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A New Years’ Eve 1970s Formal Dress Refashion

A DIY Xanadu Costume!
Allagash Dress to Top Refashion

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Around Christmastime, a friend of mine got a text message from his boss. He said he had boxes of vintage women’s clothing and accessories that he didn’t want anymore and wondered if his Refashionista friend would like to take a look at them.

I did. Oh yes. I did.

I ended up scoring some AMAZING vintage formalwear, kimonos, bell bottoms, and accessories!

I was particularly excited about this ’70s formal dress.

refashionista 1970s Formal Dress Refashion before
Hmmmmnnnn….How will I make this work?

That neckline tho! Amirite? WOWZA!

Other than that, this dress was a little too big, and I wasn’t digging that huge long skirt either. 

I know some of you are thinking, “Don’t you DARE remove any of that length!”

Sorry kids.

While this frock photographs really well, yards and yards of scratchy polyester don’t look quite so glamorous in person.

I liked the tag though.

tag that reads "Nadine"
Nadine was probably a very classy lady, don’t you think?

I laid the dress out on my living room floor.

It had a most impressive wingspan.

I then laid one of my favorite and best-fitting little black dress on top of it.

dress sprad out on floor with fitted dress on top

You can see where I’ve outlined the smaller dress in chalk.

I cut along the chalked line, and that’s where the finicky bit began.

I wanted this dress to fit absolutely PERFECTLY, so I actually ended up pinning this onto myself.

It required twisting into positions my yoga instructor would be very proud of.

fitting dress on myself
…and a LOT of pin pricks! *Ouch*

This took a LONG time to get right.

The fabric was stretchy and tough to get to align correctly on each side. But after a good bit of tweaking, I felt it was ready to go under the needle.

sewing dress on machine
Thank you for compensating for my incompetence, Pfaff!

This is all wrong, but it worked out. 🙂 Since my pins were facing the wrong way after I used myself as a dress form, I rolled the other side up and put it to the side. Luckily my machine is made to work for quilting, so it has a big enough space to handle my slackness.

Once each side was taken in, I needed to even out my bottom hem.

Since the back half of me is larger than the front half of me, it went askew in the fitting process. No worries!

dress on floor with bottom part cut off
sewing new hem
New hem!

And here’s the end result!

refashionista 1970s Formal Dress Refashion after
Oh yes.

I’m quite happy with this one!

But wait…there’s more!

refashionista 1970s Formal Dress Refashion after back
Le back!
refashionista 1970s Formal Dress Refashion after with arm raised
Ready to party!

Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?

Audrey Hepburn in 'Breakfast at Tiffanys'

But wait! As it was slightly chilly, I covered up in another one of my sweet finds from my friend’s boss…

refashionista 1970s Formal Dress Refashion after with faux fur coat
Don’t worry! It’s fake!

I had a blast ringing in the new year with my best pals.

Jillian with friends
Say ahhhh!
Jillian and friends
You’re probably just wanting me to share the big news already, arentcha?
Jillian and Susan
We time traveled back to the 1920’s!


1970s Formal Dress Refashion before and after
A DIY Xanadu Costume!
Allagash Dress to Top Refashion