or else I would link to her here.

I tried on the dress, inside out, used clothes pins to take up the extra fabric on the sides, marked the waist, carefully removed it, cut off the bodice, stitched up the sides, and tried it back on. And for some reason, the waist was now just under my boobs. I have no idea how that happened.

So I cut a midriff band from the sleeves, using the McCall's 5094 pattern, and that solved the issue of the bodice length.

But it was very saggy in the back. I stitched down the pleat on either end of the shoulder yoke (I think that's the term for it?), which made it much more nicely fitted, except then I couldn't extend my arms forward without lots of uncomfortable fabric straining. So I picked the seams out of those pleats down to a couple of inches above my waist and had room to breath and move around again.

Gathered the skirt, stuck a zipper in the side, bound the armholes with grey double-fold bias tape, and voila... It's a damn cute little summer dress and I am really happy with it. I get tons of compliments every time I wear it!

It did take a lot longer than I thought it would, and I almost shelved the project at one point (read: almost threw it across the living room in a fit of rage), but picked it up again after a good night's sleep and had no problems with it after that. :-)


  1. Now, THIS is just amazing!!! What a change! SOOOOOO CUTE!! Cannot wait to see what you do next :) So cute.

  2. Thank you Jennifer!!! It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but very worth it. I've gotten lots of compliments on it and it looks good with my new accidentally-dark brown hair. :-/