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Basil Dress: Dyeing Over a Printed Fabric

From Housecoat to Heavenly
The World's End Top

Here’s a sad & faded frock I’ve had on my refashion rack for a few months:

Refashionista Basil Dress: Dyeing Over a Printed Fabric before
Osad. :/

At least it has pockets?  I don’t know.  This is a lousy dress, folks.  As I’m not a church lady from the 1980’s, this isn’t working for me…yet!

When I encounter a dress like this that I’m not quite sure what I want to do with, I’ve found that any step forward is probably in the right direction.

I started with those ghastly pads.

shoulder pads
You’ll make a lovely sunglasses case!

Since the colors on this dress were oh-so-faded, I knew I needed to dip into some dye!

green rit dye
You two will do nicely!

Now, I didn’t use two whole bottles on one garment, as that would just be insane.  I only had a little bit of the Kelly Green leftover, and I tossed in about 1/4 of the Dark Green as well.  

After about 40 minutes in the dye bath, I rinsed and dried my newly-dyed frock.  🙂

Sadly, I was still far from done.  :/

It was time for some snippage!  First those sleeves needed to be made shorter & sweeter!

cutting off sleeve
Snip #1!

Next, I needed to make it actually fit me.  Don’t worry!  The pockets were left in tact, but made just a little bit smaller!

pinned dress on dress form
Dress Forms: Get You One!
sewing side of dress
Sewing Machines: Get You One!

After cutting off that excess fabric with my pinking shears (Get You Some!), I still had a bit more snippage to do!

cutting off bottom of dress
Snip #2!

We’re in the home stretch, folks!  Those raw edges needed to be tended to, and that’s exactly what I did!

pinned hem of dress
Pin a hem!
sewing hem of dress
Stitch a hem!

Now for the sleeves!  This is a 2 part process.

First, I got rid of those raw edges…

sewing sleeve hem

…then I folded the top part of each sleeve over itself, like so:

gathering sleeve
Pin it, then stitch it down!

This little trick makes my poufy sleeves more fitted, but a little poufier at the top.  Usually that’s a little twee for me, but I thought it worked well for this dress.

What do you think?

refashionista Basil Dress: Dyeing Over a Printed Fabric after
See my veggies in the background? 🙂
refashionista Basil Dress: Dyeing Over a Printed Fabric after 2
I’m quite pleased with them! 🙂

My new dress had fun at an apartment-warming party for a good friend who just moved to Columbia!  🙂

cole and jillian
Cole is one of the best people you will ever meet. 🙂

Of course, I didn’t come empty-handed.

jillian holding a basil plant
A basil plant…for you!

My friends and I look forward to hanging out at Cole’s new digs, which we have coined “The Cole Train Depot”.  😉

jillian with friends in apartment
We look great here.
david and jillian
That’s just ginger ale by the way…
cole phillip and jillian
Rabid selfie!

So happy to have another lovely friend living in this swell city.  🙂


refashionista Basil Dress: Dyeing Over a Printed Fabric before and after
From Housecoat to Heavenly
The World's End Top

93 thoughts on “Basil Dress: Dyeing Over a Printed Fabric”

  1. I was inspired by this when I found a paisley dress at Goodwill! I liked the pattern and cut but the beige background did nothing good for my skin tone. So, I dyed it teal and now I love it!

  2. Hello! I love your refashions. I’m a student and I want to dress fab but often my budget limits me. Reading your blog made me inspired and I want to follow some of your refashions. Can you suggest me a good cheap sewing machine that works well? Which one do you use? Any and all help is appreciated.

    Thanks! ^_^ You rock \m/

  3. Adorbs! I love what you did with this dress, it looks very vintage-chic! I’m not a fan of green normally, but I would totally wear this lovely shade! The little trick with the sleeves is genius, and I really like the way it looks! Great job!

  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that dress print color style, everything about it!!

    One question how do you keep your dyes from running when washed later? Everything I have ever dyed runs.

  5. Love the dress and I also love that you have chosen to stay away from the alcohol. Btdt Good luck and we all are supporting you.

  6. Hands down, my favorite refashion of yours by far. Amazing. I bet you could use pink, purple dye on similar patterns, too. I’ll be looking at my local thrift store for something similar – I’d love a skirt out of a dress like this! Great job and thanks for the weekly inspiration!

  7. gotta tell you, this one is a keeper. For your size and shape the remake suits you, i even love the green die, it really really works, and also the belt is right for this dress. I keep an eye on what your posting and i don’t always comment but this one was very nice. Good job!

  8. Oh, wow, I LOVE the green! It makes such a difference! Do you think you might (or maybe you already have) do a post or tutorial on how to dye garments some time?
    I have only done tie-dye t-shirts in a plastic tub. Do you use your washing machine for something like this project? Can I use dye in a front loader? Thanks!

  9. Hi, I’m not sure how I came across your blog, but I sure do enjoy what you do. I always look forward to a new Refashionista. You have inspired me to get busy sewing again, thank you.

  10. I have faith in you, but when I saw the first picture, I thought “This time there is no way that is going to end up looking good.” But you did it! Fantastic!! 🙂

  11. What criteria do you use when choosing a piece for refashioning? Some of those dresses have been diabolical 🙂

  12. Love it! Great job!

    I have a question:
    How did you menage to keep the pockets opening while sawing the sides of the dress?


  13. You are so stinkin’ cute! I love reading your posts. I’m living the single life vicariously through you. You make the end of my day happy 😉
    You go girl!

  14. I love this transformation! The sleeve tuck is a great tip. I am so happy you’ve got your mojo back! <3

  15. I think this is my favorite one….like…ever! All your refashions are great but there’s just something about this one. LOVE IT!! 😉

  16. Love the color, love the print, love the sleeves, love the length… Maybe I should have just said I love everything about this!

  17. LOVE IT! You are adorable and very clever. I so enjoy your blog! Some day when I have more time I’d like to try some refashioning! My daughter will be a Jr. at University of South Carolina this fall. Her/our home state is Pennsylvania’s, but she loves it down there! Keep on refashioning!

  18. This is probably one of my favorite refashions of yours ever. No, scratch that. This is my favorite. Can I get one? Lol

  19. Love the color! The more I read your blog the more I want to really try a true refash, I don’t just know if I have the skills. I look at what you do and think about what I would have done.

  20. I’ve looked into buying a dress form, any recommendations on a good one? There are so many to choose from. Thank you! I love the refashion.

  21. Fantastic job! A few weeks ago when I found your blog, I became so excited and inspired by all your swell refashioning that I am now accidentally finding myself in our local goodwill parking lot, and then suddenly inside, rushing through racks to find a dress with the most potential! Thanks for doing what you do!!


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