Friday, May 17, 2013

A Dress Makeover

My daughter in her new dress
A piece of the original dress
Now this post is not about fashion.  It is about using things that are available.  I have been given some of my grandmothers dresses that are too large for me.  I had a thought that I might be able to cut them down and make dresses for my daughter.  I started with the pattern that she chose, then I matched it with the dress that I would be able to cut it from.

The pattern piece pinned to the dress section
The pattern that she chose was of course a princess cut.  There was only one dress that would work for this pattern.  Of course, I had taken the dress apart before I thought about  taking pictures.

It took me two sessions to get everything all cut out.  I cut out a size 10 knowing it would be a little big right now, but it probably won't be for long.  The work of a mother is truly never finished.  As I was cutting the front panel out I realized that I couldn't cut the pattern out as it was designed.  Because my grandmother's dress had a V neck with a dickey, I had to cut this dress out with a V neck.  Fortunately, my grandmother's collar and dickey were still usable   So I can just cut the collar down a little because it is too wide for a little girl's dress.  The collar and dickey were very nicely made with decorative stitching along the edge.
Cut to pattern piece

Back of the dress
I started by sewing the sides to the middle sections.  Then I sewed the middle seam up the back, using a wide basting stitch through the section where I will install the zipper.  After that I pinned and sewed the zipper down.  After the zipper was sewn I had to pick out the stitches that I had used to keep the zipper centered.  Then I sewed the collar pieces onto the appropriate front section with the facing.  After I got the collar pieces sewn down to the main piece, I sewed the two front sections together making sure that I matched the edges at the collar.  After I sewed the pieces together I sewed in the dickey.

Front of the dress
At this point the front and back are still separate.  I laid the back section down on a piece if scrap material and cut facing for the back.  After sewing in the facing on the back, I pinned and sewed the shoulder seams. I still had the sleeves to put in.  However, I was able to leave them hemmed from the original dress, so I didn't have to put hems on them.  After the shoulder seams were finished, I pinned, eased  and sewed the sleeves into the dress.

Now all I had left was the side seams and the hem.  I did add a small tie to the sides of the dress, because I knew it would be loose through the waist.   After I finished the side seams, I had my daughter try on the dress.  I wanted to make sure that the hem was the right length.  I pinned the hem and started sewing.  As I was finishing up the hem I was trying to figure out what I could do to make the dress a little more fun.  I thought of all of the white 1/4 inch satin ribbon I have and thought that it would do the job.  So I added one row to the sleeves and three rows at the hem.

I think that this dress turned out very nicely and am looking forward to the next one.  Oh, and my daughter really likes it also, always a plus.  ;)


  1. I do this too. Roz

  2. What a great way to re-cycle and save money! Thanks for joining Diann and I at TTF!


  3. Nice idea! I am all about turning something I don't need into something that i can use! I haven't gotten the sewing machine out in some time and I REALLY need to do it. I happen to have a few of these types of projects laying around waiting for inspiration! Definitely following! Thank you for sharing at!

  4. Ah, your daughter looks adorable in her new dress! The dress is really cute. Thanks for sharing with us.


  5. This is a great dress makeover. I actually really like the dickey with the collar. I am visiting you from Sew Chatty. You might like my post on teaching your children to sew:

  6. What a pretty dress Lois! And so nice to make it from your grandmother's dress! What a precious memory!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  7. Popped in from Inspire me Monday! I've always wanted to learn to sew and make my own clothes---but the one time I tried, it was a disaster!

    1. Don't give up. I have been sewing for over half my life. Practice really does make a difference. If you are really worried about ruining good material then see if you can find dollar a yard material or cheap plus size clothes at a thrift store to use for small items to practice on.

  8. That turned out really nice! I love how you were able to take something and repurpose it so nicely. :)

  9. I also make pants/shorts for my boys out of pants that can no longer be repaired.

  10. That turned out great! I have a few shirts that I picked up at a thrift store that I am going to turn into dresses for my 2 year old daughter :)

  11. I love it, it looks so cute and I love the trim too. Great job. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  12. All I can say is: Wow! You're good! :)

    Thanks for linking up at the Shoe!

    1. Thank you, I really appreciate the fact that my mother and grandmother taught me how to sew. It is truly an invaluable skill.

  13. Just a little suggestion for those who are on the learning curve: try out a sample with an old sheet if you don't want to risk using nice fabric.

  14. So cute and what a great way to recycle. Every time your daughter wears it you both will think of your grandmother. What a wonderful way to feel a special connection. The little model is so cute and seems very happy in her new dress. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  15. I love pretty long dresses on girls. Lovely job! Thanks for linking up & sharing @ great to have you!Hope to see you again this week!Theresa

  16. Great job, the results are gorgeous! thanks for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  17. What a lovely dress!! It's been way too long since I've sewed anything. Thanks for sharing with us.

  18. What a pretty dress! I love the addition of the ribbon to the bottom and sleeves - so cute!

    Thanks for linking this post to The Creative HomeAcre Blog Hop! We hope to see you again this Sunday!

  19. You did a great job, it's looks so pretty and your daughter looks lovely in it. I have done some sewing but now much. I'd love to be better at it! Thanks for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday!"

  20. "Use it up! Wear it out! Make it do! Or do without!"

    You did a GREAT job!!!

  21. Thank you evryone for your kind words. I just do my best with what I have.

  22. Hey! I simply noticed another message in another blog that appeared like
    this. How have you learnt all these items? That’s one cool post.

    my weblog having trouble getting pregnant with second baby

    1. I have seen a few blogs along this vein, but I have also been sewing for over 20 years. This doesn't mean everything turns out the way I want it to, but it does mean that I have learned how to adjust things somewhat. With this dress it was fairly simple though because the styles of the dresses were the same basic shapes.

    2. Oh, and you might try mucinex. It is how I got pregnant with my third after my daughter was 4. ;)

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