An Early Fall Beige Brunch Dress

A Fall Floral Top
Bierkeller Dress

The other day, I asked the following question on the ReFashionista Facebook page:

Decisions are hard.
Decisions are hard.

Over 450 of you were kind enough to weigh in, and the 1970’s beige maternity dress on the left was the winner!

Winner...loser...what's the difference?
Winner…loser…what’s the difference?

This is one I’ve had in my stash for a little while, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it.

Lots of you chimed in with the suggestion of saving it to use it to dress as Eleven from Stranger Things for Halloween…

“She’s our friend and she’s CRAZY!!!”

There were exactly two problems with this suggestion for me. First, I already know what my costume is this year (Come on…I plan this stuff months in advance), and second, Eleven’s dress is pink, not beige (which I think is a pretty important detail). Since the dress is polyester, dyeing it would be just about impossible. Even it it were possible, I’d have to remove and reattach the collar, and did I mention I don’t wanna dress as Eleven? ;)

So please, don’t be mad about what I’m about to do…

"Nooooo!" the people who are scouring thrift stores for an Eleven costume scream.
“Nooooo!” the people who are scouring thrift stores for an Eleven costume scream.


Don't worry...I'm going to use them. Just not in the way they were originally intended. :)
Don’t worry…I’m going to use them. Just not in the way they were originally intended. :)

It’s important to note that while it’s technically fall, it’s still also technically 80-something degrees here in SC. Long sleeves still don’t make much sense, and I found these puffy ones stifling.

Another problem with this dress was that front pleating. Originally intended to swath its mom-to-be in folds of polyester comfort, they just made me look dumpy and weird. To get rid of them, I first cut off the side seams from the dress…


…then I cut off the pleated section right below that folded-over part on the front.


The front was much larger than the back (due to the pleating), so I folded it in half, and laid the back part over it, aligning the front fold with the back seam.


I snipped this off…


…and then re-pinned the newly non-pleated front.

Reunited (and why does my hand look so weird???)

I stitched this down…


…and when I was done, the front looked like this:

Whew! Much better!
Whew! Much better!

I re-pinned and stitched the sides as well.

This refashion actually took quite a long time, guys…

Next came the arm holes:

Closing up shop!
Closing up shop!

I tossed my new dress on my dress form for a final fitting…

Almost done!
Almost done!

…and then gave it a new hem.

Such chopping. Very wow.
Such chopping. Very wow.

By this point, I had crossed the line from Fashionably Late to a friend’s brunch to Incredibly Rude. :/ I stitched the two sleeves together, but they were too short to make a proper sash. So, I just tied one of the scraps around my waist, and draped the sleeves over the knot.

I think it turned out quite nice!

I love the collar!
I love the collar!
Just chillin' by my fireplace.
Just chillin’ by my fireplace.
Le back!
Le back!

Luckily, my friends were forgiving of my tardiness once they saw how much work went into this refashion. :)

Of course this gorgeous weather probably helped too. :)
Of course this gorgeous weather probably helped too. :)


Did I mention it’s fall? :D


69 thoughts on “An Early Fall Beige Brunch Dress

  1. Love the dress, but I don’t understand the whole draping of the sleeves. I woyldce grabbed a skinny belt from the closet & just went with that. Of course, solely my opinion & a fantastic refash nonetheless!

    1. I am with these other posters. Love the way your refashion turned out, it’s really quite cute. But, ditch the sleeves and add a belt.

      1. I was so afraid I was just being unnecessarily critical. Minus sleeves-turned-sash-decor, the dress is spot on! A skinny belt or an actual sash from the scraps are both great options. :)

  2. That is so cute and your friend on your right there looks an awful lot like your doppelganger. Do you have a twin/triplet?

  3. I had almost the same dress in blue. After having worn it for months don’t think I ever could have redone it without feeling like the giant whale again!

  4. I love the dress, but as I an old-fashioned, the cuffs on the tie belt bother me. I would have taken the off and finished the belt ends some other way. It turned out very well though. It was really classic to start and you maintained the best of it.

