Saturday, March 29, 2014

Amazingly Easy Dress Refashion


This week we had a refreshing mid-week Holiday -  Kuhio Day.  It made for a perfect beach day, and a relaxing break in an otherwise stressful week.  Somehow, we've all managed to come down with a nasty sinus infection.  I've been sick enough to feel a little off but not enough to stay home from work.  So...  when Friday came around, I really needed some color to brighten my day. 

Have I mentioned that I have a fabulous thrift shop across the street from the school where I teach?  Every so often I walk over on my lunch break and peruse.  The prices are significantly lower than Goodwill, and the clothes are in great condition.  It's not surprising that I almost always find something.

A few weeks ago, I found this colorful number that practically screamed, "Take me home!"  It was $2, and the print is absolutely beautiful.  


At first I contemplated keeping the dress in its current form - maybe adding a belt for a little more style.  However, I remembered an easy mad men dress refashion  created by Beth at the Renegade Seamstress, and decided to make some alterations.  (Speaking of Beth - have you signed up for her BurdaStyle Refashion course yet?) This project was so easy and quick, I was able to finish it in a few hours.

Firstly, I seam ripped the zipper just up to the collar of the dress. Looking back, I really only needed to seam rip it about 12 inches up from the bottom, but oh well...


Then I cut the dress off about a half inch from where I wanted my top to hang.   


I then measured where I wanted the bottom of the dress to hang and cut the excess off the top of the bottom section section (is this confusing?).  This created a wider bottom, which is good for gathering.


Sorry about the crummy photo.

To gather the bottom section, I set my machine to a straight stitch length of 4.  This longer stitch makes it easy to pull the threads for gathering.  I'm sure there are other ways, but I create gathering by starting the stitch with a front stitch/back stitch and then stitching all the way round.  At the end, I don't back stitch, and I cut the thread a little longer than usual.


I then pull one of the threads at the end until the piece begins to gather.  I work the gather around the entire piece and even it out to fit the top measurement.


Once the gathers were complete, I went to work on the top.  It needed to be taken in on the sides just a bit in order to create a fitted middle section.


 Here you can see both pieces are complete and ready to be sewn together. 


 I don't have any photos, but I sewed the zipper back in place on the top section, leaving space to sew the bottom section on.  Next, I pinned the bottom section to the top, right sides facing, and sewed them together.






I cut the excess zipper off...


And hand sewed it along the end.  This keeps the zipper from zipping off.


After sewing the ends of the zipper on the dress, I noticed that the back had tiny straps.  I guess they were used to lace up the back of the dress.  I seam ripped them off.

Can you see them?  They're along the outer seams.

Lastly, I sewed the dress back together at the seams. 
 

In practically no time, I had a vintage inspired dress.  I absolutely love it, and when I wore it on Friday, it made me very happy. 
 




When I came downstairs Friday morning, my little guy said, "Mommy!  I like your dress."  He even wanted to pose with me.  Love...




 
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14 comments:

  1. Very pretty. I just bought a similar style dress, but it doesn't have the princess seams. It's too large, so hangs to low in the arm holes. I wasn't sure what I should do with it, but you've got me thinking now. However, I don't have a nice waist anymore, so gathers at my waist would look terrible on me. But, at least I have an idea to work from. Thanks! :)

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    1. You may find this tutorial helpful. http://chicenvelopements.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/diy-1960s-mad-men-inspired-dress-refashion/
      Thanks for your comment!

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  2. Gorgeous! I absolutely love that print, and the fitted torso and gather waist and super flattering on you. Hope you're feeling all better now!

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    1. Many thanks, Carissa. This print drew me in and makes me happy. Thankfully, we're all on the mend.

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  3. Love it! Have a few similar dresses in my bin - will do thisto at least one of them!

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    1. These dresses seem to be everywhere now that I've made this refashion. I can't wait try another one. It's super easy.

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  4. Looks like a fun dress now and very flattering on you.

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    1. Thank youm, Dianne. It's perfect for work, especially with a hot classroom.

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  5. Great job! I really love this print it looks so cheerful. I think I love the little man's pose the most though.

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    1. Thanks, Sister. The print reminds me of the jams we used to wear.

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  6. That print is beautiful and your refashion shows it off very well. When your offspring like your clothes, you're doing something right :)

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. I am lucky that I have such a cute little fan. He always compliments my clothes. I fell in love with this print, and it's light and airy for our muggy weather.

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  7. Love the print on this dress, they are the perfect colors for you! And it is so flattering on you now. I bet you'll get a lot of wear out of this one!!

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    1. This fabric makes me feel so happy. I was inspired by your madmen dress tutorial. It's such a comfortable, but classy style. Thanks for the idea!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!