There are some dresses that I truly believe were only brought into existence to be “okay to wear to work”.
This is one of such dresses.
When my friend Erin first saw it, she said, “I’d like it on you if you were taller.”
Sadly, a growth spurt isn’t likely to happen (I’m 5’4″). And while she thought this dress was pretty much fine as-is. I had a few more problems with it.
I hate that metal thing at the neckline, and the bell sleeves combined with the overall silhouette of this dress feel really dated to me. Also, it’s just very very boring.
From Bell Sleeves to Puff Sleeves
I decided I wanted to change those dated bell sleeves into 2020 trendy boho puff sleeves.
It was super simple.
First, I made a tiny snip on each inside bottom sleeve hem.
This is going to become a casing for elastic to gather the sleeve.
Then, I wrapped a piece of elastic around my wrist and marked it where I wanted it to end.
I made it just slightly longer than a perfect fit as I needed to allow for the fabric that would end up around it, as well as room to sew the ends of the elastic together when I was done.
I cut along the marking on the elastic and cut another piece the same length.
Now to thread it through! I added a safety pin to one end of the elastic.
I also pinned the other end of the elastic to the sleeve casing to keep it from getting lost inside as I pulled it through.
To finish my puff sleeve off, I sewed the elastic ends together, making sure to not get them twisted.
My bell to puff sleeve conversion was complete!
I didn’t go back and close up the tiny hole I snipped on the inside as absolutely no one will ever see it or know it’s there except me…and well…er…I guess you since you’re reading this.
But about that neckline…
I used my seam ripper to carefully remove the stitches that attached the metal thing.
Then, I pinned the sides down inside the dress to make a V-neck.
I didn’t want any stitching to be visible along the neckline, so I tacked each side down by hand.
But that length!
The length of this dress was super unflattering on me, as I failed to grow a few inches in the refashioning process so far.
So, I made a chop!
Then, I pinned a hem!
I only needed to fold it over once, as this fabric is of a fray-free variety.
I stitched my hem down.
But what about some decorative stitching?
I still wasn’t satisfied with this refashion. The puff sleeves looked great. the V-neck and the shorter length were a big improvement. But something still felt lacking.
I measured and marked the center point of the bottom of my dress.
Then, I folded my dress in half from the center & pressed along the fold.
I threaded my sewing machine with yellow thread, chose a decorative stitch I really liked, and sewed it down the front center of my dress, stitching along the fold.
I also added it it along the bottom hem.
After pressing my new dress (which got rid of that center fold), my new boho puff-sleeved dress was done!
I just love how that yellow stitching looks on the maroon fabric!
I styled my new dress with a cozy yellow beret! I think you’ll be seeing a few berets from here on out. Wigs are fun, but not very comfortable. Think of it like this…Wigs are like wearing a pretty party dress whereas scarves and hats are like wearing a favorite pair of sweatpants.
My new ensemble enjoyed a lovely dinner outside with the hubs.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you found a few frocks in your closet that might enjoy a similar puff sleeve upcycle treatment, and I hope you’ll give it a try!