Yacht Rock Dress

How to Add a Fantastic Elastic Waist to Just About Any Dress!
Not Quite Red Dress

When I received a pair of tickets in the mail for the annual Free Times Best of Columbia Party, I was delighted and surprised!  I started freelancing with them this year, but still didn’t expect to be invited to one of THE best parties of the year!

This year’s theme was “Yacht Rock”, and I had just the nautical number for the evening!




Oh dear.  This would not do.  Those shoulder pads!  That terrible fit!  And what about these?!?


Just say "No" to bows!

Just say “No” to bows!


My first priority was to get rid of those massive pads!


Don't worry guys!  You'll make a swell sunglasses case later!

Don’t worry guys! You’ll make a swell sunglasses case later!


I knew I needed to raise that dated waistline.  The quickest and easiest way to do this was to chop off the top!  I wanted to keep the functionality of the back zipper, so I made sure the pull was on the bottom part before I cut.


How’d my foot get in the shot?


I closed up that raw edge…

Pin it all around, then stitch it!

Pin it all around, then stitch it!


You can see where I folded that zipper under twice just like the rest of the dress.  Don’t worry.  If you have a good strong needle, it’ll sew over it, and you’ll be fine.  You might have to sew a hook-and-eye closure above it, but luckily I didn’t need to.

After I stitched that top raw edge down, I needed to sew down that front placket.  This dress was about to get super-fitted, so I really didn’t want any gappage!


Stitch it down!

Stitch it down!


I tossed my dress on my form inside-out and got it fitted!


Shaping up!

Shaping up!


I stitched down each side…





…then replaced one of the buttons that fell off in the refashioning process…


Just a quick bit of stitchery!

Just a quick bit of stitchery!


…and added on a little something extra to the bottom hem!


Wait...what is this sorcery???

Wait…what is this sorcery???


Isn't is amazeballs?

Notice what’s wrong?  I didn’t! :/


Now I’m ready to board the yacht!





This party was a BLAST!  I had so much fun hanging out with some of the coolest people in Columbia!


...like Kaitlin and Erin here!

…like Kaitlin and Erin here!


Or Best Local Artist runner-up, That Godzilla Guy and his lovely wife!

Or Best Local Artist runner-up, That Godzilla Guy and his lovely wife!


Or lovely local actress, Evelyn!

Or lovely local actress, Evelyn!


Even my buddy Ellis made a showing!

Even my buddy Ellis made a showing!


Ron and I shared a prom-esque moment...

Ron and I sharing a prom-esque moment…


Of COURSE one of the men behind Bourbon came out to celebrate!

Of COURSE one of the men behind Bourbon came out to celebrate!


I had a fantastic evening, and my fingers are crossed that I get invited next year too!  :)


Photobooth Shenanigans!

Photobooth Shenanigans!







    • Gah! My sewing machine needs a spell check! Guess it’s time to start unpicking! :/ *sigh*

      • Eh, let it go and see if anyone notices the “H” is missing. If so, they must be very interested in you to notice such a small detail. I LOVE your page, it’s so much fun
        ! I have shared your link with a few women who I know enjoy your site as well! :o)
        The only constructive comment I would venture to say about this great navy n red dress is that I think closer button placement on the front would suit your petite size better, have more impact and a little authority without losing any of the fun. (yet another small detail) IMHO, only. What do you think?

  1. The dress looks awesome! That necklace is cool too, can you post a pic of it? Did you make it?

    • You GO Sophie!! If you like it, please share with us. If you don’t, recycle it and move on and try another one and have FUN with it. and share what worked and what didn’t, would love to learn along with you. :o)

  2. You really are very creative in seeing something incredible out of outdated fashions. I enjoy seeing what you imagine. Keep up the great work.

  3. another huge success. PS – may have found a solution to one of your pet hates. Underarm sweat stains. If you dissolve 3 or 4 aspirins in a bowl of water and leave the gross thing to soak for a good number of hours, the stains normally disappear. I’ve sometimes had to soak a second or 3rd time but normally a 3 or 4 hour soak does it

  4. I love all of your refashionings, but do you ever use someone that isn’t quite as petite as you, and something that isn’t always strapless? I’m not very petite, nor am I young enough to wear some of the stuff that you refashion. I would love to see some stuff for slightly older and fuller women.

    • She clearly refashions all the garments for her own use. Maybe try refashioning your own stuff?

