When I first scored this dress for $1 at one of my favorite thrift stores, my original intention was to turn it into a cute boxy jacket.
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But then I started getting targeted with ads for this black sundress from Amazon.
Isn’t it adorable? I love black dresses, and the shape of this one is super-cute! I dig the buttons and the pockets too!
It only cost $27, but c’mon man. That’s the same price as TWENTY SEVEN dresses from the thrift store! What am I? A Rockefeller?
Plus, I love a challenge! I just knew I could get a similar look from my thrift store dress!
Of course, in its current form, my dress didn’t have much in common with my inspo piece.
Still, I think I can refashion this dowdy thrifted frock into a cute sundress, don’t you?
Let’s do it!
First, I removed those big shoulder pads.
Then, I snipped off that back strappy thing.
I carefully put it aside, as I would soon be repurposing it to make the straps of my new dress!
I made a big chop across the middle of my dress.
Before I made my chop, I marked a spot that would leave me with enough fabric on the bottom half to achieve a midi length, and slightly more fabric than I thought I’d actually need on the top, since the taking in/retailoring/whatever you want to call it process would make it shorter.
I cut off those fake pocket flaps from the front of the dress.
And for the last of my preliminary snips, I cut off the sleeves, as I knew I wouldn’t be needing them.
I put the top of my dress on my dress form inside-out and pinned the sides.
I wasn’t going for a fully-fitted finished product yet, as I knew I needed to add darts to the bodice and that I’d be removing a lot from the top of the dress as well. My goal here was just to get a basic shape started.
I stitched each side down.
Then I cut off the excess side fabric with my pinking shears.
I plopped the top of my dress back on my dress form and pinned two front darts.
To do this, I measured the distance from the front placket, the sides, AND the length & width of each dart to make sure everything was even.
I didn’t add bust darts to the sides, as I thought the leftover parts of the original bust darts for this dress would work well enough.
When I was reasonably certain I had measured everything properly, I sewed my darts down, starting at the bottom and ending with a long thread tail which I knotted by hand.
TRIGGER WARNING: This is the part where this project goes completely off the mother flippin’ rails for a minute.
I traced the top of a bodice of another dress over my bodice-in-progress. THIS WAS A MISTAKE.
Then, I cut it out. ALSO A MISTAKE.
You guys, this did not work out well.
I’m not going to waste your time showing how I cut off the shoulders, finished the new neckline & armholes and then attached the back tie thingies as straps.
Because it looked terrible when I was done!
The armholes were SUPER-gapey and the shape was all wrong. I used the wrong type of dress as my template for the type of darts I was working with, as well as the fabric itself.
I was incredibly annoyed with myself.
It is important to note that I took in the bodice from the back a little when I was done (since this affects the eventual structure of my dress).
I played around with the bodice, trying to figure out a way to save the darn thing. I spent way too much time trying to make something work that just wasn’t working (Oooooooh…is this a metaphor for other aspects of human existence? Methinks it is!).
FINALLY, I made a bold choice that got everything back on track and chopped off the top of the bodice.
I folded the top over twice, pinned it down & then sewed it down.
I pinned the back strappy things to my new bodice, only to discover they were too short to be used as shoulder straps for my dress! Was there no end to my bad luck?!?!!!
Fortunately, I remembered these strappy things on the sleeves!
I cut each one off.
Then, I attached them to the ends of my too-short straps!
I pinned them to my bodice, and started to get excited at how my new dress was shaping up!
I ended up trying on bodice of my dress and tweaking the location of straps a few times before I was satisfied.
When I was happy with my straps, I sewed the back down…
…followed by the front!
The bodice of my dress was FINALLY DONE, friends!!!!
I took a brief break for a celebratory glass of wine, but couldn’t rest on my laurels for too long, as I still had to complete the bottom half of this refashion!
I laid my newly-created bodice out above the bottom scrap and marked each side, allowing a little extra for seam allowances and a small bit of gathering.
Then I folded it in half and traced a skirt from my closet that I really liked the fit of over it.
The line ended at the pre-existing side slit from the original dress (there was one on each side).
I cut along the chalk line…
…and unfolded the bottom half of my dress.
I turned the skirt of my dress inside out and pinned it along the cut sides.
Then, I sewed each side down!
I gathered the top of my skirt just a tiiiiny bit by selecting a basting stitch and cranking the tension up to 5, and then sewed a straight line right at the top.
Time to bring it all together!!!
I laid the right sides of my bodice and skirt over each other and pinned them together!
For my final trick, I sewed them together!!!!!!
When I was done, I flipped the top up and added a second stitch below the first one, folding the leftover fabric down as I did so.
Looooooook at my prrrrrrrretttttty dress now!!!!
Yes, this one took a lot of work and plenty of trial and error, but it was worth it!
I didn’t show the original back of this dress (sorry!), but check out this neat back button detail I was able to keep!
It was a hot day, but those side slits gave me a bit of built-in A/C!
Now, is it a clone of my inspo piece? Nope. But that wasn’t the goal. Did I add pockets (like the inspo piece?) Nope. Because I was tired and ready to be done with this one.
I wore my new dress to a Bierkeller pop up biergarten with friends!
Mr. Refashionista and I enjoyed a few delightful german-style brews in the shade.
Some of you are no doubt admiring my drinking vessel! I recently scored it at Goodwill for $2!!!!
I’m so very glad I didn’t give up on this refashion even when it looked like it might not work out!
- Here’s a preppy summer dress refashion that was way easier than this one!
- And heeere’s a similar dress I refashioned from a housedress!
- Here’s a no-sew skirt-to-summer dress refashion I think you might like!