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Welcome 2020: An ’80s Dress-to-Cocktail Dress Refashion

One Dress, Three Ways: 90's Babydoll Dress Refashion Edition
Hi There. Let's Catch Up.

Wow, you guys. I’m overwhelmed by all of your kind comments on my last post! I’ll be honest…I was a little worried about bringing this blog back from purgatory.

Is it still relevant?

Do people even really read blogs anymore?

and the most insidious thought that I’m ashamed to admit I volleyed around in my brain for a long time:

I’m too old/not cute enough to be interesting as a fashion blogger anymore.

A while back, Brian and I went to see Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (the refashion is coming you guys, just bear with me for a sec). In it, there’s a scene where Carole’s practicing a song she had written. For those who are unfamiliar, she was a prolific songwriter/composer long before she released her first album. Someone in the studio asked her why she didn’t record any of her own music.

“Who wants to hear music from an average boring person?”, she asked (I’m paraphrasing as I couldn’t find the exact quote…sorry!).

“Other average people.”


In a world *cue movie trailer voice* of fantastically good looking influencers whose contour game rivals that of the great masters, I aspire to just be authentic. Average. Kind of okay-looking. Because fashion and style are not exclusive to the rich, young, and gorgeous. We can all be fabulous, and that’s what this blog is all about.

It was hard, however, to feel fabulous in this 80’s pinktastrophe.

refashionista, 80s dress
What the frock?

The color (I’m not a big pink fan). The sleeves. The terrible length. That awkward fortuny-pleated underlayer. There’s a lot to not like here.

Maybe if I just pose better?

Does anybody else enjoy looking at the brands/labels of older/vintage clothing? Because I do.

Welcome 2020: An '80s Dress-to-Cocktail Dress Refashion 1
I would not make my maid wear this.

I did, however, like these pretty sparkly bits that reminded me of firsworks. Perfect for a New Year’s Eve party, amirite?

So sparkly!

Alright. Time to get to work.

Welcome 2020: An '80s Dress-to-Cocktail Dress Refashion 2
Little baby shoulder pad thingy!

Since I knew I’d be dying this and was nervous about being able to get enough saturation in this 100% poly number (polyester is super duper challenging to dye), I removed everything I knew I didn’t want first.

Such as these sleeves!
And that pleated layer!

I reached for a bottle of dye that I’ve had sitting on shelf for years (not kidding).

Rit Dye Dyemore
But will you really dye more?

This was my first go with synthetic-specific dye, so I had no idea what to expect. Polyester usually doesn’t take much dye at all, so as long as I didn’t end up with a bright pink frock, I would be content. I figured the sparkly bits would probably keep most of their pinkness, but was okay with this.

First, I had to get a big pot of water to 180 degrees, as per the instructions on the bottle.

Let’s get this party started!

Then, I added the dye and the dress.

In we go!

After 30 minutes of constant supervision/stirring, I could see a modest amount of the dye actually took, but that the dress was nowhere near the graphite color proclaimed by the bottle. But like I said before, this was not surprising.

Time for a rinse!

I really liked how low-mess this dye was. Regular dye can take forever to rinse out/clean up, but that wasn’t an issue for this project. While I didn’t get the level of saturation I had hoped for, I was fairly satisfied.

After my dress was rinsed and dried, it was time to get to the actual sewing part of this refashion.

I tried it on, and saw I would need to take it in a smidge.

Pinning each side!
Let’s hear it for the first Whirrrrrr of the 2020!

After I cut off the excess fabric, I got to work closing up those armholes.

Pinned & Prepped!
Almost done!

I didn’t even have to bother with the bottom hem, as after removing that bottom layer, the over-layer’s hem was just fine!

After a LOT of pressing and steaming (the dye process made this dress SUPER wrinkly!), I was ready to head off to a New Year’s Eve party in style!

Happy New Year!
Paired here with my favorite Nana bag!
A closer look at the bling!

Brian and I had a great time ringing in 2020 with some of our favorite people!

Isn’t he handsome?
Remember these guys?

I got lots of compliments from my friends on my new frock, and while some of them are probably quietly dreading hearing the phrase, “Can you take a picture of me for my blog?” over and over again, right now they’re being super supportive. 😉

But for how long?


Welcome 2020: An '80s Dress-to-Cocktail Dress Refashion 3
One Dress, Three Ways: 90's Babydoll Dress Refashion Edition
Hi There. Let's Catch Up.