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Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion

90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar
Mini Sewing Machine Review: Are They Any Good?

Sartorial options for pregnant women used to be fairly abysmal my friends.

Refashionista Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion before
I look like a weird overgrown toddler.

Women must have really really really wanted kids back then. Why else would they suffer the indignities of wearing dresses like this one?

Let’s take a closer look at that collar…er…those collars.

closeup of double collar

There’s a lot going here. We’ve got a sailor collar. We’ve got a white collar. And for some reason we’ve also got a bow.

closeup of collar with back flipped up
It’s a bit extra.


I would have loved to have been in the meeting where this design was pitched.

It’s just too much. And when paired with the shapelessness of the dress and sleeves, it’s not a flattering look.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, you won’t pay a penny more, but I’ll get a small commission. Thanks!

However, it was only $1 (Yay thrift store clearance rack!), so I thought I’d give refashioning this maritime maternity dress a go!

First, I removed the bow.

removing bow with seam ripper
Away you go, stupid bow.

Then I removed the white collar as well.

removing white collar from dress
Pick. Pick. Pick.

I know some of you are disappointed that I removed the white collar rather than the sailor collar. Some of you weirdos may even think I should have kept them both.

But don’t be too bummed. I’m saving that white collar for another refashion! Come back in a couple of days to see it re-homed!

removed collar and bow
“I’ll be back!”

I’m like Beth in The Queen’s Gambit…always thinking steps ahead y’all!

While I was on my seam ripping spree, I also got rid of the sleeves.

seam ripping out sleeves

Temps are in the 80s here in Sunny SC, so they had to go.

removed sleeves

This left me with a lot of raw edges to deal with.

I clipped open edge along the neckline where I removed the white collar.

clipping collar back together
Close ‘er up!

Pinning would work for this too, but sewing clips (you can score your own here) make it much easier.

Then, I stitched it up!

sewing down collar of dress
Sewing this part slllllowly!

I folded the armholes under twice and clipped them into place.

Clipping armhole into place
Begone raw edges!

Usually, this is an easy task, but this fabric was oddly tricky to work with, so it took a little longer than usual.

When the armholes were at last secure, I stitched them down.

sewing arm hole of dress
My arms are about to be freeeee!

I put my dress on my dress form and pinned the sides where I wanted to take it in.

pinned side of dress
Like this!

Since this is a maternity dress, I thought I might have to unpick that gathering at the front and reattach it (sans gathers). But upon closer inspection, I didn’t think the gathers made the front of the dress too blousy, so I left them/saved myself a few steps.

I sewed each side of my dress down.

sewing side of dress
Stitch that side!

Then, I trimmed off the excess fabric with my pinking shears.

cutting off excess fabric
Pinking shears help keep the fabric from fraying!

Now for the length!

I put my dress on and pinned a couple of inches below where I wanted the hem to fall (to allow for said hem). Then, I cut off the fabric below the pin.

cutting off bottom hem of dress
My owlie in the background matches my dress! Surely a good omen.

If you fold the bottom fabric over as you cut, it’ll stay nice and even.

folding fabric over and cutting

I turned my dress inside-out and folded the bottom under twice 1″, pinning it in place.

pinning bottom hem
This could be the beginning of a beautiful…hem.

Then, I stitched it down.

sewing hem of dress
Just a little hem stitchery.

I could have stopped right there, but I decided to add a little something fun to the bottom of my dress.

I re-threaded my sewing machine with white thread and selected this stitch:

wavy decorative stitch selected
Ride the wave!

Then, I sewed my stitch.

sewing wavy stitch on bottom hem

I think it gives the bottom of my dress a nice bit of contrast/visual interest!

refashionista Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion after
Paired here with a French 75!

My new dress enjoyed a couple of afternoon cocktails with a few friends!

refashionista Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion after sitting
That collar isn’t so bad now is it?

I styled my new dress with these Elton John-esque sunnies.

refashionista Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion closeup of sunglasses
B-b-b-benny and the Jets!

I think the solo collar is a much better look for this dress.

Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion in front of stairs
Feeling quite fetching!

The overall style of this dress is a little preppier than my usual…

refashionista in front of brick wall
Ready to step onto my yacht!

