Monday, August 08, 2011

From frumpy mess to funky dress!

I bought this dress at Glastonbury festival from a a sort of jumble-sale type stall. I really liked the colours and patterns of the fabric and screwed up on the table (and for the bargain price of £2.50) it seemed like a good deal. When I got it home, however, and tried it on I was not very impressed with my purchase.... Can you say frumpy and unflattering???

I'm not one to just give up on a piece of clothing that's not quite right, however as I love to sew! So after a few weeks of leaving the dress in a heap at the bottom of my wardrobe, I fished it out and decided to jazz it up with the help of my trusty sewing machine.

I purchased a few extra bits and pieces to help with the transformation...

(the white cotton is actually an old petticoat - hooray for being extra thrifty!)

My plan was to completely remove all the wierd and slightly tacky looking pink buttons that ran up the top half of the front of the dress and sew up the front. I wanted to sew in some darts to the bodice to make it more fitted and also to change the sleeves to make them shorter and less baggy. I also wanted to add a funky bib-type collar in a contrasting fabric to the front to change it a bit more dramatically.

So, first of all I snipped off the pesky buttons and sewed up the front of the dress...

Buttons be gone!

Here's the front all pinned together and some arrows to show where I sewed up the front of the bodice and down the sleeves to make it less baggy. I also put in some darts going up from the elasticated waist to make it a more flattering fit (not pictured). Tto measure where these went I put the dress inside out and pinned it to fit - it took a few goes to get them just right....

Here's the pattern piece I cut out for the 'bib' collar. I based it on the neckline of another dress and made sure the measurements fit the neckline of dress it was getting stitched to.

Then I pinned the pattern to the paisley fabric and cut out the collar. I also cut out the same shape in the white cotton...

And I made a small collar for the back of the neck in the same way...

Next I attached the paisley fabric to the white cotton (right sides together) and sewed them up, leaving one end open...

Then I turned the pieces so the right sides were facing out (and had lovely neat seams) and attached them to the dress...

I sewed the green ribbon around the bottom edges of the bib and the collar at the back.

Finally I cut the sleeves to the desired length and also sewed a bit of the paisley fabric around each arm-hole.....

Here it is, transformed into a funky and much more flattering dress!


I really enjoyed transforming the dress - and now I have something completely unique and perfectly fitted to wear :)

I hope you enjoyed this insight into my little tailoring project! May you be inspired to alter something that's not quite right in your wardrobe!


  1. Hi there just found your blog through Meme rose. Love the dress, great job, oh i do love a bargain :D. have become a follower so see you again!!
    Ps love the bag

  2. Ok..I found you on another blog..your name caught my attention..I think you are one creative person..I am going to follow you if you don't mind..

  3. Hello -thanks for popping over to my little corner of the internet and reading! :)