refashionista polka dot dress featured image
All,  Year 2: The 366 Day Refashion Project

Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form

Day 294: Sea Foam Dream Jacket
Day 292: Marigold Dress

Today’s dress is one hot polka-dotted mess!

refashionista polka dot dress before
I take it back. It’s all mess and sans hot.

This shapeless frock doesn’t have much going for it. It’s pretty much just straight up and down, and not fitted in the waist at all which just seemed wrong for a dress with a loud top pattern and a solid bottom pattern. :/  I don’t wear very much Navy Blue, so that’s nice I guess (meh?).  Aaaaannnnd…that’s pretty much the only compliment I can offer for this thing.

I plopped this ugly thing on my dress form and started pinning the sides to fit.

Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 1
I’m not feeling wildly optimistic, folks.

I stitched each side down…

Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 2
Hmmmnnn…maybe it’ll start taking shape now! 🙂

I cut off the extra fabric, and began to feel better about this dress and those dots.  🙂  Now I just needed to update the length a skosh.  🙂

Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 3
Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 4

Now my dress is looking much better, and fit to be seen in public!  🙂  Jonel even loaned me her sweet new hat for my after pic!

refashionista polka dot dress after
Well I do declayah! 😉
Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 5
…and then she took it back. 🙁
Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 6
Belting out some Earth, Wind, & Fire! 🙂
Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 7
Sam = Karaoke Photographer. 🙂

Cheers!  🙂

refashionista polka dot dress after
refashionista polka dot dress pinterest
Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 8
Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 9

Day 293: Polka Not Dress: How to (Easily) Take in a Thrift Store Dress Using a Dress Form 10


  • Cat

    Wow…people need to get a thicker skin. I came here to see some creativity. Guess it’s my own fault for reading the comments. Really tired of whiners on most every site. No one can live and let live any more BTW, great job on the dress remake.

  • Tamara

    I love what you do with the clothes. Great ideas great finds. I’m a plus size woman & I do just the opposite. If I see something I love, but may be a little too tight or short, I add to it, ex. Cut at the seams on sides, add a long strip of lace or material. Both sides, see back up. New to me shirt. Thanks for the ideas.

  • donna waterman

    I think all shapes and sizes watch your incredible talent ,and also a plus size woman myself knows this isnt about us, its a beautiful blog on how we can take clothing thats outdated or wrong sizes or just needing to be renewed or saved and lets not forget the savings in spending a little time,using our imaginations and making our own recreations.What an wonderful feeling to be so artistic as well as sharing to all of us whom follow your neat works of art,which works for all shapes and sizes,thanks for your kindness and smarts…Have a pretty Day

  • Angie

    I havE so much fun looking at your refashions. I would be a beginner if I tried this. I haven’t got a dress form & probably won’t. I’ve been underweight and overweight for the last 20 years due to health. I think doing this would be so helpful for me as I’m a weird shape anyway. In your experience is refashioning something even I could do with my limited skill and tools? Thanks for sharing your talent and fun refashions with the world!

  • Janice

    The size issue overshadowed the purpose of your blog. To be creative and have FUN.
    I love what you do!! Makes me want to get up and SEW!! I love thrifting, love repurposing and recreating….you are amazing and inspiring… You go girl and don’t let anyone get you down!!
    P.s I am a plus size and agree that so much out there is dreadful, so get out there and make it you own. Don’t settle!!!

  • Jennie

    My aunt was head seamstress at Adler’s in KC. She had a client that would buy a smaller size dress than one her size, then my aunt would have to contact the company that made the dress and buy fabric so she could remake it fit–it was all in the label that stated the size of the dress. A size 8 dress was remade to fit a size 12 lady. My aunt said the client was very wealthy and the cost for making the dress fit made the dress cost twice as much. Go figure!!!!

  • missumlaut

    I specially like the comment about “average person” not existing. I not longer am young and fit,and never was average, being very short (148 cm). I nowsize 14 and 12 and 10 and may be a bit 8 or less, too…Depends of where you mesure. It make me rather sympathetic to tall, skinny, big or bottomless people !
    First, you have an eye for style, thait is : your own style, what suit you.
    You are creative and fun, what we need is not war between small and big (that’s ridiculous at best) but more fun and creativity for all and everyone. And…Sewing for oneself is a way to cope with body confidence problems. On another side, I envy you your access to used garnments. Here thrift stores are not many, not so cheap and dont offer bags of crazy things. The damaged and too crazy things go to a recycling circuit. I hope you will inspire refashionists site for big, large, long or short people. By respecting ourselves, we may learn to repect others, and the whole. Doing what we can.
    I’ll try to think taking before-after shots for my next upcycling project.

