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Vintage Nightgown Refashion

Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion
Why Do Some Fabrics Dye Better than Others?

When a friend of mine gave me this vintage nightgown to Refashion, I was tempted to just leave it as-is.

vintage nightgown refashion before
I could seriously just pad around the house like this all day.

I’m not really a nightgown kind of person. I’m more of a baggy T-shirt & comfy pants kind of pajama-er.

That lightweight fabric was just perfect for a hot South Carolina summer, and I planned to take full advantage of it.

Let’s Refashion this nightgown into a sundress!

I didn’t really care for that pale blue, so I decided to dye my nightgown a more sundress-y color.

Since RIT still hasn’t sponsored me (and I’m petty), I went with a new brand this time. 😉

dylon packet


I prepared my dye bath, and added my nightgown.

nightgown in dye bath

I’ve gotta say, I wasn’t super impressed with this dye. The dyeing process was longer, more involved, and my nightgown didn’t take as much dye as I felt it would have with my old standby, Rit.

If you’ve used Dylon before, I’d love to know what your impressions were in the comments below!

That’s right Rit. I still love you. I’m sorry about what I said earlier.

After a whopping HOUR in its dye bath, I tossed the nightgown into my washing machine for a rinse. I actually had to rinse it twice, because some of the dye still lingered after the first rinse (something I rarely have to do with Rit).

After I pulled it out of the dryer, I paused a moment to be amused by its tag.

Crown Nitewear tag

It was time to change up those straps. I almost went with a spaghetti strap for this piece but decided to ruche them instead.

You could use your sewing machine to do this (using the same technique I used on the tiers for this refashion), but I opted to ruche them by hand instead.

hand sewing needle
Let’s do this!

If this seems a little familiar, it might be because I performed this exact technique on this refashion from Year 1!

I threaded my needle and then wove it in and out of the fabric where the strap meets the body of the dress.

ruching shoulder
In & Out!

After I weaving my needle through the fabric, I gathered it by pulling the thread and pushing the fabric, then tied off the thread.

pulling gathers on strap
Just like this.

Now that my straps were to my liking, I flipped my nightgown inside-out and put it back on my dress form and began the taking-in process by pinning the sides.

nightgown on dress form
Do you like our little bonsai tree in the background?

Then, I ran each side through my sewing machine.

taking in sides of dress

I cut off the excess fabric too.

cutting off excess fabric
I feel like I never show this part. This is what it looks like.

Now for a new hem!

I cut off a bit from the bottom of my dress.

cutting off bottom of dress

Then, I folded and pinned my new hem in place.

folded and pinned hem
Almost done!

For my final trick, I stitched it down.

sewing hem
The last step!

Here’s what that vintage nightgown looks like now!

Vintage Nightgown Refashion After

I accessorized my new frock with a teal belt & sunnies to balance out that blue ribbon detail on the top.

I really like how the color turned out!

Vintage Nightgown Refashion After Closeup

Mr. Refashionista liked it too!

Mr. & Mrs. Refashionista


Refashionista Vintage Nightgown Refashion Before and After
Gingham House Dress to Fit & Flare Sundress Refashion
Why Do Some Fabrics Dye Better than Others?

46 thoughts on “Vintage Nightgown Refashion”

  1. I love dylon. Seems to hold much longer than RIT dye in my experience. You gotta add the soda ash and such to make it work though.
    This turned out adorable anyway.

  2. I’ve been showing my daughter your posts – she’s interested in fashion and I’m interested in saving money! We’re re-opening in Minnesota but I’m still hesitant to go out and about. In fact, we’re supposed to hit our peak this month and our county has a climbing number of cases suddenly. We have a WONDERFUL thrift shop, UpThrift, that we love to visit – they’re mandating masks and have their selection socially distanced so I’m hoping to take her there for a short visit next weekend and maybe she can find something to refashion. We’re still searching for our new normal in this pandemic…camping so we can avoid crowds, masks in every vehicle and at home, waiting months to meet my great-niece, not seeing family for 3 months, my daughter has seen 2 friends this summer – we’re all worn out.
    Saying that to say this, I love seeing When you have a new post! I save them all for Friday’s, have a glass (or a lot) of wine, and read them as a treat for surviving the week. Wishing you the best!

  3. I love it, as always. You are always inspiring me, thanks a lot. I wanted to say something about my experience with the dye:
    I’ve been using Dylon colour a lot and the results were quite good. But mostly I use Simplicol. Rit is only available online here in Germany and it costs about 17,- Euro per bottle (due to shipping costs) while Dylon and Simplicol cost about 6,- Euro per bottle. I use a lot of dye and I ‘m satisfied with both brands. But I never used the Dylon powder, only the liquid dye.

