Wannabe Wednesday: Jilly Pulitzer Vol. 2

Rachel's Reader ReFash!
Q&A Monday: A Life Refashioned?

I’ve been putting off refashioning this dress for months.  I just wasn’t quite sure where to go with it!

C'mon, Jillian!  Any step forward is in the right direction!
C’mon, Jillian! Any step forward is in the right direction!

This house dress-y frock’s amazing print drew me right in!  It also reminded me of something…

Hi Lilly!  :)
Hi Lilly! :)

You’re looking at a 1960’s pic of Lilly Pulitzer, aka “The Queen of Prep”.  Her original simple dresses made of vibrant patterns are still a major influence for the Lilly Pulitzer brand today.  I’m a big fan of her designs.  I’ve even done a Lilly Copycat before, and I’ve been wanting to do a tribute piece since her death last month (April 7, 2013).  I may not be a wealthy socialite (in fact, I’m quite certain I’m not), but I think I can emulate Lilly’s fun & breezy style!

A new Lilly Pulitzer dress sells for about $200.  Let’s see if I can make a suitable knockoff for $1!  :)

More Lilly!  :)
More Lilly! :)

Most of Lilly’s dresses were sleeveless, so a bit of ripping was in order.

Rrrrrip off those sleeves!
Rrrrrip off those sleeves!
Douglas supervised!
Douglas supervised!

Then, I pinned and stitched down my raw edges.


My new dress was beginning to look Lilly-ish, but it still needed a final fitting!  My dress form happily obliged.

She's so patient...and so great at standing still!
She’s so patient…and so great at standing still!
Take it in, then snip off that extra fabric!
Take it in, then snip off that extra fabric!

I’m almost done!  :)

All I had to do now was figure out what to do with that now-collarless neckline.

Give me a "V"!!!
Give me a “V”!!!

After stitching down my new V, and giving my dress a good press, I was ready for a HAWT South Carolina day!

I did not ride either of these bikes, btw.
I did not ride either of these bikes, btw.

I wore my new dress to the Grand Opening of Columbia, SC’s first brewery, Conquest!  For those of you in bigger cities, this might not sound like a big deal.  But this is a HUGE event here.  People waited in line for an hour in the hot sun just to get a sampling of our local brew!  :)

Many beers were tasted!

Dan schmoozes with one of the founders of Conquest
Dan schmoozes with one of the founders of Conquest

Much photoboming occurred!

Really, Ken?
Really, Ken?
Great!  Now he has Erin doing it too!  :/
Great! Now he has Erin doing it too! :/
We clearly have an epidemic on our hands!
We clearly have an epidemic on our hands!

I like to think Lilly would be pleased with my little homage.  :)


Original Cost:  $200

Copycat Cost:  $1

Savings:  $199!


4.9 (97.67%) 103 votes

76 thoughts on “Wannabe Wednesday: Jilly Pulitzer Vol. 2

  1. You are so talented!! This makes me aspire to really go to my new sewing machine. For a beginner sewing woman who is 5’3″, 34/27/36, 110 lbs..
    What adjustable dress making form would you recommend? I want it to be accurate, yet affordable. I don’t want to purchase a cheap one now, only to outgrow it in a year? I would really love your input! There’s too many to choose from. :)

    1. minibux, you can make your own dressform with duct tape, newspaper+batting stuffing, a cheap Goodwill lamppost, a bottle of wine, a great friend and a little bit of time!! Google a DIY dressform for the deets, it’s cheap, fits you exactly, and you can just make another one later if your size changes!

      1. Waaayyy cool Melissa! Thank-you! I only saw a tutorial tat involved plaster of paris banages (too bad I dont work in surgery anymore I used to have them!) and some noxious toxic foam stuff tat looked rather expensive and hard to find…..

        could you post a link perHaps?

  2. Great job with the Refash! I love this site! You are so creative and I look forward to all your projects.

  3. sqee! i’m commenting before reading because i was waiting with antici pation for you to take this one off the rack!!!!!!
    just looked at the picture! adorb!!!!

  4. I just have to say thank you. I lost a lot of weight over the last year and as a result I have bags of clothes that are now too big but I kept because they are still good. Thanks to you I have started altering t shirts and have plans for a skirt, dress, and pants.

