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A Patriotic Pinup Dress Refashion

Purple Skies: Crumple Tie-Dye Tutorial
From Housecoat to Heavenly

This might be the worst dress I’ve ever seen.

fourth of july bear jumper before
What the hell!?!

There is nothing to like about this dress.   Not a thing.  It’s cut like a toddler’s jumper, It’s ugly, and that print just angers me.

closeup of patriotic bears fabric
WHY would a grownup wear this!?!

Even the brand name is obnoxious.

country weekend label
Oh hai y’all! Let me throw on my toddler dress with bears on it for my weekend in the country!

When I bought this terrible thing for $1, it was mostly to prevent anyone else from buying it and wearing it as-is (I’m a humanitarian at heart).  It’s been on my refashion rack for months and months!  But for Memorial Day, I was feeling patriotic and decided to give this “bear” (har har) of a refashion a go!

That print is awful.  There was nothing to be done with this dress that would save it unless I could put those bears into hibernation!

Luckily, I have these guys:

blue and black rit dye

I wanted my new dress to have a dark blue hue, and I tossed in a bit of black to further mute the print from the top of the dress.

Into the dye bath it went!

washing machine dye bath
Oh please please please make this better!

After about 45 minutes, I rinsed and dried my dress.  Now time to get to shaping this thing up!

I knew I needed to raise the waist of this dress to make it look right.  Now…I could have detached the top part from the bottom, trimmed off some the fabric, then reattached it, but I had a quicker/more fun solution!

I folded the shoulders of the dress over and pinned them, like so:

dress on dress form

Now that I had a better idea of where the new waist for this dress would be, I got to fitting!

First, I had to snip out those pockets…

cutting off pocket

…then I fitted my dress on my dress form.

pinning dress on dress form

Since this dress has no zipper closure, I had to be careful while pinning.  If I made it too fitted, I wouldn’t be able to slip into it.  Yes…I could have just added a zipper, but this really wasn’t necessary for this one.

I couldn’t get my dress off the form without unpinning one side.  No worries!  I just measured the opposite side and re-pinned the pinless side to match!

Measuring seam
Measure for Measure!

Once all my pinning was complete, I stitched each side down.

sewing side seam

I still needed to tackle that length!  I decided to go super-short for the 1940’s pinup look I was going for.  🙂

cutting new hem
Douglas seems skeptical.

I gave my dress a new hem…

sewing hem
We’re almost done, I promise!

…then went back to the shoulders of my frock.  I stitched them down along their pre-existing seams on each side.

sewing shoulder seam
Right here!
sewing shoulder seam
Then right there!

The new shoulders were fine and all, but I thought they could use a little something special. 🙂

red buttons
Like these!

I hand-stitched a button to each shoulder, which took no time at all!

Hand stitching button
Hand stitchin’!

I tossed on a sash I scored at the dollar-a-pound Goodwill, and just like that, my dress was done!

A Patriotic Pinup Dress Refashion 3

I really ended up liking the red buttons on this one!

patriotic dress refashion after closeup
Cute, no?

Philip and Amauri seemed to dig my new frock as well.

Phillip and Amauri
They approve!

I even like those silly bears now that they’re muted a bit.  🙂

patriotic dress refashion after pose 2
Oh hai!

So yeah…I think this dress is pretty much full of winsomeness!  🙂

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend as well!


A Patriotic Pinup Dress Refashion Before and After
Purple Skies: Crumple Tie-Dye Tutorial
From Housecoat to Heavenly