From Eek to Chic – Vintage Refashioning!

Ladies and Gentleman, I feel I have done something very dangerous (to my future bank balance at least!). I have re-fashioned a vintage dress.

It all started when I finally got round to spending the vouchers for a vintage store in London that my step-dad had given me a couple of Christmases ago. I saw this dress peeking out on a rail and was immediately drawn to the big floral print. The only problem? The dress itself was hideous.

Puffy sleeves give me a slightly

Puffy sleeves make me cross, apparently…!

Usually at this point, I would sigh wistfully and put the dress back. However the sewist in me started to plan how to make it wearable. Before I knew it, I had parted with my cold-hard cash and the dress had found its way onto my sewing pile…

When I got the dress home, I realised just how tacky the dress was in its current state. That witchy collar? The 20 teeny tiny buttons that seemed to be everywhere? The giant sleeves with the long cuffs? It needed dragging into the 21st Century!


Headless, due to the awful face I was pulling in this pic!

I took the bodice and skirt apart, and unpicked all the bodice pieces. The skirt needed taking in at the waist, which I did simply by overlocking the dress into a smaller size. For the bodice, I turned the back into the front and vice versa, using a different dress I have as a guide for the shape.


More wearable!

Initially I tried to make a clean finish binding on the neckline and the armscye using Colleterie’s brilliant tutorial, but the fabric was too thick and it made the dress sit a bit funny, so I ended up taking them off and using a double needle. This gives the edges a nice clean finish without being too bulky. Hurrah! The only problem is that I couldn’t quite get the front of the bodice to sit flat. I don’t think it looks too bad, but if anyone has any tips for how to avoid this, let me know in the comments!!

If you look in the middle of the bodice, you can see where it's standing a little proud...

If you look in the middle of the bodice, you can see where it’s standing a little proud…

For the back, I made a little opening at the top and re-used one of the buttons. When I tried to do this with the binding, I couldn’t quite get my head around it! I ended up double stitching it down too, which gives it a neat finish whilst still being nice and secure.


The dress is a bit skewiff in this photo because I’m standing a little strangely

Being able to re-fashion clothes was one of the reasons I wanted to start sewing in the first place and it was definitely fun seeing what I could make from what was there. The only problem is, as a lover of all things vintage (crazy prints, big skirts, gorgeous silhouettes… swoon!) I suspect that my vintage shopping budget will significantly increase now that I can change up the styling!!



Have you re-fashioned anything vintage? If you’ve blogged about it, link in the comments so I can have a look!


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