Lessons learned from Refashioning Dresses

The Yellow Dress

This was probably the easiest refashion project I’ve ever done! The dress fit perfectly except the sleeves had no lining like the body did, and so it showed a little more of my shoulder than I wanted. I went to TJ Maxx with my dress and found the perfect colored tee!

I cut out the sleeves from the t-shirt and top-stitched them right into the dress and that was that!

I probably could have gotten the line closer to the edge but because of the lace you can barely notice the second stitch I added around the sleeve.

The Vintage Dress

One of my very first ‘refashion’ although all I did was replace the buttons! I bought the dress from a vintage shop on Etsy and I am absolutely in love with it.

I also added a piece of velcro to help with that pesky hole dresses like these make. I did a pretty bad job at attaching these snaps so it’s about time for me to redo it and secure them a bit more!

  The Denim Dress

This was a dress I wore a lot before I got married but it is just short enough to not be comfortable anymore. I went to Hobby Lobby and found some lace trim that was long enough to give the dress enough length. Then I just stitched right along the top. This one took a few tries because the lace kept getting stuck in my machine but eventually I got it to work.

I accidentally cut it too short and so I had to have two spots that connect together. Lesson learned: measure twice, cut once!

The UK Floral Dress

I saw this dress on Instagram and instantly fell in love with it! Found out they were selling it on Asos but it was sold out. I ended up just searching for it online since I knew some dresses on Asos were from other stores and lo and behold, the dress is from a shop in the UK! So I bought my size and waited patiently for my beautiful new dress!

When I finally got home from Spring Break and got the dress in the mail I tried it on and realized I made a horrible mistake. I did not realize I had bought a UK size instead of an US size (who would have thought? ha). So the dress was way too small and there wasn’t a way to return it. I let it sit in my closet for a few weeks and then decided that if I was going to spend that much money on a dress and not wear it I had to do something about it.

So I cut down the sides and decided to try to add gussets (yikes!). I had no idea what I was doing but I found some stretchy navy knit fabric and started experimenting with pins until I got it just right.

This was by far the messiest refashion job I’ve done but there were so many little pieces like adding a V below the waistline and then opening up the sleeve a tiny bit. Luckily everywhere else fit great!

Because there was very little seam on the dress originally, I had to sew very close to the edge which has caused some worn over time. I’m hoping this is an easy fix but lesson learned: try to allow yourself as much seam as possible! Overall I am very proud of this refashion and absolutely love wearing this dress!

The Gold Dress

I bought this dress for my cousin’s wedding and I needed to add sleeves and a bit more length in order for it to be appropriate. I was home for the summer and left it to last minute before the wedding and my mom came to save the day and help me finish it on time! I spent a long time beforehand finding just the right material which you could imagine was very hard to find but I think it ended up looking very nice!

My mom did all of the sewing so it is MUCH more clean than my work. I love how this hem is so beautiful and professional looking!

My mom even hand-stitched the sleeve in after spending a few hours making sure it was even and just right! I have the best mom ever!

The Black Checkered Dress

I found this dress on Assos and loved it. But it was just a bit too long and there was an awkward length of a sleeve. I cut off a few inches of the hem and had enough to make little sleeves to help hide unwanted areas. I went very slow with this piece knowing it needed to be clean.

Another one where I pinned like crazy and tried on the dress about 20 times before I dared sew it on. Lesson learned from this project was that the seam or extra fabric right on the end of the sleeve should be kept much smaller so when I put the dress on they don’t flop out like they do now. I love this dress now and once I decide how to add a little bit in the front (I hate showing cleavage) I won’t have to worry about wearing anything underneath it!

The Bright Blue Dress

I’ve posted about this dress before, it’s one of the more recent refashioning projects. You can read the whole post here. This one was quite simple, just cutting and hemming it smaller. It did take some time because I wanted the sleeves to hit at an angle and so that meant trying it on what felt like hundreds of times before I was ready to sew. I would measure and pin and also decided by eye what looked best.

There are one or two spots where the fabric tucked or I was pulling the fabric too tight but when worn it is pretty hidden. Like I’ve said plenty of times, I am not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing. I hope I’ll almost be there.

The Anthropologie Dress

My mother got me this dress for my birthday when she knew I was eyeing it for a while. I love love it but needed some extra fabric to hide the bottom spot where it hit a little too high. I guess I could have gone with a simple cream fabric but I couldn’t find the right color until I found some lace trim which I thought would help keep that textured look there.

Because there was already a little seam inside the dress, I could sew right on there without having any stitch show on the outside of the dress! I left the bottom untouched and then top stitched down the two front sides very carefully so you could barely see the line from the original stitch.

Next I need to add a stitch of an extra button so the bottom four inches stop flying apart when I sit down. I would love to add a button so the dress can stay open in the front but I’ll probably just add a stitch since that’s much easier.

The 90’s Dress

I have also blogged about this dress, which was my very first refashion and turned into one of my biggest ones to date. I have a lot hate relationship with this dress, I’ll just say that.

This dress was my mother’s dress for a friend’s wedding in the 90’s. It had a big lacy collar and everything! When we ripped the collar off, the sleeves were nothing but little strips and didn’t cover much at all (it was a big collar!). Luckily with the amount we ended up cutting off the bottom I literally had just enough to add my own sleeves. But that meant there was no room for error.

My mom came to the rescue and helped me pin and practice the sleeves on muslin just to make sure I got it right. Once I got one sleeve on I realized we needed to add elastic to the top so that it wasn’t so open. Using that dang elastic and making sure it stayed in place while sewing turned out to be a bigger problem than I expected (I didn’t have the greatest pins at the time). But after hours of slaving away I finally finished and I wear it around Christmastime every year!

Definitely still has that 90’s vibe but that look has come back in recent years so I love wearing it. Learned a huge amount of lessons and have a few fixes now that it’s been worn a few times but another dress I’m very proud of!

And that’s it! All 9 dresses I have refashioned and I’m hoping to find a few more to add to my little collection soon! Eventually I would love to make a dress from scratch or take big refashion projects like Sarah but practice makes perfect so I’ll just keep practicing!

Which one of the dresses is your favorite? I don’t think I could ever choose!

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