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Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion

DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top
Vintage Nightgown Refashion

As we machete our way through this summer of our discontent, I think it’s important to dress comfortably.

Refashionista Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion Before
Whoa. Not THAT comfortably.

After a recent conversation with my friend Erin (who is my voice of reason in all things I care to be reasonable about), I feel like I’m getting the hang of this quarantine thing. If nothing else, the current situation has taught me to stop wasting my energy on things I can’t control.

For YEARS I’ve talked about how nice it would be able to focus on my blog/be self-employed/do my own thing for a while.

I have that now.

Yes, I have all of these things under some of the worst circumstances imaginable, but I basically have what I’ve wanted for a long time.

While I regret making the birthday wish that sports would just stop for a while back in March (THIS ISN’T WHAT I MEANT!!!!), I might as well keep calm and refashion on. Because there’s very little else I can control at the moment.

Speaking of Refashioning on & sports, let’s tackle this house dress!

It’s a baggy non-flattering house dress. Very simple.

But it does have ONE charming aspect that drew me to it right away.

closeup of tulip pocket
Pretty pocket!

Isn’t that just the sweetest pocket ever???? I couldn’t wait to upgrade its living situation.

First, I removed a few things.

That neck bow was the first to go!

removing neck bow with seam ripper
I hate you, so you must go.

That lace collar was the next item on my list.

snipping off lace collar
Snnnnip!

I could have unpicked the collar with my seam ripper to remove this part (it would look a little nicer), but I thought snipping it off would work okay enough, since picking it out would have added a lot of time to this refashion.

After I carefully snipped off the collar, I applied fray check to the edge.

As I snipped, I noticed this and giggled a little:

Tag that says Pleasant Memories
Who names these brands? Seriously.

Next, I removed those sleeves with my seam ripper. Now they’re just a pleasant memory.

seam ripping off sleeves
Pick. Pick. Pick.

Last but not least, I picked off the front pocket.

picking off front pocket with seam ripper
DON’T WORRY. IT’S COMING BACK!

Next, I got to work on those armholes.

I always recommend doing this part before taking a piece in!

First, I pinned them under.

pinned armhole
My arm will go here.

Then, I stitched them down.

sewing down armhole
It’s whirrrrr time!

I made a dramatic chop!

In order to make this fit & flare sundress refashion happen, I’d need to separate it into two pieces (the fit & the flare).

chopping off top of dress
The drama!

This was going to be the new bodice of my new sundress!

I fitted the bodice on my dress form.

fitting bodice on dress form
Gee, Jillian…you’re not giving yourself much breathing room.

Okay, If you’re executing this maneuver at home, I recommend NOT making your bodice as fitted as I did here, especially if it has a front button placket. The end result fits okay, but if I eat one more COVID snack, it won’t.

I also recommend sewing the darts down first, and THEN going back to re-fit the sides. I did this all in one step and am darn lucky it worked out.

I stitched my darts down, making sure to leave a long tail at the end to tie them off. Don’t backstitch this, or it’ll look weird. I look weird enough already, so I don’t need to add wonky darts to the mix.

sewing dart
See (look closely!)?

Use a pin to help get your knots tied close to the fabric. Just wrap the knot around the pin, then use the pin to push it closer to the fabric.

knotting off dart
Then, take a blurry one-handed photo of yourself doing so.

I trimmed off the excess fabric from the sides and was ready for my next step!

I laid the skirt part of my dress under the bodice and made a couple of cuts.

Cut 1.
cutting skirt of dress
cutting other side of skirt
Cut 2.

You guys. I can’t believe how close this refashion came to not working. I’m taking some big risks here. I just eyeballed the skirt and cut it, leaving room for a seam allowance at the top where it needed to join the bodice.

I recommend laying out a similar dress you own over each part of your refashion to double-check size before you cut anything.

I stitched each side of the skirt down.

pinned skirt of dress
Pin, then stitch!

Now, let’s bring it all together!

