I’ve already confessed to you my love for the ReFashionista’s blog on July’s What I’m Lovin’ post so it should be no surprise that I’m attempting to put that inspiration into action!
Today I’m showcasing my first refashion which I’m excited to say was a total success!
I tried my best to take pictures of the steps, but I encourage you to browse through the ReFashionista’s blog for tips and inspiration! She’s been at this refashioning business far longer than I have and she’s much better at taking step-by-step pictures.
My favorite outfit from the ReFashionista so far has been the seersucker house dress she revamped a few weeks ago. As I admitted in July’s What I’m Lovin’ post, I’ve been in search of a house dress to do the same! If you’ve ever tried on a house dress (or a muu muu), you know exactly why. Comfort is THE reason these fabulous things were created. Fashion or figure flattery (is that a word? Spell Check thinks so. I’m running with it!) were not the intention here.
My mission to find the perfect house dress to refashion journey began as the thrift racks parted and out jumped this wonderfully wrinkled seersucker linen blend house dress right into my arms.
Yes, it was long. And wide. And super unflattering on someone of my height.
But the sleeves!!
These sleeves reminded me of the April Rhodes Date Night Dress pattern I’d bought and told myself I’d make this summer, but of course I let fear (and a lack of time..) drive me away from tackling that project (yet!).
In addition, these are the kind of sleeves that every Southern lady appreciates. They’re flouncy enough to let a little breeze in so you’re not a total puddle of sweat when venturing outdoors in this swamp-like heat.
This one made me so giddy to tackle! So, I decided to make it my first refashion. Ever!
I started by trying on the dress inside out (so I could make marks) and pulling it in on each side to get an estimate of about how much I would need to take it in.
Then I turned the dress back to it’s right side and gently started ripping off the square pockets from the front of the dress. I would’ve loved to keep them (because I love pockets of all sorts and kinds…even though I never use them), but upon trying it on I realized the pockets would get split down the middle and be useless anyway when I took it in.
After successfully (and painstakingly slowly..) ripping the pockets off, I turned the dress inside out and tried it on again. This time I placed pins along the sides of the dress until the fit was roughly what I wanted.
I think this dress may have been handmade because there were no tags in it. That being said, I kept having trouble telling the front from the back so once I figured it out, I stitched in one of my old fabric resliced labels so I’d easily know the back of the dress now.
I then drew a few marks with my vanishing ink fabric marker (highly recommend getting one of these!) in the arm pit / bust area. This is an area that can make or break your dress so be sure to mark carefully (give yourself a little extra “wiggle room”). After the pins are placed, be very careful when taking the dress back off so your pins don’t fall off and you lose your measurements (you could make marks with your marker where the pins are just in case. If you do this, be sure to mark both sides of where the pin is placed).
The door to my craft room + one of those hangers with the swivel hook on top has become the best set up for alterations. If I had one of those fancy dress making mannequins that’d be a good substitute, but I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!
So, I hung up the dress & used washi tape (it’s just fancy painters tape, but I found some cute rolls for only $1 at JoAnn’s!) to secure the edges of the skirt to my surface (in this case: my door).
I taped this area so that I could cut the bottom of the dress easily while it was hanging. If you have room on the floor, you could get fancy and use a cutting board or even a table, but again – I’m workin’ with what I’ve got!
See this cute washi tape! I love that it won’t rip the paint off and it’s easy to rip off the roll. Great for crafting!
I cut quite a bit off the bottom of the dress. This material is great weight and very sturdy so I’m looking forward to using the scraps to make a purse.
From here, I basically straight stitched along my marks from the edge of the sleeve to the bottom of the dress (where the edge was still raw).
Before cutting the excess fabric, I tried on the dress one more time to make sure it fit. After confirming the new seams worked, I cut the excess fabric from each side of the dress.
To secure the bottom hem of the dress, I used fusible hem tape.
Sew Caroline introduced me to this stuff in her Out And About Dress pattern. Basically, you just roll the tape out and stick it to the edge of your seam. Then remove the paper so that both sides of the tape are sticky. Flip the edge of the fabric so that the tape is sandwiched between your hem. Iron it in place so that it fuses to the fabric. If you’d like, you can leave it like this because the tape is supposed to be permanent. I don’t trust it, so I always top stitch over it to secure the edge. If your raw edges fray, you can use a tight zig zag stitch or serger if you’re fancy like that.
Here’s what my final product looks like!
I picked the dress up for only $3 & found the belt for 50 cent! Win, win.
And here – a side by side before and after!
So what do you think?
This refashion was oh-so-easy and super fun! I’m definitely going to be doing more of these in my new Thrifted Thursday series (I’m using “series” loosely here since I may not have a new refashion every week, but when I do – I’ll post it on Thursdays!).