refashioning a vintage dress

6 Dec

this isn’t really much a sewing-related update… i mean, there was sewing involved, but i did not get any pictures of the innards, or a before shot for that matter.


anyway, i got this great 40s navy wool(blend?) dress from my friend carmen of closet case vintage (and, uhm, if you are in the market for vintage goodies, def check her store out bc this girl has got some seriously good taste). the dress is lovely on it’s own, but it needed a little bit of work before i was ready to re-debut it.

i did have to do a little standard repair work – replacing hooks & eyes (gawd, i hate sewing hooks & eyes), tightening up a couple overstretched buttonholes, mending a few popped seams… the dress is in great condition for it’s age, but still needed a tiny bit of help. i also hemmed it because – sorry carmen! – tea length does not work on my 5’2″ frame. funnily enough, when i picked out the hem, i noticed that it was also re-hemmed by whoever owned it before me :B maybe it was floor-length @ birth? who knows.

anyway, whoever re-hemmed it did an absolute shit job and it was wonky as hell (some parts of the hem were as much as 3″ different!) SO YOU’RE WELCOME, VINTAGE GODS.

i got it nice and straight, eased that sucker in, and sewed it down with hem tape and a blind (hand)stitch. it is not as flat as i’d like it to be, due to the hem tape being polyester(ew), but ehh you can’t see it bc it’s on the inside so i deal.

i thought the dress was a little plain on it’s own, mostly to the dark color, so i made a little faux fur collar to wear over the existing collar 🙂 i took bits and pieces from casey’s tutorial and from colette patterns and drafted a basic collar to fit the one that is already there. i love the directions casey gives, simply because they are so wonderful and in-depth and have great little details (even though all the details are hidden by the lining, i know they are there!). also, there’s the #1 reason why i didn’t take in-progress pictures – hers look way better than mine ever would.

so. here you go:

yay fur!


rather than sew snaps or hooks to the collar (i didn’t want to sew them on the dress, mainly due to the lazy factor), i hand basted it directly to the collar. i can just rip it out when i need to clean the dress.

i also made a little bow headband, also using another casey tutorial (god i sound obsessive right now). mine is a little smaller – about half the size of the pattern she provided – just bc i wanted to wear it to work without looking too costume-y.


here are some pictures of the entire dress:

i had to really up the contrast on this picture so you could see the details, sorry.

– my pictures look horrible because the flash on my camera like… exploded. half of these were taken with my webcam, aka not the best quality.
– if you are wondering why i have a large fan in my room when the weather is unseasonably 20* outside, it is because they are building an extremely ugly house next door and the workers start at 7am and it makes me want to die. fortunately, they got the walls up (and painted it this god-awful shade of blue, oh god it is so ugly) so the fan drowns out what little stragglers of noise escape and come in through my window.
– i need to redye my hair.

One Response to “refashioning a vintage dress”

  1. Kat December 6, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    that dress is great! I have been looking to add some nice vintage dresses to my wardrobe. I will defintately have to check out your friends shop.

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