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90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar

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Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion

There’s a lot to unpack in that title, eh?

Brace yourself. This is going to be a long post, but that’s only because there’s a lot going on in today’s refashion. Bear with me. We’ll make it through this together and it’ll all make some sort of sense in the end.


When I scored this dress for $1, I pretty much knew what I wanted to do with it right away.

refashionista 90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar before
Florals for Spring? Groundbreaking.

I’ve been seeing a lot of ’90s-inspired babydoll dresses in stores and online as of late. A professor friend of mine told me he’s seen several of his students pairing these iconic frocks with Doc Martins, and I must say I approve! Although another professor friend saw a student wearing a T-shirt that read, “Let’s make babies.”, so perhaps I shouldn’t put too much stock in this.

This was one of my favorite trends in the ’90s, and I’ve refashioned a babydoll-style dress before.

Since I don’t believe in that ageist “If you wore it the first time it was in style, you shouldn’t wear it again” thing, I decided to DIY my own ’90s-inspired babydoll dress!

First, I marked the front of my dress with a safety pin where I’d be cutting the dress in two.

I chose a location that was a good bit below where I wanted the top to end since I knew tailoring the top would make it shorter than you see here.

pin on front of dress
Right here!

Then, I made my first chop!

Cutting off top of dress

I put the top of my dress on my dress form and pinned the sides.

top of dress on dress form with pinned sides
Getting it a little more fitted!

I didn’t go super-fitted with this, as I want it to be a little roomy.

I stitched down each side.

sewing side of top of dress
Two short whirrrs!

…and cut off the extra fabric from the sides.

cutting off extra fabric from side of top

I tried the top of my dress on, and now had a much better idea of where I wanted it to end and the bottom of the dress to begin.

I cut off a little more.

cutting fabric from bottom of top
I want it to be high-waisted so another chop was necessary!

Now for the bottom!

I cut off some of the fabric from the top of the bottom.

cutting off top of bottom of dress
Yet another chop!

I just guesstimated about how long this would need to be by holding it up on myself.

I measured where I wanted to make a chop down the side.

My hips are 36″, so 42″ (21″x2) seemed about right for a roomy, but not too roomy skirt.

measuring bottom of dress
This seems about right?

I made a long chop down the side.

cutting up side of dress
So many chops!

I sewed up the side of the bottom of the dress.

sewing side of dress
So many whirrrs!

But wait! The top of the dress is much smaller than the bottom!

Yep. And that’s part of the plan, my friend!

I left the bottom bigger to allow for my hips and so I could gather it to make it more voluminous at the waist!

Creating gathers is super easy.

To gather the top of the bottom part of the dress, I set my machine to a basting stitch (5) and cranked up the tension to 5 as well.

tension set to 5

I made sure to leave a looooong tail of thread before I started, as this is how I’d be able to adjust the gathers after if it was necessary.

long tail of thread on machine
Like this!

Then, I just sewed a straight line and my machine created gathers as I went!

fabric being gathered by machine

Now to put it all back together!

You might also like this tiered dress refashion I did (without a pattern!).

I pinned the top and bottom of my dress back together with right sides facing each other.

pinning top and bottom of dress together
I marked the center of each piece with a safety pin to help me line them up!
pinning top and bottom of dress
Pin it!

Then, I sewed them together, making sure to sew below the stitch I used to gather the bottom (so it wouldn’t show).

Sewing top and bottom of dress together
It’s all coming together!

Here’s what it looked like from the back. You can see how I preserved the top part of the zipper (Yes…you can sew over a plastic zipper!).

closeup of back zipper
Totes functional!

I ironed everything down and was done…or was I?

thumb down in front of neckline
Me no likey.

I tried my dress on, but thought it was incredibly boring. I hated that neckline.

Then I remembered my plan to repurpose the white collar I removed from my last refashion.

But it wasn’t where I thought I had left it. Grrrrrrr!!!!

You guys, I searched EVERYWHERE and couldn’t find the darned thing!!!! I even looked in the trash (ew). I spent about an hour on this quest before giving up.

It’ll probably turn up somewhere odd when I least expect it, but that was of no help to me in my moment of collar need!