  • Kelly

    You did a great job chick! I run an alterations/costume/repairs business and know the work and grey matter involved in the projects you do and think you’re brill 🙂 please ignore the nonsense being thrown around about you being ‘sizest’….I’ve been big and I’ve been scrawny and know that I wasn’t happy being either size and constantly felt judged by people…now im a healthy happy size 14-16 and honestly couldn’t give a shiny s#@! What people think about me but still buzz at making gorgeous girls of all shapes and sizes feel FANTASTIC in the clothing I tweak for them! as it turns out most clothes are made for a standerdised size that doesn’t exist and really do look frumpy on both the size they were meant for or a smaller person…keep doing what you’re doing and please ignore the knee jerk reactions of overly sensitive souls…hopefully they’ll also get to a place where they are comfortable enough with themselves to not view everything they read/hear as a jab at their size!!!

  • Candy

    There are no perfect bodies shopping in the second hand market. Every woman I’ve ever known has had issues with fit. You see people with muffin top jeans and you see people that swim in their clothing. Personally, I am about a size 16 or so on top and about a 10 on the bottom. I am apple/or inverted triangle shaped. I am 5’3 and my perfect inseam is 33 inches. My dad once remarked to my mom that I looked like a basketball on soda straws. I have to buy separates (not easy in the used thrift shop/yard sale world) or alter everything I wear. I love your blog and your refashions inspire me.

    Some folks just need to get over it. I envy your size and cuteness, but I also know that someone discarded each and every thing you refashion. I know you buy bags of clothing for $1; this is stuff the thrift shops have had a while and about to be sent to a recycler or landfill. I admire your use of resources and I LOVE your imagination and talent.

  • Donna

    As a plus size woman,I think your intellect and talent should be applauded.Great job on all your great finds and ideas.I love the hunt in a thrift for material,especially when the cost of fabric is so high now a days,you can’t find the artistic designs in the newer clothing like the older outfits.Why pay high prices when you can find bargains without paying the mighty fortune. Great ideas,Even for me a plus size this helps me put together nicer looks too.Thanks crafty Fashionista,your sewing is too cool,love it.

  • Marti

    I’m not the skinniest chicken in the coop, nor am I the youngest. I saw that dress and MY reaction was OMG! All that cool fabric for a buck! I could DO something with that. LOL

    Do I wish I were size nothing? Of course. Do I wish I were mumble mumble mumble years younger? Hell, yeah. But I’m not and I’m not. We have to work with what we’ve got. If you’ve got a larger frame, then google ‘refashioning clothes for larger women’ and guess what — you will get sites where you can see just that. Really cool. If a skinny chick buys large sizes and refashions instead of buying her size, so what? Don’t follow the blog if it offends you.

    I like it because it gives me sewing ideas.

    Carry on, Mz. ReFashionista

  • refahsinmyfuture

    now poor above mentioned hat has low self esteem, if there is a wine binge in it’s future please be sure I’m invited

  • Cass

    Also, the size of the print on an article of clothing needs to be proportionate to the size of the article to look right, and in this case the dots were too small for a dress of that size. Bigger dots would work for the original size, and would have looked weird when taken in.

  • Cass

    Calling a completely shapeless dress with a potentially awkward waistline isn’t an insult. If you look at the pictures, the actual SHAPE of the dress was changed when it was taken in to be smaller at the waist, which makes it more flattering – nothing a girl who fit into the dress pre-alteration couldn’t do (no sew? Rock a belt).

    You are very wrong about the hat; either way there was no need to insult it. Come on. It’s a hat. Leave it alone.

  • Elliott

    and…yet you are offending and assuming a bigger girl couldn’t rock the above frock in the same manner. I get a vibe from several of your posts that bigger clothes=uglier clothes=are only better when small. it’s cool you’re small, but that hat was ugly on anyone of any size.

  • Kotoni

    Hi there! I found your blog through my fashion community on LJ. As a fat girl I’d like to let you know that most of us find it insulting that when describing the article of clothing in its ‘before’ state you call it ugly, frumpy, etc., even though the only alteration you make is to fit it to your size and shape. I think it would be much more constructive if instead of making fun of a dress because it is sized for fat women you could put emphasis on how a properly fitted garment makes everyone look better, regardless of that person’s size or shape.