I pinned the bodice of my dress to the skirt, measuring to make sure everything was even!

pinning bodice to skirt
It’s all coming together!

I made sure to check the snaps for alignment by flipping the top up and fastening them while everything was pinned.

Then, I stitched it together!

sewing bodice to skirt of dress
Sew exciting!

Now for that hem!

I cut a little bit off the bottom.

cutting off hem
Just a smidgen.

Then, I folded it under and pinned it!

pinning hem
Fold & Pin!

A few of you have asked if I press my hems before pinning & sewing them. I don’t (usually) and it’s never been an issue. They never bunch up or anything like that. Now, If I were to use a blind hem stitch or something like that, I would want to iron it first.

I prefer to just iron everything at the very end when I’m done to save time.

I stitched my non-ironed hem down.

stitching down hem
It’s fine! See?

But what about that pocket????

I told you it was coming back!

I pinned that fabulous pocket onto my dress.

pinning pocket to dress
Welcome back!

After switching out the thread in my machine from white to red, I stitched it down!

stitching pocket onto dress
Best. Pocket. Ever.

And that’s it!

Here’s how my Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion turned out!

Refashionista Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion After
so cute!

Since I’ve had short hair for the vast majority of my adult life, the only “up” styles I know how to do are the ones I did in High School.

refashionista close up
It’s all I know.

I like how my dress turned out, but like said before, wish I had made it a liiiiittttle roomier. Next time, I’ll be a bit more careful.

Refashionista Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion After 2
I just looooove that pocket!

Cheers!

Refashionista Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion Before and After
DIY Tube Top from Old Lady Top
Vintage Nightgown Refashion

50 thoughts on “Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion”

  1. This gives me inspiration that I can turn a housecoat (the kind that is dress like that zips in the front) into a dress.Thanks for posting what you do, you give me a lot of inspiration.

    Reply
  2. As someone that can’t sew a dang thing your skill and creativity blow me away! Great job! Keep with the stay at home job because you are amazing at it!

    Reply
  3. Love it! Your blog is inspiring. And I the tulip pocket is adorable and it seems to suit you. I would love it as well

    Reply
  4. I do not sew a bit but I love seeing the refashions (what does that say about me?) and I love your writing style – funny and witty!p

    Reply
  5. It looks great! Do you ever have anything that turns out so terrible that you don’t post it? It seems like you never fail. If you do fail, I think that would make an interesting post. 🙂

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  6. Pure genius, you and the upbeat sundress. Thanks for sharing your talents with us. Always such a joy to read a new entry.

    Reply
  7. Caty, between you and Jillian, you’ve made me feel a lot better. I am very fortunate that I still have my job which makes me beat myself up all the more for feeling a bit loopy about all of this. But your comment has given me a good bit of perspective – our job is just to get through this and make sure there is hot chocolate. Good luck to you both, I really hope things pick up really soon.
    And I did think Jillian, that you did indeed sail very close to the wind with freehanding it like that! You make it look so easy so that comment was good to see the behind the scenes nail-biting that must have happened. Nice work!

    Reply
  8. If you ever get tired of the darling pocket ON the dress, you could pick it off and make a tiny crossbody Purse! I absolutely love this dress!!!!

    Reply
  9. Adorable! You have the perfect figure for this sun dress refash. Luv It! Thanks for keeping us entertained during this ‘rona insanity! ❤️

    Reply
  10. I’ve been following your blog for YEARS! I love it! I would like to add that you are just lovely and not the least bit “funny looking”. You have a beautiful face and I would kill for your figure! Sending you lots of positive vibes and good juju!

    Reply
  11. Thank you for being so creative and entertaining with your blog. You are my muse. I can’t believe how you took a really awful dress and made it so adorable. Just got a sewing machine and have started to refashion- thank you

    Reply
  12. Cutest pocket ever… hands down! Please know that many of us (yes, me included) who are also out of work right now are enjoying you blogging “at full speed” again. THANK YOU for adding some fun to our days!

