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Satin Lapel Dress to Blazer Refashion for Boss Babes

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As I flicked through the $1 racks at one of my favorite thrift stores, I initially passed this piece over.

refashionista Dress to Blazer Refashion before image
Spoiler Alert: I went back for it.

I think I actually had something similar to one of these in the late ’90s/Early Aughts (because every 17-year-old needs a suit?), and that it came with a matching skirt, which was pretty much covered by the top blazer/dress thing AND a matching pair of pants (Because, if you’re going to dress like a teenage stenographer, you want choices!).

I went back to this dress/blazer thing because of this:

satin lapel closeup

Those satin lapels & cuffs have such a nice lux look & texture, don’t they? And I love that deep reddish purple hue!

Unfortunately, it didn’t fit me and the sleeves were way too long (or are my arms just too short?). Also, the length of this piece was just awkward.

In other words, this dress was begging for a refashion, and I would let it beg no more!

For starters, I got rid of those bulky pads.

refashionista shoulder pads
Just pick ’em out!
refashionista removed shoulder pads
What am I going to do with all of these shoulder pads now that I’m back at this?!?!

Next, I addressed the length

refashionista refashion cut off length

Then, I began the taking in process.

refashionista refashion taking in pinning
First you pin!
refashionista refashion taking in sewing
…then you whirrr!

I cut off the excess material with my pinking shears and then addressed the bottom.

Now, I could have just made a straight hem along the bottom and have been done with it.

But here’s what I did instead: 🙂

I folded the front edge of each side into a triangle, measuring to make sure they were both even.

refashionista sewing blazer

Then, as I worked my way pinning along the back bottom hem, I folded the triangles under, tucked them in, and sewed it all down!

refashionista pinning bottom blazer hem
Fabric Origami

This does two things.

  1. It gives the front of the blazer a nicer shape.
  2. Having the fabric folded like this weighs those front points down, giving the blazer a more couture-ish drape.

The only things left to deal with were those too-long sleeves!

I folded them over and pinned them like so:

refashionista taking up sleeves
Sleeve me alone!

Then, I stitched them down, which was fussy work, as you can see below.

refashionista altering blazer sleeve
This was as finicky as it looks.

Once I was done, I snipped off the doubled-up fabric so it didn’t add bulk to the bottom of my sleeves.

You can see how I turned the sleeve inside-out, which means the raw edge faced the outside.

My reasoning behind this was:

  1. The raw edge was totally covered by the cuff after I tacked it down.
  2. I didn’t want that raw edge on my skin, as I thought it might be itchy/annoying.

After I tacked the cuffs down, my new blazer was ready to take a meeting with my friend, Phillip!

refashionista Dress to Blazer Refashion after image
Feeling oh-so-boss!

I’m really happy with how this one shaped up, friends! Looking at it now, I can’t believe I initially had any doubts at all!

refashionista Dress to Blazer Refashion blazer close up
Svelte, no?

Phillip is the Director of Digital Experience at our local library (Yay Libraries!), and we chatted about some pro-bono marketing work I’m doing for them (because who needs free time, really?) at The War Mouth.

refashionista working
Girl, you better work.

While we came for the meeting, we stayed for the $5 martinis!

war mouth martini

We even ran into our friend (and local celebrity), Larry Hembree, who’s working on a new play!

refashionista with Larry hembree
Love these guys!


refashionista Dress to Blazer Refashion blazer main image
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69 thoughts on “Satin Lapel Dress to Blazer Refashion for Boss Babes”

  1. I have been following you for some time and love your regashions. You have vision when it comes to updating items. Keep up the good work.

  2. This one is really good! The colour, the texture, and the points on the hem — all on fire! And, thanks for your pro bono work on behalf of libraries 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words, Lisa! And DOUBLE thanks for leaving them under challenging circumstances!

    Styling IS important! One of the goals of this blog is to show people how even with thrifted finds, they can still look put together and feel fabulous. Let’s democratize fashion! 🙂

  4. Collect all the shoulders pads, sew them together for a puffy dog/cat bed patchwork quilt style. I’ve missed your refashions, so glad you are back! Sew creative!

  5. I always love your comments as I read along to find out what today’s project is about. This one is a doozy! Love what you did to the dress thing and the simple easy way you took care of the sleeves and the front of the ‘dress’. Your new jacket looks amazing and very chic. Congratulations on another fine mess you restyled… Love it!

  6. Love this one!!! You have inspired me to try sewing. That is, if I can find someone to fix mt machine!! Love your creations. I’m glad you’re back to it.

  7. Hello from Australia!
    This is BY FAR my favourite refashion to date, and I’ve been subscribed to you for years…
    Well done!

