Turn An Old Dress Into A New Favorite
By Casey Cartwright
This dated, oversized dress gets a major style upgrade with an added lace inset, contrasting binding, and cropped hem. The waistline is then cinched with a satin sash for a more figure-flattering silhouette.
Hot Tip: When choosing a dress to reconstruct, opt for one larger and longer than the desired size. That way, you have more fabric to use.
• Dress, thrifted and oversized, with hook-and-eye back closure
• Fabric for contrasting bias binding and sash, 11⁄2 to 2 yards light- or medium-weight
• Fine net/lace, 1 yard
• Interfacing for sash, 1 yard lightweight
• Stabilizer or scrap tissue paper
• Thread to match dress and contrasting fabric
1) Prepare the dress. Remove any shoulder pads and any neckline closures at the back with a seam ripper.
2) Adjust the neckline. Try on the dress, and mark a new scooped neckline with pins on the front, blending into the existing back neckline at the shoulders. Make sure it's symmetrical. Smooth and trace the pin line with chalk; remove the pins. Remove the facing from the neckline. Cut the front neckline along the marked line. Staystitch the new neckline 1⁄4 inch from the cut edge; be sure to catch the lining in the staystitching.
3) Adjust the sides. Remove the sleeves with a seam ripper. Try on the dress inside out. Pin a new side seam to fit. Make sure both sides are symmetrical. Mark each side seam with chalk, and sew the new side seams. Trim seam allowances to match the existing side seam allowance, and lightly press the seams open.
4) Adjust the armholes. Try on the dress right side out. Mark a new armhole line at the shoulder seam with pins. Shorten the shoulder seam at the armhole end, if needed, to bring the armhole edge to a flattering place on the shoulder. Blend the new armhole seamline at the side seam into the existing armhole. Repeat with the other armhole, making sure they are symmetrical. Mark with chalk, and staystitch around the armholes. Trim away the excess fabric outside the staystitching.