Sunday, May 18, 2014

blue dress refashion

vintage dress refashion

I don't think it's any secret that I (Jessica) am kind of obsessed with vintage clothing. I especially love taking vintage dresses and making them into something modern and wearable. I've done this several times before today, but today's dress was truly something special. My friend Debbie practically threatened to steal it from me when I wore it to church: 

vintage dress refashion

Apart from the amazing color, the thing that sold me on this vintage 80's dress was the gorgeous neckline detail. Delicate lacework and cut outs plus applique. It's a higher necked dress that is actually still flattering on me because of the V shaped detail of the top:

vintage dress refashion

**Also, for you regulars, yes these are pre-haircut pictures! Ignore the long black hair, pretend you can see my haircut**

Of course you know that this dress didn't start out life being quite so adorable. It started out being almost as frumpy and crazy as most vintage 80's fashion, gorgeous color aside. Here's the before and after:

vintage dress refashion

Yikes, I sure look unhappy in the 'before' picture, don't I? Probably because it was the most unflattering dress shape ever. It was too big on the top and made me look heavier then I am. The arms were just...why? Why would anyone ever do that on a dress?

"Dear 1980's: Please explain the choice of dolmen sleeve that makes it look like your boobs are hanging under your armpits. Sincerely, Jessica."

Additionally, it was about 10 inches too long for me. I'm used to this, I have to hem up a lot of vintage dresses, but this was just ridiculous.

But because of that neckline, there was no way I was letting this dress go to waste in it's natural state. I agonized about how to fix the dolmen sleeves without butchering the shoulder detail, but in the end I decided to just go for it:

vintage dress refashion

I cut off about six inches of the sleeve in a diagonal all the way to the waistband. Then I measured about 8 inches from the shoulder down the side, and sewed the sides together from that point down to make new sides for the bodice. I hemmed the edges of the new sleeve opening down, and then hemmed the bottom of the dress up about ten inches.

That was all! After those tiny tweaks I got this awesome dress:

vintage dress refashion

Even though I had to chop part of the arm detail off, I think the dress looks 1,000 times better without the weird sleeves. I absolutely love love love how this dress turned out after such a simple tweak. The result is a breezy, gorgeously colored dress with eye-catching detail. I'm so happy I didn't pass this one up at the thrift store!

Thank you so much for checking out my latest refashion! As always, I would love to hear what you guys think. Is there some way I could have saved the arm detail without leaving the crazy sleeves alone?



  1. wow!! this is a seriously awesome makeover!! I love what you did with it.. makes me want to find a dress to cut apart ;o) Love it!

  2. I'm so mad at myself. I don't get to the thrift store nearly enough; and I went last week & forgot to look at refashion projects! Every time I see one of your refashion post, I solemnly vow to myself that I WILL dig through the dresses and find something to save. Your dress is gorgeous! I agree, the neckline is to die for. Great co,or on you too!

  3. This is very nice. You did a good job with the dress. I am inspired, totally get a dress to refashion from the thrift store this week :)


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