Today’s refashion was another $0.69 find at the Salvation Army. If it weren’t less than a dollar, it is unlikely I would’ve taken a gamble on it. “But Jess, you can make just about anything into a better looking garment, what’s so bad about this?” Welllll….because I actually couldn’t even fit in it when I got it home, which was valid, because it is a dress for a child. 🙂
Yup, that’s the before picture. I couldn’t button it, nor get my arms through the sleeves to even take a picture, so that’s all you are going to get by way of an untouched look at the dress.
This was likely intended for a bigger child, but definitely not one with boobs, because those buttons were not going to meet, no matter how much I squished my girls down. Alas, I wasn’t going to give up on this…yet.
First step, get rid of the stained bib on the front.
Ew. You must go now.
It was actually sewn to the top of the dress, rather than between layers like some of the other refashions I’ve done, so I was able to seam rip it off, rather than cut it with scissors.
This left a 1/4″ of fabric which I had to flip from the outside to the inside, pin, and then sew down.
Next, I decided that I would remove all of the straight stitches on the inside and leave the serged seams, which added about 1/8″ on each side.
See what I mean? Not much, but every little bit was going to help…probably. However, since this is likely ca. 1980’s the thread was ripping and fraying like crazy, making the seam ripping more annoying than usual.
Wispy little strings that shred. Ugh.
Following all that, I also removed the existing hem, which added over an inch of length.
Surprise, surprise, it had been doubled over and there was another 1/4″ underneath, which was ready for sewing down, with no pinning! I mean, if you can handle that sort of thing. 🙂
Unfortunately, after removing all the straight stitches from the sides and waist, it revealed a number of weak spots (a.k.a. holes) which I had to then go back and reinforce, without accidentally taking it in. So I just sewed over the top of all the serged lines.
Shoulders pictured above and the waist below:
I also didn’t need the ties to do the job of cinching the waist, so I removed them.
And then sewed them together to make a sash.
The next step was to make the sleeves large enough for woman-sized arms. Luckily, the sleeves were gathered, then sewn down with a cuff. So, by removing the cuff…:
I freed a bunch of fabric! Here is the cuff’s full length, next to the sleeve:
That’ll do nicely! Finally, I pinned the sleeve:
It was time to relish in my ingenious idea to take this from playground blah to office hoo-rah (yes, I’m a nerd, you are right to roll your eyes) and I tried it on. Now, I feel like you may have intuited that adding 1/8″ to each of the sides would not be enough to make it fit over my boobs. Well, you would be right. I tried a number of combinations of buttoning with varying levels of decency. I began to say things to myself like “I could wear this on a date without a bra, and that would be okay, right?” “Other women show lots of cleavage all the time. I could get away with red-carpet level boobage for sure, yeah?” “If I just button the top button, it could be like a cool keyhole. ”
Ultimately, I answered all of these questions correctly, which was “NO!” So, I put the dress back on the hangar for a day when I felt like figuring out how to make a gusset in the back, but I had neither the time nor the fabric to do so.
A few days later it hit me…tank top! Duh! I pulled the dress back out of the closet and put it on over a white tank top. Hey, not bad at all!
So that is how I wore it to work today, plus some tights to combat the chill of the AC:
Not too shabby for a dress meant for a kid! I probably won’t be tackling another project like this in the future, but it was a fun experiment this time around.
Have a good one!