  5. I love it! It’s my favorite. you are really an inspiration for people on a tight budget who still want to wear up to date styles. If only I knew how to operate my sewing machine!

  6. Reblogged this on Trendy, Thrifty, Now! and commented:
    When I think of beach attire I immediately think of “The Queen of Prep”, ” The Princess of Prints”, the flamingo pink and apple green of Lilly . The bright prints, quality fabric, and classic cuts are the epitome of resort wear, which is why I had to reblog this beautiful Lilly inspired frock by Columbia, SC blogger Jillian Owens of ReFashionista Blog

    Surprisingly, our local Goodwills ( lower South Carolina) receive a decent number of brand new ( with tags) and gently used Lilly pieces. From bathing suits to shift dresses, we’ve seen it all donated!

  7. This has to be one of my favorite refashions you’ve ever done! FAB!!! And inspiring. My machine is out….now to find some cheapy thrift store dresses!

  8. I have been admiring your work for a while and finally decided to comment. I LOVE this refashion!!! My favorite yet. Keep it up – love all of your ideas!

  9. Adorable! I love the color and print of this dress…what you did with it make it chic and upda.ted, great job! You look smashing, I like the head scarf as well.

    1. LOVE your site! Are y’all in the UK???? The “London look” is always ahead of the game and sooooo super cool!

  10. I thought of Lilly P right away when I saw the first photo – I think she would be VERY impressed! I LOVE the print and colors, and in fact, I like your end result better than most Lilly dresses I’ve seen. It’s very flattering on you – great job yet again! Please keep showing us pix of Douglas – he’s so darn cute!

  11. One of my favorites you’ve done! I love the finished product!! Great job maybe you’ll get a spin off line…Lilly Jilly?

  12. I would’ve done that dress as soon as I bought it. Love the design and us Floridians love us some Lily.

  13. So cute; thanks for the link, too. I don’t know much about brands, so it was interesting to learn about Lilly!

  14. I think this is one of my favorites! At first I expected a dye bath. I totally didn’t envision your final product from your first pic!

  15. Hi Jillian! I just LOVE this refashion! LOVE the print, it’s gorgeous!!! So lovely!
    Kisses from Portugal!

  16. I’m a HUGE fan of Lilly Pulitzer fashions. When I lived in Pittsburgh, I found a gently used Lilly Pulitzer dress in my size for $4.00 at one of my favorite thrift stores in the area, and I often find that brand for bargains at the thrift stores in that area. I still travel to the ‘burgh for bargain hunting because the thrift stores in North Central West Virginia don’t really have too much – I live in a college town, so most of the stuff there is either the “Forever 21”-type junior clothing throwaways or COUNTERFEIT designer handbags and shoes. But I digress….back to your post.

    You can DEFINITELY see the Lilly Pulitzer inspiration in your after dress. The print and the line is very Pulitzer, and the style flatters your figure very well. I’ve read through your posts, and like a fine wine, you’ve gotten better. Will you start selling your creations soon?


  17. I think you should hem the dress so it falls right above the knee. It looks great and I’m so glad your doing what you do. Keep the long leg line by hemming it an inch.

    1. Yup I agree with Lauren….. could use a wee bit of a hem..I lived through that era and that far below the knee wasn’t “in”……AWESOME lil frock though, tanks for the info about Lilly….I have heard the name in passing years ago….great story on how she made those frocks herself to slave away in the heat at a juice stand at her hubby’s grove and turned it into something much bigger….wasn’t easy for a gal to do back then…

  18. I love this dress! I wish I wasn’t so anti girly and could wear a dress for more than 10 minutes without fleeing to my closet to put some shorts on! I have been working on refashioning though! Once I can do more than cut off the sleeves of a shirt I will send it to you!

  19. What a great refashion! I just bought a dress for 50 cents at a garage sale and I can’t wait to refashion it. BTW: I just started a new sewing blog: http://www.MySewingHabit.blogspot.com and posted a refashion (and will post more). Can you check it out and follow? ALso, do you do blogger spotlights? I’d love to do a refashion for a spotlight if you do them.

    P.S. I’m having a threads magazine giveaway if you want to enter! http://mysewinghabit.blogspot.com/2013/06/threads-magazine-junjul-2013-giveaway.html

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