  8. so glad you’re back to it because while this was an AWESOME refashion, I cannot wait to see what you figure out for all those shoulder pads! I have a drawerful and only need so many potholders. (fashionable face masks??)

  9. Looks great! The “taking in” process always scares me off. Maybe one day you could share your skillz and make a video on how you do that process on yourself? Pretty please ♥️

  10. Oh my gosh, I just love this one! The bottom hem looks amazing! I have a blazer/dress that I was going to donate to charity because the length just didn’t work, but I’m now inspired to dust off my sewing machine and get to work!

  11. great job! i’ve been following you for a while! i upcycle thrifted textiles to make costumes for children…so i really, really, really appreciate what you do! I’ve been refashioning thrift for 5 years now….you can see my transformations on my website….Fall 2020, i start posting my own!….great to see you back doing your thing!
    xo eva

  12. Great comment, this is how I feel too! I know it is time consuming… but I think quite a few of us appreciate it. I love your Jillian’s ideas, and transformations, but it is her writing that really impacts me. You write your personality into the refashions and thrifting! Thanks Jillian for all that you do!

  13. Great job! I love it ❤️ Thanks for taking the time to share your passion with us. I know it’s time consuming… I appreciate it greatly!

  14. I am going to go out on a limb here and say this refashion is a raving success. Ha! As others have said, the detail you gave to the front hem is brilliant. Bravo! However, I will once again argue that your styling is the real star of the show. You have such an eclectic wardrobe, but your outfits always look thoughtful and so pulled together. YOU ROCK!

    PS: I had to reopen Chrome three times to complete this message (including retyping what I started), so you know I mean it!

  15. I absolutely love love love this, you are such an inspiration. I take a lot of your ideas and share them with my mother who is a seamstress. You help me save money, refashion my own stuff and give new life to the “passed over, picked through” garments in the thrift stores, which is one of my favorite hobbies!

  16. Love the refashion, and seeing you back to blogging! I too am in awe of your ability to see the potential of what others would just think are thrift store rejects. Inspiring!

  17. i am SO GLAD you’re back to blogging! this refashion is really inspiring and it makes me wonder when in the process you decide what your refashion is going to look like. did you see that blazer/dress/thingie and its details and know what you were going to do? or do you figure out what to do once you’re home and working on it?

  18. Woooo! Love this one. The color is perfect for you. PS. For those sleeve alterations I’ve found it’s easier to work on the inside Of the sleeve instead of trying to smush it flat and work on the outside. That way you’re not having to fight with keeping the under fabric out of the way. Made my life so much easier. It may work for you, it may not. Just thought I’d share. Loooove that you’re back!

  19. This is one of my all-time favorites — the color is perfect; the shoes are a super complement to the look, and the “jacket front points” are inspirational — so glad that you have returned to share your artistry.

  20. This is now in my top 10 list of favorite refashions that you have EVER done. That is not hyperbole. This blazer looks so sharp, is a really versatile item, and is SOOOOO much improved. I love the shape you achieved. You are so clever and creative! Kudos!

  21. I love reading your blog and seeing the photos! I was telling a friend about this the other day, she said she loves to go thrift store shopping and re-fashions things for her 10 yr old daughter all the time, she didn’t think it was possible for adults!
    Also: SHOULDER PADS – For the longest time I used them on my dress form to fill out the places the form didn’t match me, now I use the pads that come in bras since they’re not as lumpy. I’m an hourglass, the dress form is a bit more rectangular… Anyway, a couple of other uses:
    Floor pillows – the kids and dogs loved these, I used just about anything from dryer lint, dryer sheets, shoulder pads, sewing scraps, old clothes, you name it.
    Pin cushions for my sewing group – once upon a time when I had all kinds of spare time.
    Shoe stuffers – to keep my tall boots upright and un-creased since the pool noodle trick never worked for me. I stuff anything soft into an old stocking or panty-hose leg and tie off the top. Just be sure to stuff the stocking while it’s IN the shoe or else it ends up being quite a hassle.
    Door Draft Stopper – you’d have to do some creative sewing for this one… but you get the idea.

  22. I L O V E this! It is perfection. You did more than refashion, you saved this garment. You turned an incredibly ugly jacket-thing into a perfect cute, smart blazer you can wear anywhere with pride. Wonderful

  23. Girl, your creativity is amazing. It blows my mind how you can look at an ugly dress and see a wonderful garment in it! I love to thrift shop, for saving $$ and for the fun, but I am not close to your league! Keep it up and PLEASE keep giving us ideas..

  24. SO glad you are back to posting regularly. Love this one. Great color on you. I totally would have passed it by, but glad you didn’t.


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