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’80s Maternity Dress Refashion

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It’s officially Spooky Season here at Refashionista Headquarters! I can’t decide which is scarier…this ’80s maternity dress, or well…me in this picture.

refashionista 80s Maternity Dress Refashion Before
Well…this is scary.

You guys. This is the roughest-looking before pic I have ever taken. When I first looked at it, I knew it reminded me of something…

haunted doll
It me.

Yep. I basically look like a haunted doll from ebay (read the product descriptions if you’re in need of a laugh).

I took one look at that pic and immediately decided to take a 30 minute nap.

Back to the dress.

I found this dress on the $1 rack at my thrift store which is not at all surprising as it’s a super frumpy ’80s maternity dress that I seriously can’t imagine anyone wanting as-is.

Kathryn & Co. label
I assume the “Co.” is referring to the bebe.

Thankfully for my childbearing friends, maternity clothing has come a looooong way fashion-wise and they no longer have to dress like patterned lampshades while with child.

There are a few things I really liked about this dress.

The print is cheery and unique. The fabric is gauzy and light, which was perfect for the 80-something degree temps we’ve been experiencing here in SC (Where’d ya go, fall?). I also liked that bottom pleated skirt section.

Let’s remove some stuff!

To get started, I grabbed my seam ripper and carefully unpicked a few things.

First, I tackled those shoulder pads.

removing shoulder pads
Unpicking those spoooooky shoulder pads!

The sleeves came next.

I like to watch TV while I’m doing any time-consuming seam ripping.

removing sleeve with seam ripper
Trying to get into the Halloween mood by watching The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix.

After about 40 minutes or so, I was done!

removed sleeves and shoulder pads on floor

Next, I carefully snipped off that lace collar.

snipping out collar

Let’s fix those arm holes!

I pinned the arm holes under twice to hide the raw edge, then I stitched them down.

pinned arm hole
No fraying here!
sewing arm hole

Now that the arm holes are done, it’s time to take the dress in a lil bit!

I always try to finish the arm holes before taking anything in, as it helps them lay down better and prevents them from being super gape-y.

I pinned each side of my dress, making sure to keep it roomy enough for me to be able to slide in on and off (since there are no closures on the body of the dress).

pinning side of dress
Just a bit!

Then, I stitched them down.

taking in side of dress

I cut off the excess fabric, making sure to hold on to one of the scraps.

scrap of fabric
You’ll come into play later, friend!

A New Neckline

I didn’t care for the original neckline of dress. Removing the lace collar helped a bit, but I thought it would look much better as a V-neck.

Luckily, the back of this dress had a button neck closure and the front and back of the dress were identical otherwise (no bust darts or anything like that to foil my plans).

I removed the button from the back of the dress.

seam ripping off button
Don’t needja.

Then, I used my seam ripper to deepen that V.

unpicking v-neck
It’s hard to see in this pic due to the pattern. Sorry. :/

I pinned each side of my new neckline down…

pinned v-neck

…then put it under the needle.

sewing v-neck down
Gimme a V!

Let’s Refash a sash!

Remember those sleeves? I grabbed one, and cut off one end at an angle, then sewed it off.

sewing off end of sleeve

When I turned it inside-out, it looked like this:

sleeve scrap
Huh? C’mon! Even my waist isn’t that teeny.

I tied the long scrap from the side of the dress around my waist and draped the finished sleeve scrap over the knot to make a faux sash!

Here’s my newly-revamped maternity dress now!

80s maternity dress refashion after
Whew! Looking much less scary now!

I’m so happy with this one! The new V-neck totally works, and that print looks so cute now that it’s being featured on a breezy sundress.

side view of dress
View from the side!

Here’s a closer look of how my sash works:

underside of fake sash
What trickery is this?
closeup of sash
The sleeve is just literally flopped over the scrap.

I wore my new dress to a nearby polling location and did my civic duty. The line was long (and it was really hot out) but I made a plan to vote on this day, so I stuck to it. 🙂

refashionista with I Voted sticker
Make a plan to vote!

After voting, I met up with Mr. Refashionista & Erin!

Jillian and Brian
This is my favorite shirt of his. 🙂

A note on my baldness & wigs:

I hope nobody thinks me making fun of myself in the before pic for this Refashion/my use of wigs thinks I’m saying being bald is ugly. It’s not.

I’ve been wearing lots of headscarves and plan on going bald sometimes too when all my hair finally falls out (It looks really patchy right now, so I’ve been covering it). I’m really enjoying wearing wigs because I think they’re fun. It’s hard to feel pretty when I don’t feel great, and my wigs give me a nice confidence boost.

refashionista close up
I feel pretty!
Jillian and Erin
“Why did your mind go there?”, said Erin re: the Haunted Doll analogy.
refashionista holding plant
Color-coordinating with the local flora.

I hope this Refashion encourages you to look at old dowdy maternity wear in a new light!


refashionista 80s maternity dress refashion before and after
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