Sunday, August 22, 2010

Old Dress Makeover

One of Sarah's friends gave her several old dresses. The dresses had been sitting in the back of someone's closet for decades and the owner was looking for a new home for them. This particular dress was the best of the bunch.

We loved the skirt. Who could not love that skirt? So sweet and swooshy. Sarah also adored the cummerbund, I wasn't sold on it but was willing to salvage it if possible.

Our plan was to cut off that monstrosity of a bodice (check out that collar!) and turn the dress into a skirt. It's a bit shorter than she likes to wear her skirts as is, so we planned to drop it a couple of inches. I had also planned to take apart the cummerbund and use another pattern to sew a shaped waistband/yoke from the fabric.

Luck was with me, though. The cummerbund had an interesting construction detail that saved me an hour and a half of work (and countless mental swear words. I may not say them, but I do think them when pushed.) At the ends of the band the fabric had been folded in an inch and a half rather than sewn to the exact length. That three inches made it possible for me to just take the band and use it directly as the new waistband. I did have to take in the top edge about an inch and a half or so to adjust for her waist. I did that the same way they did, just folded it in.

This of course meant that I was able to salvage that front knot on the cummerbund; it was Sarah's favorite part of the band. It's the perfect detail.

Here's the finished skirt:

All together it took me about 45 minutes to take this dress from strange and out of date to gorgeous one of a kind skirt.

Sarah is very happy. She's also not all that sad that none of her blouses quite work with it so she needs a new one. We're thinking something fitted in cream.


  1. (from 2Ps)

    Love it...adorable!

  2. I love it! I think the juxtaposition of a plain white t-shirt with it and ballet flats would be adorable!

  3. very cute- and your daughter is lovely :)

  4. That is really fabulous. I love it.

  5. I think this is so stinkin cute!!!! I had a dress in high school (for show choir) that had a similar skirt portion. Would have been way cuter like this!