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Retro 4th of July: Dress Refashion

Retro 4th of July: Dress Refashion

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Sometimes projects take you by surprise. I had another post originally planned for this week, with an outfit and photoshoot in the works. But then I spotted star printed fabric and a sailor collar on the Goodwill rack. I COULDN’T LEAVE IT THERE! A Providential find, but a demanding one. It meant that I had to buy, wash, refashion, and shoot an outfit in one weekend, in time for the 4th of July post! Here is the dress that started this epic journey!

Beautiful, no?

First step- use the stitch ripper to get rid of those shoulder pads!

My next job was the sleeves! Since the shoulder seams were an inch and half too big for me, I decided to remove the sleeves entirely and allow the shoulder seam to become a cap sleeve. Another option would have been to remove the sleeves, take in the shoulders, then re-attach the sleeves. (It’s actually not that hard if you follow this great tutorial on It’s Always Autumn.) In hind sight, the cap sleeve optioned ended up looking more 1950-1960s. If I had kept the sleeves, it could have skewed more 1940s as I had originally envisioned. Live and learn… Here is my thread ripper ready to help me remove the sleeves.

I also used the thread ripper to open the side seams about 2 inches.

Once the sleeves were removed, I finished the raw edge with a rolled hem. First, I marked about an inch and a quarter all around the arm hole.

Next, I folded the raw edge so that it was halfway to the markings. Rolled the folded fabric over on itself to meet the marking, and pinned it in place. Did this take forever to pin and stitch? Yes. Hem tape may have been a more efficient option. Live and Learn (again)! Either way, make yourself a cold ice tea before starting this part.

After removing the sleeves, the under arm area was too big. I tried on the dress to see how much to take in. I marked this estimate on the dress in tailors chalk, before pinning and sewing with large (easily removed) stitches. I had to do this several times before I liked the fit. (More ice tea!) I then stitched with a more permanent stitch and trimmed the excess fabric.

Whahoo! Time to hem! After trying on the dress, I marked where I wanted the finished hem to end. I then made markings all around the skirt that were an inch above and below my ideal length.

I cut at the lowest line.

Time for another rolled hem! Fold that fabric halfway to the mark, then over again to meet the mark. Pin and sew! (Another ice tea, Anyone?)

Ta-da! Here is the finished product! As you can tell from the very bright photo, the sun was now setting at this point!

To cap off my whirlwind project weekend, the next day was photo shoot day! After quite a bit of experimenting with accessories, I choose to take this dress to the 1960’s!

My vintage accessories really made the look! Thanks to the fabulous Stormie for sending this perfectly-matching-with-everything red necklace!

As promised, I’m also wearing my retro cherry earrings that I made in last week’s post! (Check out the tutorial here!)

My belt and purse were thrift store purchases, while my scarf came from Grandma and the shoes are Clarks!

Happy 4th of July, Everyone! A big shout out to all of our veterans! (We love and miss you, Grandpa!) Thanks to everyone who is working hard everyday to make this country the best place it can be! 🙂 Keep up the good work!

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