    • I think she had a few different sized RF makeover models when she was on GMA. Guess it’s up to us to apply her Refashionista fun to clothing our own different bodies. (Takes a LOT more fabric these days for me, LOL!) Or maybe she will have a contest where the winner gets to RF with her and learn some fun cutting and whirring lessons while ending up with smart fun fashion. hinty hint hint lol. :o)

    • Yeah, that wouldn’t make any sense. She’s making clothes to wear herself — why would she do something too big and too old for her?

  5. Awesome job! At first I thought you were going for one of those super high fitted waists with it but the surprise of it becoming a strapless number left ne totally impressed. If you add some mouse ears and change the buttons to yellow you could also go out as Mickey Mouse, if the need ever arised, lol.

  6. Very clever and cute as usual! I am petite like you but not as young, I would simply add straps made from the cut off material, perhaps attaching a button from the dress on each strap. (Older women could wear a little shrug sweater to hide their wiggly upper arms if need be.) I think your strapless bra is peeking out in a couple of those photos, you might want to try “bra tape”.

    Keep ’em coming, I love all of your refashions, they are truly inspirational!:)
    I actually pulled my sewing machine out of storage a few weeks ago and have redone a few items of clothing already with more projects waiting.

    • Her strapless bra is peeking out?? Good heavens, who cares. In 2014 we should be glad her boob isn’t peeking out. Jill has always been appropriate in her refashions, chill out.

  7. Great job, since I can’t wear strapless, the ladies always need a bit of help, I never think of that as an option, you really found a great dress from that other thing and it looks like you were able to keep the pockets, which are so coveted these days, I don’t know why designers still don’t add them to garments since all us ladies have our phones on us at all times.

  8. I love your stuff, don’t take this the wrong way but if I weighed 3 pounds like you do I would be smoking hot as well – wish you would show us size 16 – 18 ladies what we could do :)

    • Extrapolate, extrapolate, extrapolate! (Sorry, couldn’t resist the cheesy Dr. Who reference :)

    • I’m unsure of how she would go about doing that…Jillian is the size she is, and she sews clothing for herself, you know? Maybe there’s another refashioner out there who has a different body type.

  9. Really cute. You always amaze me at what you can make out of something no one would wear! Thanks for showing us your projects.

  10. ADORABLE!!! I love your creative eye!!!…I find myself getting excited for the finnale! ..sew on..

  11. This dress is adorable. Nobody would ever guess its humble beginnings. I love it.

  12. Love it!!!! I see so many gastly dresses like this on dollar racks. So happy to see you do something amazing with it. Great idea adding your name to the dress. How about designing some designer labels for your unique creations.

  13. You are freakin brilliant. I could not picture this dress turning out to be cute and I love the finished product. Love your blog. It’s very inspiring. Makes me want to get back into refashioning.

  14. That is a perfect yacht party dress. Wow I’m so impressed first, that you were able to find it at thrift store in time for party and then so impressed with how you made it so pretty for this party. You have such a cute figure. Just love receiving your refashion posts!

  15. The dress rocks! Did I miss something, or is the “refashionista” missing the “H” in the embroidery? Not to be “picky” :)

  16. CUTE! For the person who didn’t want it to be strapless, I would say there was probably enough fabric that she cut off this one that could be made in to straps and since it has a zipper up the back it would work fine. Straps are super easy to make (and as I type this I’m getting ideas about a dress I bought that shrunk…)

    Jillian-you must have the worlds biggest sunglass case collection by now!

    • Y’know…I DID just stop dating a fella whose first name started with an “H”. Mayhaps something was going on in my subconscious mind????

  17. So much fun! I really enjoy all your blogs. I’m inspired to try a few designs myself. Wonderful that you promote local artist as well. Great inspiration. Thank you.

    • It KIND of is. I have yet to find one (even an adjustable one) that syncs perfectly with my weirdo body shape. I bought it from Amazon after reading other folks’ reviews of a few models. It was around $100. Well worth it.

  18. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this dress! Is there any time where you have had to add some “structure” to support the top of a dress that you have “lopped off”?

  19. I did get a giggle out of the refasionista. Mostly because I never catch those things either. But here’s the good thing, a seam ripper can take that out for you :). You have a great eye for taking something real terrible and making it wearable.

  20. Does no one want to know about Ellis? Everyone is talking about the missing H and I’m like where did that cutie come from! Oh, the dress looks lovely, as usual!

      • I’m pretty partial, but Ellis is an uberhottie! I LOVE this dress and hate that I couldn’t make it to this party.

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