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Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion

My New Blog: Chef & Pauper
Impressing the Parents with Thrift Store Decor!

Happy Christmas Eve, errrrybody! πŸ˜€

When I needed a festive frock to wear to my supper club’s annual White Elephant gift exchange, I went for this one that has been languishing on my refashion rack for over a year.

I almost refashioned it last year, but got caught up in the hustle, bustle, and (let’s be honest) procrastination of the season and it never happened.

…Until now!

Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion before
I can’t seem to find my covered wagon anywhere.

I’m sure this is some sort of costume from some sort of Christmas play.

Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion 5
I’m ready for my closeup!

Yeah…this wasn’t going to cut it. My thought was to take this pioneer dress and turn it into a sort of kimono-ish dress.

I’m not sure whether I succeeded. I’ll let you decide.

But first, let’s take a moment to make fun of the label:

denise are here label
Oh are she?

It was time to get a choppin’! First, I removed the buttons from the front of the dress, as i found them frumpy and lame.

removing buttons with seam ripper

Then, I cut a slit down the front of the neck of the dress. My plan was to turn it into a sort of sweetheart v-neck…once again, trying to evoke a kimono-ish look.

cutting slit for v-neck

I folded each side of the V down, pinned it and stiched the new neckline. Did I take a picture of this process? No. I did not. I’m bad bad blogger who is out of practice and will undoubtedly get coal in my stocking tomorrow.

A few more cuts followed.

cut off sleeve bottoms
Sleeve me alone!
cut off bottom of dress
Chop x 3!

Next, I stitched the two ends of the side sashy-things together.

sewing sash on sewing machine
Like so.

I then got to work at taking in the skirt of the dress.

pinned side of dress
Going for a slimmer silhouette!
sewing side of dress
Taking it in! Whirrrrrr!

After cutting off the excess fabric with my pinking shears, I hemmed the bottom of the dress and the sleeves.

jillian's living room with christmas tree
No reason to show this photo, other than I’m pretty proud of how nice my tree looks this year…and look! I dyed my sofa orange! πŸ™‚


sewing bottom hem

As I stitched away, I was filled with anxiety. My thread was running out. WOULD I MAKE IT? Or would I have to rethread????

spool low on thread

Fortunately, I had juuuuust enough thread to finish the job. Whew!

I gave my new dress a good press…

pressing bottom hem
Seriously. Look at my tree! πŸ™‚

…and then headed off to the party!

Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion 6
Erin’s tree is also acceptable. πŸ˜‰

My friends complimented me on my Austrian (?) garb, so methinks I failed fairly hard at my intended theme.

But I still think the frock looks cute. Whaddyasay?

Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion 7
Such handsome bearded gents!

I hope you enjoyed this festive trip down ReFashionista Lane! Merry Christmas to all!


Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion before and after
My New Blog: Chef & Pauper
Impressing the Parents with Thrift Store Decor!

85 thoughts on “Vintage Christmas Dress Refashion”

  1. Lol!! I think I actually sewed a dress like that back in high school (the middle seventies). It was for an art \ home ec. project. I silkscreened the fabric and then sewed the dress. I really wore the crazy thing. Think we had some kind show to display our projects. I like your refashion.

  2. Your tree looks amazing – the organza ribbon is especially effective. The dress looks a lot better! Totally love the waist tie but I think you should take in the bodice at the sides more to better show off your amazing figure and maybe change to flutter sleeves so they don’t overpower the rest of the dress. More importantly PLEASE tell us how you dyed your sofa!!

  3. My heart skipped a beat when I had an email that you posted! Jillian, you always look amazing and you are a true inspiration to me. Your blog has inspired me to sew/refashion but as a thirty-something (this is not going to come out right no matter what I say) living the single-but-pursuing-life, I often think you and how you always are positive, unabashed, and unafraid. You inspire me to be as badass as you are and I wish you all the best Jillian!


  4. Oh woman, you do amazing shit with old clothes! Your refashions are more inspiring than anything else I get on my pinterest-inbox or any other.
    Going through a few of those posts here I want to add: Yes, you have been missed here and yes, I’d love to see you more often but you do what is good for you. You live your life for you, not for us. And I don’t care if this sounds pathetic.
    Keep your head high, you are amazing!

  5. Always makes me happy to see your blogs. Wish you would go back to doing it monthly at least. You’ve inspired me to refashion some dresses and sweaters and I thank you for that.

  6. Hello! Merru Christmas, nice to see you! I think it didn’t end up in Japan, but it still ended up in a nice new place – call it Colombus dress!

  7. Maybe you could make it look like a dirndl instead of kimono, if people think it looks Austrian. The original looked kind of like one. Just a thought πŸ™‚

  8. Cute refashion. Not particularly kimono-ish, though. A beer stein in each hand would not look amiss. You look fetching, as always. Excited to see you in my inbox!

  9. Really nice refashion. Love your tree. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. I love your livingroom; it is really nice and cozy. Wish mine looked like that. Don’t make the next refashion so far away.

  10. Love the dress. Everything looks so cute on you. Love the tree & your house. We are all so glad to see you again & hope 2018 is better than ever for you. We have missed you. Merry Christmas!

  11. I literally was thinking about how I was wishing for a post from you. It’s a Christmas Miracle. Miss seeing your posts in my inbox.

  12. Merry Christmas! Is it just me, or does the skirt look rumply, like it needs an anti-static spray or something? Or maybe that’s just very Austrian, lol! I commend your talents and enjoy your posts so much!! Peace, and I Love your Christmas tree!

  13. Very cute
    I think I saw that dress on a vintage good housekeeping cover
    I was just thinking the other day how much I missed your posts
    What a great Xmas present to see you again
    Love your place as well
    Happy Holidays and as always thanks for sharing

  14. Good to get another post from you! Definitely rocking the Christmas Elf look with this refashion – just perfect for the holidays!

  15. So glad to see you back again- I’ve missed reading your posts!! I’m about to do some serious Goodwill/American Cancer Society Thrift Shop/Jewish Women’s Council Thrift Shop shopping on my winter break, and need inspiration!!

  16. Great to hear from you again! Love your blog. To a very talented lady – Merry Christmas and Happy
    New Year.
    From up north in Asheville,NC

  17. What a delight to get one of your refashions in my email on Christmas Eve!! I have missed You! Have a wonderful Christmas!! Your tree, couch, n house are adorable. You have to tell us how you dyed your couch!

  18. Considering where this dress began, I think dirndl was too deeply embedded in its “DNA.” No matter. It turned out totally ready to Christmas party! Even your trees are dressed in their best. I only put lights on mine this year. And, BTW, do you ever use the fabric left over from your refashionista-ing? Some would work for quilts; others would look to be large enough to feature in other clothing. I need to get sewing in the new year. You and Lauren Taylor (lladybird) will definitely be inspirations. Merry Christmas!

  19. I need to do that exact same neckline thing to a dress I have. How do you deal with the point of the V so that I won’t rip or fray?

  20. Merry Christmas! Even if you go MIA for months and months, I get excited whenever I see you have a new blog post! Love your creativity, love that you show your process, mistakes and all, and that you do it with such humor. Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for being you!

    • I agree about the sleeves. Maybe you could’ve used the red cuffs and made them right above your elbow.
      Or, the whole thing would make a really cute Christmas Apron!


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