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A Decorative Zigzag Hem & How to Dye Washable Silk

1940s-Inspired Dress Refashion
How to Refashion a Dress to be Worn Backwards

When I found this dress for $1 at the thrift store, I thought, “Hmmmmm…It’s not so bad.”

Decorative Zigzag Hem & Dying Washable Silk Before
It’s not bad!

The fit is fine, and the fabric is an incredibly comfy lightweight washable silk.

But it’s not grrrrreat either. The two main things I didn’t like about this dress as-is were the color and the length.

Not to worry! I had a plan!

Let’s dye it!

I found this dye during my most recent craft store visit, and it’s a hue I hadn’t seen before!

bottle of eggplant rit dye
Let’s Rit it!

Since this dress was silk, I knew it would take to the dye really well.

In retrospect, I didn’t realize just HOW well…but…spoilers!

I prepared my dye bath and added my new dress.

silk dress in eggplant dye bath
Quite a pretty color, I think!

My dye bath was just hot water, the eggplant dye, and some salt (to help it set). I use a big pot (which I use for nothing other than dye as dye is toxic when ingested) to dye my clothes, since my washing machine is a terrible front-loader (I hateses it).

After 40 minutes in its bath, I dumped out the water from my pot in my kitchen sink and rinsed my dress in my washing machine by running it through one wash cycle sans detergent.

Let’s hem it!

After it was washed and dried, I gave my now-VERY-eggplant dress a big chop.

cutting off hem of dress

I folded the new bottom edge under and pinned it down.

pinning a new hem
Pin that hem!

Then, I stitched it down!

Stitching new hem down

I didn’t stop there though. I use a lot of decorative stitches in my refashions, but not everyone has decorative stitches as a feature on their machine.

However, just a few lines of zigzag stitches in different colors can give your refashion a little extra oomph.

Sewing a zigzag on the hem
Zigzag Line 1.
Sewing a zigzag on the hem
Zigzag Line 2.
Sewing a zigzag on the hem
Zigzag Line 3.

After I pressed my new hem, my dress refashion was done!

Decorative Zigzag Hem & Dying Washable Silk after
Wait…where am I?

But wait! What is this? This doesn’t look like my yard (where all of my pics have been taken as of late), does it?

Dahlonega winery
Welcome to Dahlonega, GA!

Last week, Mr. Refashionista and I decided to book a cabin weekend in Georgia Wine Country. We stayed at this lovely airbnb.

Sadly, my dress got a little wrinkled in the 3.5 hour drive, so my “after” shots aren’t that great. :/

note about goat
She will NOT bother you. #bestnoteever
We were not bothered.
Cabin art!
Cabin art!

All wineries employed social distancing, sanitizing and mask-wearing measures to keep everyone safe.

Brian and Jillian at winery
Mr. Refashionista and I at Kaya, one of our favorite GA wineries!

It was so nice to be able to get away together, especially after being cooped up for so long.

brian in GA wine country
My handsome hubs.
Jillian and Brian at winery
The view from Three Sisters winery!
closeup of refashionista
Come closer!

And here’s a closer look at that new hem!

zigzag stitched hem close up
I like it!

While at the cabin, we drank our newly-acquired wine and played a few games of backgammon (which I’ve recently gotten into!).

jillian in front of backgammon board
I won 2/3 btw…


Decorative Zigzag Hem & Dying Washable Silk
1940s-Inspired Dress Refashion
How to Refashion a Dress to be Worn Backwards

34 thoughts on “A Decorative Zigzag Hem & How to Dye Washable Silk”

  1. Thought I had missed this, but I didn’t. This is still one of my favorites. I absolutely love the color. I really like your recaps because I can check to see if I missed anything. Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. If you want that color to stay, always use the Rit Dye Fixative, available at Joanne’s or at the Rit website. Eggplant looks good over the pale yellow, Jill.

  3. I’ve had a hard time finding any RIT color fixative on-line. Do you have any recommendations for fixative made from household items? Many thnx!

  4. Speaking as a fellow married woman, it’s a lot less threatening if the complimenter is also married, and even more so if she says her hubby has similar looks. I think you’re safe!

  5. Well done! Not the same dress at all and the zigzag on the hem is just perfect for this dress. I know I would make my hem a bit longer but then I am 75! LOL!

  6. This is so funny! I had a little eggplant-dye-project too, the day before yesterday. I painted my pants ‘purple’. You can find it on my brand new blog, which was inspired by refashions, these awful corona-times and… you! I even mentioned you in my blog, which is also in English, so no need to learn Dutch. (By the way, Vermaakster means both ‘entertainer’ and ‘person who adjusts’ in dutch;).

  7. Gorgeous colour. I can’t believe it even got rid of the pattern on it! Love the stitching too. Another great refashion, thanks so much. I’m glad you and the Mr got out of the house for a change too.

  8. This is a really nice refashion. Love the colour but I think I like the comfortable look of this dress even more. Silk wrinkles, I can live with that!! So nice that you got away for a bit.

  9. I have a dress like this one it’s reversible with a little jacket, like the one you had before your redid it. I wore it to my nephews wedding. Right now it’s too big on me. Someday I’ll have it refashion it but won’t die it.

  10. I love that idea for a decorative hem! Super cute! My husband and I have a drink and play bacgammon nearly every night!

  11. I have been dyeing for many years..(Over 30?) Nothing, I mean nothing, takes color like silk. It actually looks like the color on the package. I too have not seen that eggplant color.

  12. I love this dress! The color and stitching are wonderful and it looks great on you. I am a little jealous you can be out and about. In our county we are still home bound. I cannot wait to dress up and go out to dinner.

  13. That color is phenomenal! I’ll be using fuscia rit dye for an upcycled cotton swing dress that looks too much like a nightgown. Inspired by you! I’ll send pics. Amy

  14. Great upgrade to the dress, the bottom stitches certainly do add an element, and the color is divine! Was wondering if any of the pattern peaked through the dye job? From what I could see, it didn’t look like it. It looked like a nice getaway.

  15. Love the new color, and the zigzag is a sweet finishing touch!
    I’m wondering: was there any shrinkage with the silk in hot water?

  16. This is one of my favorites! Your hubby is quite the looker! (Looks a lot like mine…teehee!) Wait…is it socially acceptable to compliment another’s husband that way…I’m worried…do I need to be worried? Oh, heck…

  17. We have friends in Dahlonega and love the GA wine hwy!!! The live about 1 mile from Wolfe Winery. I so miss our trips there due to The Virus….


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