A Hand-Me-Down Dress With Alterations

This dress was a hand-me-down quite different from anything I had worn previously. This cute, flirty dress had a lot of potential but needed some alterations to fit my body.

First, there was the problem of lining: it had none. Lining isn’t absolutely necessary but this dress was see-through and not in a cute, sexy way. Lacking lining, the dress also didn’t hold its shape very well. Lastly, the dress was a little big around the hips and the whole bust just didn’t sit it the right place.

A cute look in theory but the partial interfacing really wasn't doing the job.

A cute look in theory but the partial interfacing really wasn’t doing the job.

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Didn’t like the look with the interfacing showing through.

With an audio book on hand, I spent a few hours taking the dress apart with a seam ripper. When finished, I snipped about an inch from the top of the shoulders (about half an inch from each piece). I also took about a quarter inch starting at the hips and going all the way to the hem. Those pieces worked as pattern pieces for the lining. Still needing a lesson on lining, I bought a thick, synthetic material. In hindsight, I would look for a different material for lining (probably a silk but that’s only because I don’t know what other options are good).

Then, I decided to do something adventurous and try a built-in bra. Why? Aside from the fact that it would be a fun challenge, I would never have to worry about a mismatching bra peeking through the white fabric. I bought bra cups from the store and hand-sewed them to the lining. I’m sure there is a better way of doing this but it doesn’t show through on the front. I’ve probably told way too many people that the dress has a built-in bra because I was so happy it actually worked.

The stitching on the bra cups is visible inside.

The stitching on the bra cups is visible inside.

The original pictures (of the inside of the dress) were really helpful when it came time to put the dress back together. I used the original lining as pattern pieces for interfacing. Most dresses I’ve sewn have had interfacing so I figured why not? I was glad that I did because the interfacing helped the pieces hold their shape.

I had some trouble getting the front back together. I couldn’t figure out what had to be sewn first to get it to lay properly. The final product wasn’t perfect but worked well enough.

DSCN0505This dress has been a great addition to my wardrobe. If I’m wearing it to work, I throw on an undershirt to take the neckline up. If not, I wear a locket that pairs well with the deep v-neck. It’s ended up being an all weather dress: boots and a sweater make it work for cooler months. And, it’s a natural fit for summer and sandals.

Another picture taken by the lovely and talented Kristin Schultz of www.authenticmomentsphotography.com

Another picture taken by the lovely and talented Kristin Schultz of Authentic Moments Photography

What have been your favorite refashioning projects?

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