Post 22 – In the navy

Hey Readers!  Sorry for my long absence, the past couple of weeks have been pretty stressful in both my personal and professional life and I’ve allowed that to de-prioritize my sewing time. Also, sometimes when things are bad, you just want to wear jeans and a t-shirt to work (which I’m allowed to do), rather than go to all the effort of a nice dress and heels.

However, the worst of it is over and I’ve since pulled myself up by my bootstraps and gotten in front of my sewing machine again.

Today’s refashion was another ebay find. I purchased it for $1.04, plus $6 shipping.  It’s a bit hard to tell from these before pictures, but this is a vintage navy blue dress with small white polka dots.

Navy Polka - before

While there is no tag listing the fabric. It is some sort of lightweight synthetic blend (which wrinkles like nobody’s business!) from this snazzy brand:

Navy Polka - tag

Mmmm…that’s not how you spell Kauai. Nice try.

It’s hard to tell (as soon as this blog starts paying off, *cough*never*cough*, I’ll get a nice camera to take good pictures), but this dress has a lot going on.

First, there is a double collar:

Navy Polka - double collar standing

Two for the price of one!  A BOGO I do not want. 

Then there are fun add-ons like shoulder pads:

Navy Polka - shoulder pad and double collar

And a wrap style lapel whose only purpose is to accidentally show someone my boobs/bra. Though, for you all, I will do so on purpose:

Navy Polka - revealing

No need to stitch that up, Kwai. *eyeroll*

Plus, as you can see in the top photos, pockets! Those puppies get to stay, but everyone else has to get the hell out.

The shoulder pad removal didn’t even warrant a photo, but here goes the white collar:

Navy Polka - removing collar


I considered both keeping the white collar and removing the blue, as well as removing both collars, but with the attached lapel. removing the blue was going to cause a lot of problems and just the white alone would have just been ugly. Trust me.

Next up on the chopping block? Those sleeves. I could’ve easily done a shorter sleeve, but instead, I went with the painstaking route of removing them with Jack:

Navy Polka - removing sleeve

I actually use two hands to seam rip, but it is hard to take a photo using no hands.

After a while, the matching fabric and thread blend together and I start to feel a little cross-eyed. I’m pretty sure that this step alone took over an hour. Blech.

Naturally, the following step was to pin and hem the armholes:

Navy Polka - pinned side and sleeve

Well, instead, I tried to do 2 things at once…like a dummy.

Since this dress was a bit big, but doesn’t have a zipper or buttons, it was not going to be possible to fit this on The Body, as once pinned, I wouldn’t be able to get it off of her!  So I decided, (again, like a dummy) to fit this on myself. I put it on inside out and started pinning away. Well guess what? For the same reason it wouldn’t have worked on the dress form, it doesn’t work on a real body. As I was trying to wiggle out of it, I poked myself multiple times in various spots, in addition to a number of the pins coming undone. Dammit!

So, I decided to just eyeball it and connect the dots with additional pins where they had come out.

However, then when I pinned the armholes, the two overlapped, so I had to undo some of the pins to take it in. Gah!

Armhole first:

Navy Polka - sewing sleeve

Then take it in:

Navy Polka - sewing side

Hard to see, but that’s stitching down the armhole to make it smaller and then the pink pin indicates where it goes from arm to side. 

I had to do one side at a time, to ensure that I wasn’t losing too much in the sides, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get it over my head!  Once I completed the second side, it was on to the length.

I feel like someone needs to be with me when I cut length. This person would grab me by the shoulders, look me in my eyes and say, “Jess, you are about to cut too much again. Think about what you are doing. You can always take more if it is too long.”

Alas, my dog can’t talk and she rarely seems like she’s trying to give me advice with her eyes.

Navy Polka - unhelpful dog

Stop. Don’t. That’s too revealing. 

I took off too much length.

Navy Polka - chopping length

Seriously though, look at that before picture again….I’ll wait.

Does this seem like too much?!  It doesn’t, right?!

Well, it was.  Luckily, once again, it is just about the most I could have taken off without having to make it into a tunic.  So, the hem was going to have to be small.


Navy Polka - pinned hem

There’s my purple pin tomato. I sewed an elastic loop on it, so I can wear it on my wrist!  This tool is the unsung hero of sewing. 


Navy Polka - sewing hem

I’m terrible with pinning in the correct direction. 

As with many other refashions, I felt like the dress would benefit from a sash. So I took a couple inches from the removed length:

Navy Polka - chopping sash from length

Folded it in half and pinned it:

Navy Polka - pinned sash

Sewed it up and turned it right side out. No photo, but it did happen.

Lastly, I added a small dart from the inside through the base layer of the lapel. This is also not pictured, but there wasn’t really anything to see…including, no longer my boobs!

The result:

Navy Polka - After w-legs

Yeah, that’s a lot of thigh. Better save that amount of leg for spring/summer.  These new shoes are also better left for fair weather.

Another great ebay find are these brown Givenchy heeled loafers:

Givenchy brown

These were $19.99 with free shipping!!   However, I think I know why these pretty vintage ladies were up for sale with little wear. The wooden heels make the strangest sounds! It’s like an old ship listing from side to side, *creaaak* *creeeeak*.  I’m sure that when I wear them to work I will get a lot of looks. Oh well! GIVENCHY!! (“jzhiv-on-shee” for the French averse)

Given all that, navy leggings, brown boots and a white cardi were the accessories to top off the look on this day:

Navy Polka - After w-boots


Now, I can’t promise 3 posts a week, like I had been doing previously, but I’ll try not to go 10 full days between them again.

Final comparison:

Navy Polka - final comparison

Take care of yourselves!

Update: Cameras with more than 12mp actually show that this dress has polka dots!

_DSC4436 _DSC4437


8 thoughts on “Post 22 – In the navy”

  1. I still don’t know how you can look past an 80’s looking, padded shoulder dress and see something trendy! The camera must have played tricks because it really didn’t look like you were cutting that much off the hem! It turned out well!
    On another note that is the cutest picture of my sweet granddog! ?

    1. Right?! Hem trickery! It’s easy, you just remove all the parts that are 80’s and ta-daa!

    1. It doesn’t seem that way, until I encounter a blustery day (as I did when I re-wore my Post 5 dress without leggings, on Tuesday) and it feels like everyone can see my butt!

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