Hi all! I have really got the "making things" bug right now, so I have another refashion to post!
I found this hideous 90s-style dress. I loved the pattern and the colors, but the fit was horrific and the length was really unflattering:
So I fixed it! Here's a link to the full tutorial on my blog, but below is a more streamlined version of it if you don't want to click.http://myhandmadehell.blogspot.com/2014/10/90s-dress-refashion.html
First, put your shapeless 90s dress on inside-out and figure out where you want your waist to be. Mark it with tailor's chalk or pins, then take it off and cut straight across:
Then cut 9 or so inches from the top of the skirt portion (or however much you need to cut so that the bottom hemmed part of the dress is the length you want for your skirt):
Then try on the top part and pin it so it fits more snugly. Make sure you can still put it on over your head, unless you want to screw with a zipper (which I did not). Sew up your new side seams and try it on AGAIN to make ABSOLUTELY SURE (I had to do it over a couple of times to get the fit just right).
Now you should have a nice wide skirt portion and a nice narrow bodice portion. It's time to gather the skirt up a little so it fits the circumference of the waist. I found that the easiest way to do this was to pin the sides together so the seams match up, then make little pleats in the skirt on the front and back before sewing.
If your skirt is way huger around than the waistline, you might find it easier to just straight-up gather the skirt by running a long baste around the top of the skirt, then gently ruffling the waistline along the thread until you have the right measurement.
Then sew the skirt onto the top!
You should now have a dress with a somewhat gathered waistline and a little more shape:
You can stop here if you want, but I don't ever stop. I wanted sleeves.
Take the piece you cut from the middle and re-fold it so that there is a non-seamed fold at the top and bottom (basically repositioning the seams so they line up in the middle of the "tube").
I took pictures of this part but they were hard to see because of the pattern of the fabric, so I drew out what I did and that's the pic I'm including below.
Lay the excess piece behind your armhole at an angle that mimics the angle of a set-in sleeve. Pin in place. Then trace around the armhole onto the excess piece to get the curvature right. When you reach the bottom of the armhole, draw a line straight out to the end of the fabric starting at a point about 1/2" from the bottom of the armhole. Here it is drawn so you can see what I mean:
Note that the fold of the excess fabric is on top so you don't have a seam coming down the top of your arm.
Cut the part you traced, giving a little for seam allowance. Repeat with the other folded edge of the excess fabric. You should end up with two pieces that look like this:
I'd recommend finishing the sleeves in the following order:
1. Hem the edge of the sleeves.
2. Sew up the long tab along the bottom of the sleeve (right sides together).
3. Then set the sleeve into the armhole, pinning and sewing from the armpit seam so you can tuck or pleat in any excess you end up with.
Here's a pic of the sleeve pulled out from the armhole after pinning:
Once the sleeves are sewn in, turn the dress rightside-out again and try it on.
Here was my finished product:
I AM THE HAPPIEST!!!
It's so much more fashionably relevant now, and it gets along beautifully with my wardrobe. The best part is, it went from a piece I would never wear outside the house to something I would wear on a date or to work or to a wedding!
Hope you enjoy it too!!