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1990s Merp to 1960s Mod Dress Refashion

Happy St. Pat's!
No-Sew Thrift Store Dress Upcycle

When I found this frock, I was immediately drawn to its amazing buttons!

Mod Dress Refashion Before
Aren’t they great?

I actually like a few things about this one. It’s made of linen, so it’s nice and breathable. I like the oddly sculpted raglan sleeves too. 🙂

When I first got it home, I threw caution to the wind and tossed it in my washing machine, despite this oddly specific care label:

Dress label
Foil?

Next, I tossed it on my dress form and got to fitting!

dress on dress form for fitting
Not toooooo fitted though!
closeup of pinned dress on dress form
See?

I didn’t want to make it too fitted. I was thinking more of a 60’s mod look.

First I stitched…

dress being taken in
Whirrrrrr!

….then I serged off the raw edge.

serging raw edge of seam
Serrrrrrrrrge!

Next, I removed some of the length.

1990s Merp to 1960s Mod Dress Refashion 6
Chop!

After a quick hem, I was done!

sewing hem for dress
Easy!

I dig it!

60s mod dress refashion after
Cute, eh?
jillian and friends trying on glasses
Just trying on glasses…like ya do!
60s mod dress refashion after
…as Phillip samples David’s cocktail in the background?

Cheers!

refashionista 90s to 60s mod dress refashion before and after
Happy St. Pat's!
No-Sew Thrift Store Dress Upcycle

70 thoughts on “1990s Merp to 1960s Mod Dress Refashion”

  1. I don’t know how I stumbled across this post but love it! I have a linen dress that I got summer before last (2018) at a very high end store which looks JUST LIKE your revamped version (even down to the wood buttons) and I have wished I could find something similar. Well…as a seamstress I am now going on the hunt for some outdated resale dresses that I can do this same restyling! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Do you use elastic thread? I’m pretty new to sewing and am trying to figure out when to and when not to use elastic thread

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  3. I love what you did with this questionable piece. I love the length, it’s perfect for you. Yes wood buttons are delicate and wouldn’t stand up to drycleaning. I would watch out putting that on a heavy duty cycle also. Delicate or handwash setting is better.

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  4. Cover with foil. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that instruction.

    My family are Irish and there are some fantastic knitters. I’m not a fantastic knitter, btw.

    Back when I was a child (70s), when knitting aran cardigans and sweaters (jumpers here in England), they used metal buttons covered with knotted leather which had to be cut off the garment and stitched back on again once thoroughly dried.

    Modern buttons for aran garments are made of plastic and are moulded to resemble the knotted leather.

    Much less faff.

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  5. I don’t have a dress form, I put things inside out on me and pin them, then baste and try it on again to see if I got it right. If this were my dress, I would also cut the neckline so it’s deeper and finish that off with some bias tape all to the inside. There’s some weird bunching in the shoulder and underarm area, isn’t there? I wonder what that’s about. I watched an old Inspector Morse show from the ’80s and there was a woman dressed in a suit with HUGE shoulder pads and I thought of you. As I was laughing.

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  6. Ohhh my stars this is so CUTE! You did a great job making the sleeves absolutely perfect! I dig the buttons and the “HEH??” face you’re making in the before photo. Cheers to a great refash!

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  7. What a transformation! look great on you. the platforms are super. a few inches longer or a trim at the hem will do wonders.

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  8. Don’t know what’s up with all the comments about it being too short. I think it looks fabulous and would wear that length if I could!

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  9. The dress is adorable and I love your shoes. Quick question… Did you customize your dress form for your measurements? It seems to make your refash mich easier with the form. Thanks!!

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  10. Could take the buttons off if you send it for dry cleaning! I am inclined to try careful hand washing with most things! Lovely colour and buttons and you look great as usual! Was a sewer but wish I now had a dress form and all the things needed for good sewing! Was easier to sew when I was a skinny teen …. Long time ago!

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  11. According to Google, you should cover unusual buttons before sending a garment to the cleaners because professional cleaning is pretty harsh and the tag only tells you about the fabric, not the thread or buttons or patches. I learned that the hard way with a Tommy Hilfiger jacket (White w/bright red trim).

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  12. So CUTE!!! Perhaps you could explain how you fit things on the dress form some time? Did you just make a mental note when you first tried it on that you wanted to take this many inches off each side?

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      • OK, I have just realized that dress forms are not all the same(little) size like store mannequins. Apparently some are adjustable and you are supposed to get one that matches your own body shape and size. Duh! Makes much more sense now, haha 😛

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  13. Lovely as usual! This week I was in my favorite thrift store and tried to channel your vision for seeing beauty in the ugly duckling. I literally thought…what would Jillian buy?! I came home with a strangely feminine men’s shirt with “painted” flowers on it. So far all I’ve done is to remove the denim breast pocket. I need to shorten it and fit it to me but it looks so much easier when YOU do it. 🙂

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  14. I agree with you on the buttons but I couldn’t take it quite as short as you did for myself on the refashion.
    Kicking myself that I didn’t buy a dressmaker’s form when I had the chance.

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  15. Why, I do believe I owned that same dress in turquoise!! Haha!! The buttons are wood, yes? Well, I have to say you made it look way better!! I wish I still had it…I’d send it to you!! 🙂

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  16. lovely refashion!! I had to read the text under your photo before I realized Phillip was drinking a cocktail! I seriously thought that someone was pointing a kind of water gun at him ( because that’s what usually happens, of course, at any party 😉 )

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  17. Love it! What’s nice too is because of the style it works well by itself, but would work equally well as a long tunic with a skirt, pants or leggings. It’s got lots of potential! I’m still trying to figure out the foil instructions though, wth?

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  18. Love how you throw it on the dress form and just pin it. I am not sure my dress form is that close to my actual measurements I am short waisted, flat butted, fuller busted than the dress form. I will have to try this with something I don’t if I mess it up and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work then I will just use it for scraps for belly dance bra/belt sets 🙂

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    • I am way curvier than my dress form. Set the dress form for the smallest parts and pad to achieve the larger parts. Throw an old slightly too small tshirt over it and pin or tape down.

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  19. So cute! ’60’s mod is right! How about a close-up of the buttons? Actually, I’m envisioning a clutch made from the extra fabric and button. Whaddya think?

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  20. Wow!!! Your refashions amaze me!! I don’t know how to sew all that great but your post’s make me want to go thrift shopping.

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  21. Nice! I like the buttons, too! Would it be too matchy matchy to make a clutch to go with it and use that spare button as the “clasp”? Maybe with what you cut off as the lining?

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    • Back in the day when all our cool clothes had the big jewelly buttons, the cleaners would wrap the buttons in foil and it protected them from the cleaning solution. I went to a particular dry cleaners for that very reason. Otherwise my buttons would come apart, scratch or melt.

      Reply

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