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Rad Plaid Refashion: How to Take In a Dress From the Front

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When I found this dress on the $1 rack at a local thrift store, I almost squealed with delight!

refashionista rad plaid refashion before
I promise. I almost did!

It looks like someone made a girl’s toddler dress in an adult size, and I just want to giggle.

I mean, look at it.

refashionista closeup of plaid dress before refashion

Basically everything I hate about this dress is featured in the above pic. That weird low collar looks too juvenile for a grown-up dress and those functionless buttons aren’t fooling anybody!

I immediately got to ripping and chopping!

seam ripper used to remove buttons
Pick. Pick. Pick.
removing panel from thrift store dress
Byeeee fake panel thing!

I was happy to leave these behind:

shoulder pads and buttons from refashion
It was a mercy killing.

I played with the dress on my dress form, trying to figure out what my next step would be. All of a sudden it hit me!

I would kill two birds with one stone and take it in from the front. This would help it be more fitted and fix that ridiculous collar!

Let me show you!

plaid dress on dress form for refashion
Fold & Pin!

I folded the front over in a way that would connect the collar. To make sure I would be able to walk in my new dress, I stopped pinning right at the hips (you’ll see why in just a bit!).

I took the dress off the dress form and added more pins, making sure everything laid down nice & flat!

pinned plaid dress ready for refashion
Ready to go under the needle!

You can probably guess what came next!

sewing plaid dress refashion

Now it was time to address the length. I waited to do this until the dress was taken in, as taking stuff in automatically makes it shorter. I wanted a dress, not a tunic (Fun Fact: 50% of my early tunic refashions were accidental). πŸ˜‰

I tried my dress on, marked about an inch lower than where I wanted it to fall (for a seam allowance), and chopped!

cutting off hem for refashion
A very plaid chop!

I gave my new dress a new hem!

pinning a hem for a refashion
Pin that hem!
sewing hem for refashion
Stitch that hem!

We’re almost done folks! I took that bottom scrap and refashioned it into a sash!

refashioning a sash
It’s a sash refash!

I stitched a seam along my sash and then turned it inside out.

All that was left was to give my new dress a good press, making sure to make a distinct crease along that front pleat I had created.

pressing plaid dress for refashion
A most pressing issue!

And just like that, my refashion was complete!

refashionista red plaid dress refashion after
Do you like my background?

I wore my new dress to meet up with friends at Black Rooster!

The background chicken (as well as all of the art at Black Rooster) is by local artist, Michael Krajewski!

refashionista and friends at black rooster
I mean, for $5 cocktails during happy hour, how could we not?
Mr Refashionista
Isn’t Mr. Refashionista handsome? πŸ™‚
refashionista Columbia city skyline
The view doesn’t suck either. πŸ˜‰

Have you ever tried taking in a refashion from the front? How did it work out for you?


refashionista how to take in a dress from the front rad plaid refashion

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38 thoughts on “Rad Plaid Refashion: How to Take In a Dress From the Front”

  1. I’d not have thought of taking that dress in, in the front. Really a great refashion and it looks great. Collar treatment sure worked well. Hub is lovely. Kind looking gent and I do so hope the two of you are happy, now and always…

  2. I think this is my favorite of all the refashions you have done. It is so cute. Can I post a picture of before and after on Facebook if I tell it is from your blog? I am just so impressed.

  3. You absolutely did it! You took a frumpy, overwhelming, over-the-top ’80s nightmare to a chic, sleek, classicly fashionable wow. Way to go!

  4. Another great refashion that looks amazing on you! I’ve got some things of my own I’d like to re-fashion. I’m looking into purchasing a dress form but can’t decide what kind. What do you use and do you like it? Anyone else have a recommendation. Has anyone made their own? Thanks!

  5. You are amazing and so creative. I love what you did. Your new outfit resembles a coat style dress which is always so stylish. I’ve worked on resizing pieces from the front by opening it up and adding a decorative zipper and also by using darts and taking in the bust area through a princess cut seam. Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures.

  6. Your creative eye is so amazing. I truly appreciate seeing your before and after fashions. Even though I usually can afford to buy new, I love to hunt for clothing made from good material that deserves a new life in my closet. I am becoming a true thrift store junkie! THANK YOU.

  7. I am a sucker for red plaid. My mother, who had such great taste told me nothing was more elegant than plaid, a white shirt and black velvet. Your makeover made me think of her and I loved how you gave that dress an almost tuxedo effect. I probably would have gone a bit longer but I’m older so….but if I was your age, I’d show off those legs! Maybe my favorite makeover so far, just love it!!!

  8. I absolutely LOVE this refashion! I’m a bit of a plaid person anyway, however apart from the fabric design and colour, this dress was unbelievably hideous to start with. Wow, what a transformation, plus it looks fantastic on you. Sadly I would have to wear it with leggings or trousers, as this particular 5ft British lady has short stubby legs!! How I wish I had your long, slim legs instead…..*sigh*…..!!!


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