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How to Raise the Elastic Waist of a Dress

DIY Cropped Blazer
My Third Chemotherapy Treatment

Here’s a dress that’s been in my Refashion stash for a few months.

refashionista how to raise elastic waist of dress before
What to do with you???

When I first beheld this ’80s frock, I was pretty stumped.

I liked the print and those slightly puffy sleeves are really trendy right now, so I felt like I could make them work.

But I couldn’t decide whether to turn it into a top, or somehow figure out a way to keep it as a dress.

After much thought, I figured out what wasn’t working for this dress. The fit is actually fine, but that waistline falls at a really frumpy place that isn’t helped by the awkward length of the skirt.

Jerell's Sweetheart label
Exactly who is this “Jerrell”?

Anybody else just love vintage clothing brand names/labels????

This season, I’m seeing a trend of dresses with slightly high waists.

They don’t fall quite at one’s natural waist, but they aren’t quite empire waists either. Do a Google image search of Fall 2020 dress trends to see what I mean.

That’s the direction I decided to go in with my $1 thrifted dress.

But how does one (easily) raise the elastic waist on a dress????

Time was of the essence, as I had to hurry and get ready for a fancy wine dinner with Mr. Refashionista that evening. I had no time for hemming and hawing (except for the quite literal hemming I would eventually perform on this dress).

First off, I pinned the top of my dress where I wanted the waist to be.

pinning desired location of new waist
Right here!

Then, I cut the dress in two!

To make this step easier (since the fabric was all bunched up from the elastic), I stretched out the elastic waistband and pinned it to my ironing board first.

stretched out dress pinned to ironing board
Just a pin on each end!

This made it easy to get two nice straight cuts.

cutting top of dress with pinking shears
I used pinking shears to fight frayage!

I trimmed the area above the skirt elastic to .5″ and discarded the leftover scrap.

discarded fabric scrap

Now to bring it all back together!

The main challenge in reattaching the skirt to the top of this dress was the fact that the existing elastic gathers the fabric (duh), making it tricking to work with.

I could have just cut off the elastic, reattached the two pieces together and then added a new elastic waist.

But I’ve got a MUCH easier way!

I scrounged around the house until I found an object (a cardboard box) that would stretch out the waistband elastic enough to make pinning the top back on evenly easy.

using box to stretch waist and pin top back on to skirt
Thanks to Mr. Refashionista for his Amazon Prime addiction!

I pinned the two pieces together by tucking the skirt into the top with right sides facing each other.

skirt and top pinned together
Here’s what it looked like when I was all done!

Then, I stitched the pieces together on my machine, pulling the elastic taut as I went.

sewing waist on dress
Make sure to stitch riiiiiight above the elastic!

But what about that hem?

I marked where I wanted my new hem to be and made a chop!

cutting fabric from bottom of skirt

Then, I folded the bottom of the dress under twice, pinning as I went.

pinning hem for dress
Measure as ya go!

I’m sure some of you are questioning my judgment for removing so much of that interesting contrasting print from the skirt of this dress, but I thought it would look better with just a little bit of that print, since it’s already so prominent on the top of the dress.

sewing hem on dress
You can do whatever you want on your dress…but this one’s mine!

I pressed my new waist and hem (always assume I do this even if I don’t call it out!), and that’s IT!

My new dress was ready for a fun date night with my handsome hubby!

how to raise hem on elastic waist dress after
Why do I feel like I’m being watched (Look to the right)???

I really feel like tweaking the waist on this dress made all the difference!

I styled my new dress with black boots & tights, a vintage owlie brooch, and my new Wigsona!

I think this is my favorite wig so far!

how to raise hem on elastic waist dress after close up
Meet Liza!

Her name is Liza. She’s an art gallery curator who also moonlights as a jazz singer on her off nights. 😉

how to raise hem on elastic waist dress after side view
Liza loves a fashionable frock!

Mr. Refashionista and I headed out for a socially-distanced private wine dinner at the newly re-opened Hampton Street Vinyard!

Mr. and Mrs. Refashionista
Love this sweet guy!

I must say, the Mr. cleans up real nice. 😉

Brian in suit
“Let me talk to you about your investment portfolio.”

The food was as tasty and as it was beautiful.

Hampton St. Vinayard dinner
The pumpkin soup was my favorite!!!

Each course came with at least one wine pairing, sometimes more!

Hampton Street Vinyard wine dinner menu
So. Many. Wines.

We had a great time!

refashionista close up in liza wig
So did Liza!


how to raise elastic waist of dress before and after refashionista
DIY Cropped Blazer
My Third Chemotherapy Treatment