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Monday, May 5, 2014

All I wanna do is refashion dresses; like this vintage 80s teal number

This damn blog has had an awful lot of one thing: dress refashions. It's like I'm obsessed or something. I'm not even going to pretend I'm not, all I want to do is make dresses out of other dresses or use other items of clothing to make dresses. Hyper focus is not really a good thing...
But this is:
Look at this vintage dress. It's such a perfect example of the 80s secretary or teacher. As you see, it kind of looks like a blouse tucked into a skirt which was then pulled out so that it spills over one's waistline. No waist necessary! That, plus the high neckline with adorable collar and bow assure those who see you in it,  that "sexy" is not the look you were going for.
But, it's not without it's charm. Coincidentally, almost all of my successful refashions come from the same place. I admired this dress for it's retro factor when I spotted it at OUTfitters in Manchester, but only when it hit that magical $0.50 rack did I take it home.
What it does have going on:
- Peter Pan collar and bow for Manic Pixie Dream Girl outfit
- interesting striped pattern with my favorite teal color
- only $0.50

The first thing I hated about this dress was that built in muffin top design. It was made that way, because there was a lining attached to the waist and connecting at the shoulders and neck. It had to be eradicated, immediately. That's a picture of it, lining free.
As you can see from this picture, the dress's torso area is now about three yards long (my estimate might be exaggerated a but). I removed the sleeves, the collar, and the bow. 
This is how I cut necks, fool. I fold that dress in half lengthwise, ya see? Then, I pretty much just guess and start trimming off the neckline. Because it's folded like that, the left and right sides of the dress are cut at the same time. Symmetry!
As anyone who has seen my work can attest, I like to keep it simple. I don't usually want a whole new dress, I like to work with what  have. In this case, I have a long bodice. I thought this dress would look cool with knotted shoulders.
I skipped a picture, but I'll use photo magic to explain what's probably obvious:
Cut the shoulder straps so that they can be tied together. Oh, after I made those cuts, I went ahead and trimmed down the sides so they weren't so thick.
Then, I did this part. I pinned and sewed the raw edges. I wanted the v neck to sit lower, so I made a cut down the middle and secured the edges. Then, I tested out those shoulder strap knots:
I can't use flash for the selfies, but you see what I did there. I made knots. Easy! This dress was taking no time at all! Since I had a lot of room in that bodice, gathering those straps into knots gave it a nice uh...gather? Pleats? Not sure what word I need.
Then, I had a problem. Those knots were kinda bulky. I had them double knotted, how else was I gonna get them to stay? I tried tying a single know and then sewing in place. Fail. I tried a bunch of other things to make those damn straps look right and keep that gathered look I wanted. Half hour project came to a stop.
Luckily, I used the power of the internets to look for ideas. They didn't work either. But, I accidentally came up with this!
That's the back strap. I folded it under and sewed it like that, making a little loop. I can tie the front strap through that loop and it just works for me.
See? Front strap goes through the loop and ties into a double knot which somehow looks better. If you think I've already added too many pics, wait until you see the after party: 
Oh, hello there. You'll have to pardon the gratuitous amounts of cheesy modeling pics, but I find myself slightly gorgeous. Look at that dress. I forgot to add the part where I took up the length an inch or two. Keep scrolling for more of the same.
Filters are fun to use
I'm kind of looking forward to trying out that collar I removed by adding it to something else. I've got ideas.


  1. That is SO much cuter! Now you got a 70's disco vibe going, which is always better than Sunday school (ahem at least I think so). I want to do refashions, I even pin like a mofo on pinterest but I haven't made the next big step, actually cutting something up and redoing it. Its only a matter of time, I need to get my hyper focus ON. Gimme some of yours

  2. (whispers) it's called "Adderall." Gets things done! Of course, I should probably be focused on my listings so I can have money, instead of being a narcissistic jerk editing glamour shots of my little frocks.