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Mad About Madras: A Preppy ’80s Dress Refashion

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There are certain prints/patterns that make me happy.

Floral Madras is one of them.

refashionista 80s floral madras dress refashion before
Innit neat?

While this print was really popular in the ’80s and early ’90s, unless you’re a frequent thrifter, you just don’t see it that much anymore. And while it’s definitely a preppy style (something I usually eschew), I still really like it.

Sadly, this dress wouldn’t work for me as-is. It’s too big for me and the length is kind of awkward (or maybe it’s just my lack of height that’s awkward?).

I didn’t care for those sleeves either. :/ I also knew I was going to a Pride event later that day and would be outside (to maintain social distancing) in almost 90-degree heat. Comfort was going to be essential for this Refashion.

One more thing. Upon closer inspection, I noticed the top buttonhole for this dress was looking a little worse for wear.

closeup of torn buttonhole
Oh noes!

Time to get this Preppy ’80s Dress Refashion underway!

First, I tackled those sleeves.

cutting off sleeves of dress
Snippity Snip!

It’s hard to see it here, but the sleeves for this dress aren’t set-in on the back. That means I couldn’t just pick them off with my seam ripper (what I prefer to do).

After snipping them off, I realized I hadn’t thought about the fray factor of this fabric, so I snipped again with my pinking shears.

trimming edges with pinking shears
Cutting it a little close, eh?

I pinned those teeny tiny raw edges down.

pinned raw edges on armhole

I really didn’t give myself much room here, but everything pinned down just fine.

Then, I ran each armhole through my machine.

sewing down armhole

Luckily, I had a thread that was the exact same shade of the teal blue of this dress, so it blended in perfectly!

I put my dress on my dress form inside-out and got to pinning.

pinned 80s dress on dress form
Fitting in progress!

Since this dress has a full button front closure (meaning I can get in and out of it without having to get it over my head and shoulders), I was able to get it nice and fitted! I measured each side to make sure it was even.

I also pinned each side of the top front placket down into a V.

pinning v-neck on dress
V for victory!

No more ugly torn buttonhole! Huzzah!

I also picked off that top button and added it to my button stash!

picking off top button from dress
Time to join your button brethren.

Then, I ran each side of the dress through my machine.

sewing side seam of dress

And then I stitched down my new V-neck!

sewing down v-neck of dress
Just a ‘lil whirrr!

Almost done!

I tried my dress on, and marked where I wanted my new hem to be with a safety pin.

Time for a final chop!

cutting bottom hem of dress

Check it out! We have a new table that’s big enough for me to do cutting on! My days of cutting hems on the floor are over and my knees are happy!

Our new dining room table also doubles as a gaming table!!!

I pinned my new hem down…

pinned bottom hem of dress
Just a lil hem.

…and stitched it in place!

sewing hem on dress
The final step!

Look at that Preppy ’80s Dress now!

refashionista 80s floral madras dress refashion after
Cool & Comfortable with my Rosé!

I really like this dress so much better without those sleeves! The fabric is just so light…perfect for a sleeveless sundress!

refashionista 80s floral madras dress refashion close up
Come closer!

I received lots of compliments on my new dress (from afar, of course), and Mr. Refashionista seemed to like it too!

Jillian and Brian
We cute.

Mr. Refashionista cut his beard shorter for summer! I think it looks really nice (I can almost see his face!).

Feel free to pepper him with praise in the comments below. 😉

Mr. and Mrs. Refashionista
He’s one handsome guy. 🙂

While we’re sad Pride events haven’t really been able to happen this year, we were happy for the opportunity to come out and support our friends. 🙂


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