    • ReFashionista

      I swear I’m only describing the clothing, not people. A lot of plus-sized clothing isn’t designed to be flattering for plus-sized women, and that’s an issue. A larger chick could do exactly what I’m doing to make these frumptastic clothes cute and fun for them too. I just happen to be scrawny, so I have to take a lot of things in as well. I don’t mean to offend.

      • Angelia

        Someone needs to get over it!! I’m a larger size (fat is not in my self descriptive vocabulary) and I have no issue with any of your frumptastic comments. And you are right Jillian, a lot of plus-sized clothing is unflattering and, well, frumpy. Most every piece of clothing I own has been altered in some form or fashion to make it look better. And since finding your blog last month (which I ADORE and visit almost daily) I have been in search of frumpy, unflattering, very large sized clothing so I can attempt similar refashions (and they are surprisingly hard to find). While not all of them look as good as yours do, I will say that I am having a super fun time and have ended up with some really cute dresses! Thank you so much for your inspiration!! Cheers, from a larger sized woman to you, you scrawny, uber-creative, funny little thing you! = P

        • Angel

          I’m with ya on this one Angelia. I found the site on Pinterest, LOVED it, then when I checked the comments was shocked at the backlash. Everything from, the clothes are meant for “poor fat people” so should be left for them, to she was mocking “fat people clothes” because of the look on her face in the pictures. I’m a tight budget thick girl. Thrift equals easily over 75% of my wardrobe and that’s not including all the hand me downs and gifts that are usually all thrift stuff to.
          People will find something to be upset with if that’s the life they want to create around them. They will find something wrong. In the mean time we can continue enjoying ourselves until they install clothing size mediation at the thrift stores to monitor or size purchasing.

      • Judith Cardassilaris

        You are, by far, the absolutely most original talent I have seen on the web/Pinterest…..I have enjoyed all of your posts …I think you could have been a “Silent Movie star”…..Love your garments…even though I could not wear them…you are inspiring….

    • LKate

      And this doesn’t even get into the immense exploitation of thin privilege it took for her to take a plus sized item and destroy it to make it fit her, since there are tons of things available in her size and very few that would fit someone who wears the size this dress is. Appalling.

      • ReFashionista

        Seriously? This is the battle you’re picking today? *sigh* Okay…I’ll bite (I usually don’t feed the trolls). The dress wasn’t destroyed. I found it at a charity thrift shop for a dollar and made it fit me. End of story. I’m not going to turn down a sweet find based on the size of the garment. I promise I didn’t rip it out of anyone’s hands when I chose it. Calm down.

        The only reason I’m responding to this comment is because you chose to mention “thin privilege”. Dude. That is not a thing. When you thin privilege peeps talk about “thin privilege,” I’m pretty sure you actually mean “average privilege.” It’s the privilege that comes from being straight, decently intelligent, not ugly, neither fat nor thin, neither tall nor short, just nothing really out of the ordinary. The world was made for this “average person” who really doesn’t actually exist—everyone has something that isn’t average.

        Do left-handed people complain about it? Tall people? Ugly people? I have a funny looking face (as many “fatspo” -Their word. Not mine.- bloggers have pointed out…a bit hypocritical no?), but it doesn’t make me get all up in arms over pretty people.

        Sorry people are jerks. I get it. But really, if you stick out at all, people are going to be jerks about it. It sucks. I understand. But pitting really thin people against really fat people won’t do any more than pitting right handed people against left handed people.

      • Lori

        Thin privilege? LKate, I am a plus-sized woman. I think you are completely absurd. Exploitation? I know for sure that you are trying to blame this lady for your own bad habits. Overweight is a choice, and you know it. You are appalling.

      • Neither fat nor thin

        What an absurd statement! What did she “exploit?” Her sewing skills, a shapeless dress, her own time, her ability to inspire others to create a one of a kind piece? Just FYI, our country is overrun with clothing, to the point that we are shipping it overseas by the cargo load and turning it into rags. You are highly misinformed on that one. And the “thin privilege” comment doesn’t deserve my time. Carry on Refashionistista!!

    • Shana

      Please let me start by saying that the original dress would fit me just the way it was. However, it was also a bit square and boxy. We all know that no woman… No matter what her size….is not that shape. Real women have curves! I do not think her comments were about the size or shape of the woman in the dress but the dress itself. She took this dress from a pencil design to an A line shape. It accentuates a curvy shape.

What do you think?

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