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An ’80s Jumper to ’50s-Inspired Dress Refashion

Thrift Store Style: It's All About Unique Pieces!
Keeping it Classy: A Cut Out Dress Refashion

I always feel a little sad when I see handmade clothes on the $1 clearance rack while thrifting.

'80s seersucker Jumper before refashion
Someone lovingly created this.

Someone spent hours on this, friends. And it’s really well-made!

I know, it’s super-dated now, but dresses like these used to be a thing, and it makes my heart sad to see some person’s hard work on a rack of castoffs.

Luckily, I was there to rescue this dress. With just a few tweaks, I knew I could turn it into something I’d be proud to wear out and about (You know…when we can actually do that again)!

I liked the yellow seersucker fabric of this dress, but it was a little plain for my tastes. Fortunately, I saw a couple of opportunities for embellishments.

First, I removed the yellow buttons from the shoulders.

seam ripping off buttons
That yellow-on-yellow just isn’t working for me!

Then, I pulled out my magical tin ‘o buttons to pick my replacements!

tin of buttons
These used to be my grandmother’s!

I pulled out my finalists…

selecting buttons for dress
Which ones will I choose?

I ended up choosing these sweet vintage green buttons.

replacing buttons on dress
Old regime, meet the new regime.

I stitched my new buttons on. In case you don’t know how to do this (or need a refresher), here’s how to sew on a button.

sewing on button
Hand stitching is quite zen!

Now it was time to make my dress a bit more fitted. This was tricky business because there’s no back zipper or closure.

That means the only way to get into this dress is from the top (since the buttons are functional) or the bottom. Since I didn’t feel like adding a zipper, I planned on being able to put this dress on over my head from the bottom with the top unbuttoned.

All that to say I couldn’t make this too form-fitting or I wouldn’t be able to get into it.

Not to worry! I had a plan!

First, I removed and saved the very thick bottom hem.

removing hem from dress
You will come in handy soon!

Then, I took the dress in just a smidge.

taking in dress
taking in dress with sewing machine

Once done, I cut off the extra fabric from the sides.

cutting off excess fabric with pinking shears

I gave my new dress a new hem…

pinning hem for dress
Pin that hem!
stitching hem for dress with sewing machine
Stitch that hem!

…but still thought my dress was a bit boring. 🙁

That’s when I started looking at the decorative stitches on my machine for ideas!

decorative stitches on Pfaff sewing machine
I have quite a few options, as you can see!

After careful consideration, I selected the stitch that represented where I’ve been confined for two weeks, and where I kind of feel like I’ll be stuck for the foreseeable future.

decorative house stitch on Pfaff sewing machine
You’ve gotta have a sense of humor, folks!

I loaded my machine with a green thread that matched my new buttons and got to work!

decorative house stitch being added to hem
Cute, innit?

I know most of you guys probably don’t have quite the array of decorative stitches I do on my machine, but you very likely do have some stitches that are decorative, or could be used as decoration. Even a couple of zigzag stitches layered over each other can look really cute!

decorative house stitch on bottom hem of dress
Stay home. Stay home. Stay home…etc.

I hemmed the ends of the bottom hem I removed and added this same decorative stitch to the bottom edges of that as well.

And that’s it!

An '80s Jumper to '50s-Inspired Dress Refashion after
Much improved, I say!

You can see how I wrapped the sash obi-style around me a couple of times to help nip in the waist (and why it had to be fairly thick to do so).

An '80s Jumper to '50s-Inspired Dress Refashion After Closeup
Feeling quite fetching!

I’ve gotta say, it feels incredibly weird doing refashions and literally getting dressed up with nowhere to go. But it also feels really good to keep myself busy with creative projects.

I hope you’re finding similar opportunities to help occupy your time in positive ways. If you have some good ideas for your fellow readers, why not leave them in the comments? I think we could all use a little inspiration right now.

refashionista drinking Rosé
Like day drinking Rosé!


Refashionista An '80s Jumper to '50s-Inspired Dress Refashion Before and After
1950s Inspired Dress Refashion
Thrift Store Style: It's All About Unique Pieces!
Keeping it Classy: A Cut Out Dress Refashion