    Reply
  13. I think the refashion is very cute. The tulip pocket is fun. You could’ve doubled down on the retro if you had kept the fullness of the skirt by pinching in an inverted box pleat in each quarter of the skirt. Much faster than gathering and a bit more sophisticated.
    Did you consider making the pocket into a little shoulder purse?

    Reply
  14. My best friend hammered me over the head with some sense a few months ago when I stopped bring able to work when THIS THING happened.

    She told me it’s not that I now have all the time in the world to get to all of those things I never have time for. She reminded me harshly that the world is in crisis, I’m reading all this bad news day by day, I’m hearing about thousands of people dying every day, our lives completely changed in the last few months.

    My job is not to now be as productive and work on starting my own business and doing all the repairs needed at home while losing 25kg and train for a marathon in between growing my own vegetables and baking banana bread and making entire new wardrobes while studying at night. My job is to stay sane, get up each morning, take care of my household and myself and stay healthy. Getting the basil plant to not die is not a priority.

    She was harsh but she needed to do that. I still feel like I’m not living up to my own expectations, and the basil plant died meanwhile. But my family has cooked comfort food and hot chocolate (it’s mid-winter here) and clean clothes.

    I get excited when I get a notification that you posted and I hope I could get my own refashion blog up and running, but for now I’m living through your refashions

    Reply
  15. I LOVE this remake. Looks so cool. Great for this sultry weather. 108 degrees here in west Texas today, That dress would be great in a lounge with a tall glass of iced tea.

    Reply
  16. My suggestion for not cutting a (skirt) bottom section incorrectly would be to make either a cotton or cardboard pattern. They are easy to hang on a book near your supplies.
    I know you like the flower pocket but it (to me) dates the dress, and it’s a bit big for the refashion . A red, white or even black belt would be very stylish.
    Great job , I do love the new fit!

    Reply
  17. Great refashion and the cute tulip-pocket is a real gem! And in case the top turns out to be too tight, you should definitely save the skirt part for a rerefashion!

    Reply
  18. Great transformation of ugly to cute. A red or white belt would be nice I think. You have a good eye for spotting possibilities. I like the red gingham too.

    Reply
  19. Pleasant memory…..I see what you did there….;-)

    Your two pigtails remind me of Toni Basil….Sing it with me….Hey Micky!

    Reply
  20. Considering these are Covid times, I’d love to see your take on coordinating masks to wear with your refashions. Masks as accessories would make our collective situation so much more fun to bear. 🙂

    Reply
  21. I’m always amazed how you can transform something as dowdy as a housedress into an adorable little dress. Everytime I go thrifting I think of you as I peruse all the clothes and then I get stuck on ‘what would I do with it’.
    Just for fun, I’d love to see those items that didn’t work out. You must have a few of those that you ended up tossing.

    Reply
  22. Adorable! Question- when you cut the bottom of the dress, the line doesn’t look perfectly even to me (could be me), so how do you get it even using that fancy ruler thing? (Can you tell I know nothing of the sewing things?). I don’t quite understand the point of the ruler thing unless the bottom edge is exacta-mundo perfectly straight. Can you help my befuddled brain out? Lol

    Love this refashion!! I feel like you’ve been doing some cool things lately with your sewing that we don’t often get to see you do! I absolutely love it!!

    Reply
  23. Now I have two favorite makeovers…..this turned out adorable! And you are just cute as a button! You should do a collection of before photos, just before photos – you have a knack for funny expressions that crack me up. Seriously, this is a really cute summer dress.

    Reply
  24. super cute – that pocket is everything! I think it needs a bright red belt to match. You’re adorable and this idea was great as was the execution!! Love!

    Reply
  25. I agree with Erin; this is your time to put your energy into your passion. Your talents are being wasted in an office type job. Your ideas are amazing and it is getting my creative juices flowing. So please pursue this as a full time job & give up on the mundane corporate world. Your talents are too bright to be hidden away in an office.

    Reply

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