    • Wow! That’s crazy how expensive Rit is there! I’ve never found liquid Dylon here. I’ll have to look for Simplicol!

  4. Love it! I have a mod Pucci “night”gown and robe that I wear publicly and proudly. Why save pretty comfortable clothing just for home? (referring to items that are not revealing or racy) Kind of like “if the shoe fits wear it” but not exactly 🙂
    Thanks for your fun tutorials.

  5. I love your light sense of humor. I learn something from each of your posts. And I’m ready to start a petition for your RIT sponsorship!

  6. Dylon is more or less the only thing I can get in the Netherlands, and I have to say I usually not blown away by their product either. They work quite well on 100% cotton products, but everything else is usually slightly underwhelming, unless you’re really into pastels. I’m looking forward to the moment that my local shops start selling Rit instead!

    Recently I’ve started to collect avocado-pits and other natural dyes, fingers crossed, but I hope that will yield some results as well!

  7. I think the dainty lace and fabric look lovely on you! Sooo important to have something cool on these hot summer days. Right now it’s 39C (102F) up here near Toronto. I agree with the other Sara – I’d love to see a project where you ADD sleeves, like even a cap sleeve or tulip sleeve. Cheers

  8. Maybe if you removed the blue ribbon (left it without one or added a black one?) it might look a little less like a nightgown up top. But it still is rather cute. Also, did you iron the gown prior to sewing the hem? Wouldn’t the creases make the hem uneven if not ironed first??

    • I was on the fence about the blue ribbon! It was sewn into the two pieces of lace, so I left it. But I could have gone either way!

  9. I tried a mix of green Dylon with a polyester refashion (it was supposed to be specifically for poly-blends and touted itself to work on all hard-to-dye fabrics). I was not impressed. I tried forever and added black to the mix to darken it up, but my fabric never turned more than the softest shade of pale green. I feel your agony!

    • I’ll give them another shot on a garment with more cotton (or dye-happy fiber), but yeah…I wasn’t super thrilled.

  10. Sorry, this one still reminds me of a nightgown. Maybe if the lace and ribbon had taken the dye it would look less
    “nightly” to me. And it really needs a lining or good slip because the legs really show through too well !

    Love the blog, you, your creativity, Douglas, Benson and your teddy bear hubby.

  11. Melanie Griffin, I am in AR too! Love the refashion. I love light fabrics in hot weather. Too hot for anything thick and heavy.

  12. I love to refashion vintage lingerie into sundresses/beach covers, especially in FL heat. But I gotta know- in the pic where it’s on your form, that fabric sure looks sheer. Did you find that you had to wear a slip underneath? (OMG I feel so old saying that lol)

    • That’s a great idea! I DID wear a slip with my dress (just a half slip). Because sadly, it was a little sheer.

  13. Oy! On the tag, it says care over and I thought, yeah, me too, hahah “These difficult times” have made ME difficult! Today was my breaking point. My care is over. Four months in and I hate all the things. (just kidding, I think) I love the bonsai. Where can I procure one? I’m in rural AR, as alllll of AR is rural, hahahah I’m laughing even though it’s not funny. Thanks for your creativity and humor. I look forward to seeing you each time!

  14. Long time reader – and I’d credit you with giving me the confidence to dye clothes. If I’m tired of something, or it needs a refresh, I never hesitate to dye. With that… I always use Dylon. It’s my go-to. I think because once many many years ago, I used Rit for tie dye (this was before Tulip had their tiedye kits) and the RIT bled like crazy. I’ve never had an issue with Dylon bleeding or fading. I don’t typically dye mixed fabrics though, mostly 100% cotton or 60/40 blends. I use a dedicated stock pot for dying with hot water, mix in the dye real good and then put the fabric in and stir it every so often for an hour. Biggest thing I’ve ever dyed with Dylon were bed sheets, and it was a little light on color because I had to add more water.
    Anyhoo. I’m down with Dylon.

  15. So the lace didn’t take any of the dye? I actually went back to see where you said you removed the lace before dying, then saw the picture showing the lace in the dye bath.

  16. What a great idea to make the nightgown into a sundress. Ya know….. I am very surprised that Rite has sponsored you. I have seen your refashions from the beginning and you have probably dyed with their product at least 100 times. Bastards.

  17. I think this one is one of my favorites that you’ve ever done. I can’t wait to try it!

    Can you also do a piece where you ADD sleeves? I don’t like to show my upper arms and would love to see something like this done!

  18. Thank you for these creative, funny, & inspiring respites from the dumpster fire of the real world! You Mr. R & Benson make me smile. Take care y’all!!


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