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An Overdyed Polka Dot Dress Refashion

How to Turn a Thrifted Dress into a Top
Dress to Elastic Waist Skirt DIY

Today’s dress reminded me of something a certain cartoon mouse would wear. I’m afraid to share an image of it/her, for fear I’d get served with a Cease and Desist letter from a very large corporation and angry letters scare me.

overdyed polka dot dress refashion before
You know of whom I speak.

I feel like a lot of you are going to be torn on this one. I can see how some people would think this dress is quite nice as-is, and I’m not here to judge those people. We can all agree to disagree every now and again, right?

I don’t like it. This dress is just to “cutesy” for me. It looks like it’s supposed to be some sort of a costume for…something.

Clogging maybe?

Clickety Clack!

Or maybe it’s supposed to be some kind of 1940’s costume? I just don’t get it.

As I had no plans to entertain Mr. Refashionista by *insert clogging-specific verb* or delivering my stirring rendition of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, this dress would need a few modifications.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed one of those cutesy sleeves was coming undone.

ripped sleeve seam
It’s okay. I don’t even like it.

Alright! Let’s get to work and make this Refashion happen!

I wasn’t a fan of the white-on-red polka dots, the white details around the top, or the white detail around the bottom hem. Once again, it was all just to costume-y for me.

I reached for a box ‘o dye!

wine rit dye
Rit it.

This is actually about half a box of dye, as I’ve already used some of it on another project. I figured the wine hue would look nice with the red of the dress.

Since the top of the dress is polyester, I knew it wouldn’t take much of the dye at all, whereas the bottom and trim were cotton, so they’d happily absorb their new color!

I prepared a dye bath.

rit dye bath
Behold! The magical swirling bath!

I added the dye powder to the amount of hot water you see here (enough to fully submerge the dress and stir it around). I also tossed in about 3/4 cup of salt to help the dye set.

In went my dress!

submerging dress in dye bath
The point of no return!

I kept my dress in its bath for 40 minutes, stirring it occasionally.

There’s no going back now, friends! You can see how that dye took to the bottom fabric right away.

overdying polka dots
Much less jarring methinks.

The trim on the top of the dress proved to be a good dye-absorber as well.

dyed trim on dress
It’s all going to plan!

After its time was up, I dumped out the dye water and transferred the dress to my washing machine.

I ran it through the handwash cycle for a rinse (sans detergent). And no…this didn’t stain my machine. Will it stain yours? Maybe…but it’s never stained mine. 🙂

After my dress was rinsed and dried, it was time to tackle those sleeves!

I plopped myself in my porch hammock and got to picking!

ripping off sleeve
Pick. Pick. Pick.

At last, those sleeves were history!

removed sleeves
Why do I feel like some of you are going to be mad at me for removing these?

From there, I pinned down my arm holes.

pinning armholes of dress

Then, I stitched ’em down!

sewing down arm hole
The only whirrrr for this Refashion!

After pressing everything, my refashion was complete!

overdyed polka dot dress refashion after
All done!

I think this one turned out quite alright. Those polka dots are much more mellowed out now, and I like the pinkish/red color combo, as it’s not one I see very often.

overdyed polka dot dress refashion after closeup
Come closer, friends (but not too close)!

I really look forward to taking more “after” pictures while out and about again, rather than attempting to find interesting spots in my yard.

You see, I’ve been going through old blog posts (re-editing images and stuff like that). And it’s been a bittersweet process.

It’s fun to look back on good times with friends from the days of concerts, festivals, and well…gatherings. But then I get a little melancholy when I realize we don’t know when any of us will have that again.

Right now, I’m literally getting dressed up with no place to go on the regular for this blog. And while Mr. Refashionista may feel like he’s in some bizarre 1950’s sitcom pastiche wherein his wife is made up and pretty for when he gets home from work, for me it feels incredibly weird.

refashionista selfie
At least I have you to share my good hair days with.


Refashionista An Overdyed Polka Dot Dress Refashion
How to Turn a Thrifted Dress into a Top
Dress to Elastic Waist Skirt DIY