I couldn’t find any fabric in my stash that would make a suitable collar for my dress. Then I remembered my considerable pile of fabric face masks!

An idea was born! I would turn one of my face masks into a cute collar for my dress!

I chose this one that my good friend Karen gave me.

face mask on table
Isn’t it adorable?

It’s not hard to see why I leaned towards this one for my project…

closeup of dachshund print on mask
He looks just like Douglas and Benson!

I unpicked the pleating from the sides with my seam ripper.

unpicking pleating with seam ripper
Be carful not to unpick anything else!

Then, I cut off the elastic from the sides, pulling it taut so it wouldn’t be visible after I snipped.

cutting off elastic from mask

I made a tiny snip on the underside where the metal nose piece was encased.

snipping nose piece on mask
Snippy snip!

I could have unpicked all around this, pulled it out and then restitched it, but since no one was going to see this part, I didn’t think it mattered.

Next, I yanked out the metal piece.

removing nose piece
I had to use PLIERS, y’all!

I ironed out all of those pleats.

ironing pleats out of mask
I think this is going to work out just fine…really!

Then, I cut my mask in two lengthwise.

cutting mask in two
No turning back now!

Now to make the whole collar thing happen!

I folded and pressed each side into the collar shape I thought would work best for this dress.

collar sides pressed into place
I’m getting excited you guys!

Then, I pinned them to the neck of my dress.

pinning collar to dress
You might think I’m a little nutty, but I get the job DONE.

I carefully sewed each side down.

sewing collar down
We. are. almost. done.

I had to tack the back parts of my collar down to keep them from flipping up, which I did.

tacking collar down
Just a couple of stitches!

At long last, my dress refashion was complete!

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar after

You guys…I think my new collar makes this dress.

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar after closeup
What do you think?

That being said, I look forward to playing with other collar shapes and sizes as well with my other masks.

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar closeup 2
Methinks this neckline is much improved!

I’m also happy to have a figured out a way to repurpose my fabric face masks when the CDC says we don’t need to wear them anymore (don’t worry…I still have pllllenty).

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar after closer view
This is my “feeling chuffed” face.

I styled my dress with a pair of thrifted vintage Bass pumps and red sunnies.

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar after 3
And no one else has one like it!

The dress itself turned out pretty cute as well. I’m happy with its new waistline and am glad I was able to preserve that bottom flower detail.

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar after only dress
Go ahead. Take a closer look.
90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar after 4
I feel cute in it!

My new dress enjoyed a nice dinner at Motor Supply Bistro with Mr. Refashionista and the in-laws!

Mr. Refashionista with cocktail
jillian and brian
We’re cute…even in bad lighting.
Jillian with rosé selfie
My new dress loves Rosé!

Thanks for bearing with me on this one! I know…it was a lot of steps. But I hope you picked up a couple of ideas you’ll try soon!


refashionista 90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar

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Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion

75 thoughts on “90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar”

  1. I love your creativity! You are a beautiful woman, and you seem to enjoy life. I’ve just recently found your blog, and I’m trying to read every one. I’m so excited you found Mr Right and you have kicked cancer’s butt! You go girl! And keep the creative juices, flowing.

  2. I saw a gathering method on Sewing with Nancy years ago that is my go-to when I need to make gathers. You hold onto the top thread and then needle down needle up to pull up the bobbin thread. Then you pull out enough bobbin thread to go the length of the fabric plus a little extra to hold onto. Set the machine to a narrow zig-zag and zig-zag over the pulled out bobbin thread.Sounds weird but it works – it never pulls out and makes neat gathers.

    Neat re-fashion and great use of an extra adorable mask. 🙂

  3. Never in a million could I have imagined how that mask became a collar, so love the step-by-steps on this one. Mixed prints are magical, and you’ve done it brilliantly here. Thank you so much for the inspiration and good news seeing a blog entry today. You both look happy and well. Keeping you in my prayers.

  4. You did a great job of turning a bum dress into a real looker!! So creative and I love your accessories…..
    You look great! Hoping you are feeling much better!

  5. I forgot to add that the parallel lines of stitching should be about 3/4 of an inch apart and of course a large stitch. Can’t be more specific than that because I have not done this for many years.