  5. I was with you right up until the sleeves as a belt lol Otherwise I love the dress but I think I have a personal aversion disguised as an allergy to all things polyester. I think it’s from actually having grown up in the 70’s and being chaffed from the friction caused by polyester rubbing on skin lol

  6. Oh, and by the way, I thought the sleeves hanging over the sash were quite fun and unique. Definitely a conversation starter. (Being over 50, I am looking for fun and unique in my life and…being over 50, i pretty much care less and less about what others think about it! It is very freeing!)

  7. I must join the chorus calling to replace the sleeves with another neat waist accessory. Otherwise, I love it!

  8. Great job!!! In full agreement….lose the sleeves…it takes away from the dress…you eye goes to the sleeves instead of the neckline and your face.

  9. It looks very nice
    except for the sleeves dangling from your waist line. I’d have used the fabric you removed from the front sides to make a proper sash and used the sleeves to make facings for the arm holes. but that’ me not you.

  10. Completely love it! Very fashionable and looks great, EXCEPT…….the sleeves! It’s an interesting concept, but they just look weird (sorry!). I would make a sash tie or use a narrow belt instead, although that’s just my preference. Keep the refashions coming, I love them!

  11. I know this beige dress. It was a maternity dress I wore in 1984 when I was pregnant with my daughter. I loved it then and still think it looks nice with your refashioning. However, I have to agree–get rid of the sleeve belt.

  12. I’m curious to know what kind of thread you use. I have the same sewing machine and it has been giving me hell breaking thread in the middle of a seam stitch! Then I have to get the seam ripper out and start all over…if it doesn’t ruin the delicate fabric.

  13. I’m glad you’re not going as Eleven. I don’t want to see that haircut on you again. ;-)
    Love the refash! Something, something sleeves. Can’t wait to see your Halloween costume!

  14. Love this refash! don’t like the belt sleeves though. you could really do something great for a belt for it, look through your stash, I know you have something in there waiting to be used as a belt that would look so much more awesome. I have the same Siamese cat as you, lol.

  15. I recently saw a similar collar sewn “off center front”. It was a unique twist to an old classic. LOVE the dress refashion.

  16. The sleeve treatment is right up there with some of the weirdest clothes I’ve ever seen. Good for you for rocking the weird. I just wish I could have been there during that thought process. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget those sleeves, they’re burned into my retinas. I expect you to up the game now, you know. Next time I want to see a bra or perhaps a pair of tights dangling from your belt. In fact, from now on, I think you should be required to dangle every bit that you cut from a garment from the belt. Make it happen.

  17. Love your refashions…including this dress! But, would prefer leaving the sleeves at home. Oh, I know… You are taking them with you in case it gets cold later!!!

  18. Never would have thought this dress could be saved, but once again you’ve rescued and refashioned it beautifully. Love the dress but agree with the others, ditch the sleeves. You’re the bomb!!

  19. Love the dress and pleased you kept the collar as it now looks the correct proportion for the dress. However I agree with previous comments about the belt, it should be either thin belt or a groovy chain belt to capture that sixties vibe.

  20. It’s a set-up.

    Jillian: “Where did Napoleon keep his armies?”

    Unsuspecting victim: “I don’t know; where?”

    Jillian: “In his sleevies.”

  21. I like this refash. I always love your posts. But I have a question: why does the garment in many of the photos look blue?

  22. A few comments

    1. Love the dress refash!
    2. I’ve followed your blog forever, but I think this is my first comment? Love your stuff!!
    3. Most of the photos, the dress looks blue to me. I totally get the gold-white/blue-black dress controversy that blew up some time back.
    4. My family is in Charleston, but has evacuated to Atlanta thanks to Hurricane Matthew. Thinking of you and hoping you, yours, and your home are safe! Let us know you’re doing okay when you can.


  23. Not liking the use of the sleeves. I think it makes an otherwise beautiful dress look silly. Just my opinion.

  24. This is a super cute dress. I’ve never seen sleeves being used as a belt. I can definitely see why some people find it odd-looking. But you pull it off! I admire your fashion “guts”! :)

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