…but I still think it’s really cute!

Jillian and Brian
Mr. Refashionista thought it was cute too!


Refashionista Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion before and after
90s Babydoll Dress Refashion with Repurposed Face Mask Collar
Mini Sewing Machine Review: Are They Any Good?

39 thoughts on “Sailor Collar Maternity Dress Refashion”

  1. Agreeing with my fellow admirers of your blog. This is adorable. Thanks for sharing and inspiration. You be good to yourself.

  2. Love it! Once again, the “after” looks like something from Nordstrom’s. I’ve followed you forever, and am so inspired. Excellent job again!!! Hugs, Lynnette

  3. Love this refashion! I’m always amazed at how you turn sad garments into happy ones. I also liked catching Mr. Refashionista in the mirror taking your pic! <3

  4. I think the design plan was that the busy frou frou would distract from the bump. I love how you’ve streamlined it with your changes. Very cute.
    Not too preppy. I think you’re rocking it and I’m so pleased to see your hair growing back in, I know, more important that you are healthy but good hair is a sign of health.

  5. I thought the dress was perfect just the way it was…. haha I think the 80’s moto was more is ALWAYS better, more sleeves, more hair, more collars, just more of it all. You make the unwearable (unbearable) wearable again. Yours is the only blog I am actually signed up for and I love reading your redo’s. You have such clever ideas and don’t mess around when you refashion. But mostly I love how you write. You always make me smile and even laugh out loud…yes while I am at work supposed to be working. You need to write a book or something I bet it would be a huge hit.

  6. Seeing the ‘before’ brought back the maternity dress horrors of the ‘80’s! I agree, they were horrible!!! And I wore them. I really like what you did with the refashion. You are so creative and inspiring!!

  7. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I love it! It’s the perfect, classy little summer dress. You can wear this one anywhere! Brava!
    Now, I’m off to watch the linked refashions. (Thanks for that!)

  8. I love when you brighten my inbox with your humor and creativity. Those collars are too much! Now to figure out a thrift store with a $1 sale rack in S Fla-hoping your tour brings you this way. You look wonderful.

  9. I really like this one. Good job! The dueling collars were hideous!
    It is nice to see you looking and feeling better. And posting more.
    Do you have any advice for taking in nursing scrubs?

  10. I love sailor collars! Super refashion and I like the decorative stitching at the hem. You are so gifted at seeing the possibilities of some pretty scary looking thrift store finds.

  11. I can’t sew, but I love your blog. You do such lovely things with clothes. Plus I love upcycling. You go girl.

  12. I too wore those maternity tents back in the 1970s. The worst memory I have is that in the winter my bump was always freezing cold because it was so exposed to the air.

  13. SO nice – I love sailor collar and this suits you pretty well ! I like the way you use subtraction as refashion
    Fist vaccine shot this Saturday but the triftstores are sill closed in Belgium – non essential stores as they say – silly guys 🙁
    Take care of yourself

  14. Long time follower also. This one I especially love the contrast wave on the hem. You have inspired me to chop up some useless clothing and fashion something desirable. Thank you sista!

  15. You are so dang cute. I am always inspired by your refashioning skills. It makes me want to go thrifting again (as soon as I am fully vaccinated, of course). However after a year + of wearing nothing but workout wear, hiking clothes and pajamas ….. not sure I know how to dress up anymore

  16. You are right about how awful maternity clothes used to look, they were terrible. My daughter-in-law is pregnant now and the fashions are so much better. You did a great job on this dress (as usual). I wonder where you get your inspiration for the refashions. I look at a piece of clothing and can only think that it’s bad. and I can’t think of any ideas!

  17. Love how this turned out. O must say I was a bit distracted with the last picture because I couldn’t figure out what was going on with your ear? Then I realized it was a women’s leg lined up just so that it made your ear look “different”. hahah

  18. Longtime lurker, first time commenter. That refashion, my darling full of southern charm, is fan-freakin-tastic. You have an amazing sense of invention I marvel at almost every day. I also absolutely love your taste in sunglasses, every time. You are an inspiration in my life and I thank you for it. Cheers!


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