    99% of my wardrobe is thrift store. My sewing is limited now to crafty things and mending. Did you ever try my idea of using shoulder pads to fashion sleeping masks ? I made one and it’s soft and comfy, but don’t know how to make it more tailored-looking. Would love to see what you come up with !
    You look great, healthy and with your usual happy self. Hubby also–amazingly slim. You are still on my prayer list. We have a lot to be grateful for even in this mixed-up world !

  6. You are positively adorable in that refashion, you are a very talented Lady, thank-you for the tutorial on doing the refashion.
    I love the facemask dog color such a sweet addition.
    Have you ever thought about teaching a refashion class? just curious.
    I look forward to seeing the next refashion.


  7. I am in LOVE with this little babydoll! Not to mention I am obsessed with the mixed patterns on the collar. I give it an A++++

  8. I saw you adding the collar and couldn’t see where this was going ? But as usual you amaze me it looks fabulous but the half of it is how you style your outfits with cool accessories that makes total fabulous!

  9. I absolutely love what you did with this one. When I saw the fabric for the collar, my intial thought was ¨Jillian what are you doing?¨But hey, You did it again. The fabrics look fab together. You always manage to amaze me with your ideas and refashions. I am so glad you kept the border print too. You and Mr Refashionista make such a cute couple and you are looking so well. Thank you for brightening up my days with your amazing re-styles.

  10. Dar…ling… it’s ok about misplacing the “collar”.. Chemo survivors just call it “chemo brain” it works for everything..

  11. Oh, Jillian, I think this new refashion is my most favourite ever. It is just lovely. You nailed it again!! Love the pics and it is so great to see you looking so well and happy. Made me smile.

  12. I absolutely love this one! It looks amazing on you. I might be inspired to try this one myself. Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is SO cute, Jillian! When I was in my teens (1960’s,,,) my mom made me a dress with this exact style collar. Collar = white. Bodice (fitted) and skirt (gathred/full) = small orange and white gingham. Self belt that was the buckle sort. I loved that dress and wore it often!
    BTW, you’ve occasionally got to have some good sized scraps left over from your refashions. Do you save them to use later, gift them to a quilter, ??
    Love your imagination!

  14. What a great idea! And I’m glad I’m not the only one who keeps scrap fabric for projects and then finds it’s grown legs and disappeared!

  15. Just when I think you have created the MOST ADORABLE outfit ever…you surpass it! So, so cute. Your creativity and imagination are inspirational!

  16. I think it was good you couldn’t find the white collar. Besides being ingenious to use a face mask, the contrasting print adds so much to this darling dress!

  17. I love it! I really enjoy reading and absorbing your refashions, it really gets my creative juices flowing, thank you!!

  18. Ohhhh!!
    I could literally tune in to see you do this a million more times with a million more contrasting prints.!!!

  19. Cute dress and the collar is a perfect fit! Great job as always! BTW, I loved babydoll dresses in the 90’s but mine were crazy short then. I still can’t believe my parents let me wear them out of the house, lol!

    • I actually meant for this one to be a little shorter than it ended up. But YES, I had a couple of really short ones too!

  20. You’ve done it again Jillian! I love the mix of prints. You always encourage me to try new
    sewing ideas! Keep up the good work!

  21. Jillian, this is adorable! I love baby doll dresses on adults, and I’m going to look in my closet right now and see what I have left from the 90s! Great job, as always. So glad you’re on the flip side of chemo. You are amazing!

  22. I love it. Question: why did you use pinking shears here instead of scissors? I am wondering if there is an advantage to them that I do not know about.

    • Thanks Emily! I use pinking shears because they help keep the fabric from fraying. 🙂 I SHOULD have used them on the side of my dress as well, but didn’t think of it.

  23. Loved this one and the collar, yes, it does make it ! To make gathering, I was taught to run two parallel lines of a loose stitch and keep the long tails of thread at each end. Then gently tug on them together to make your gathers. It works better than using one line of stitching and looks more defined as the gathers will be smaller with more of them. Just try it for fun on a scrap.

  24. Seriously! I think every week…best refashion yet and you come back with another great one! You are so inspiring! I want to refashion all the stuff in my closet. Love your blog!!


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