Monday, May 21, 2012

Modest makeover: 50¢ shirred maxi dress!

I seldom get up early enough to go yard saling, but a few weeks ago, our church and our school were holding yard sales just a couple blocks apart, so our family made an effort to hit them both. One of the things we picked up was a cute shirred-top dress. The back tag was ripped out, but I suspect it's not really supposed to be a little girl's maxi dress (probably a medium girl's knee-length dress?).

It was a little big for my daughter (and I wouldn't let her wear a strapless dress to church)(especially not one that would fall down!), so I wanted to add sleeves to help it fit her better.

Matching the fabric wasn't an issue: the tiered skirt also had another layer of the same fabric underneath.

I had my daughter try on the dress, and I measured from the side seam to what seemed like a good point in the front to get the width, about 4 inches. I made sure that width would cover her shoulders, too. Using a rotary cutter, I cut 4 inches off the bottom part of the underlayer of the skirt. The fabric is a gauzy-type cotton weave, so I did a fake overlock stitch (a zigzag stitch along the edge) to minimize fraying.

I took my extra fabric and cut it in four pieces. Then I failed to pin right sides together and totally messed up sewing those pieces together. (Hooray! Wayward! As if breaking yet another needle wasn't wayward enough!) I wanted to make a double-wide fabric so I could gather it to help match the dress, and I would use the presewn rolled hems instead of having to sew my own. But I wasn't careful about which way the hems were facing, and three of them ended up facing out. (Seriously?!)

I gathered the ends of the sleeves and sewed them along the top edge of the front, then had another fitting with my daughter to get them the right length before sewing them in the back. (I mean, I wish I'd done it that way. I really kept it all pinned during the fitting and it was a big hassle.)

My daughter is happy with the result (but she wasn't happy I interrupted her during her favorite show to take pictures!). When I wash it, the gathers will take on the same wrinkly appearance as the rest of the dress. I love that they totally look like they belong, and it was WAY easier than cutting out a real sleeve pattern and all that entails.

Best of all, total bill for the project: $0.50!

What are your weekend thrifting finds?


Unknown said...

So cute! I love how you put sleeves on it! Great job!

Just Jaime said...

Haha love the last picture. Great job and for so cheap!

Brave Brooke said...

These are great! She looks so grown up!

Heather Landry said...

Oh this dress looks amazing and you definitely CAN NOT beat the price tag!

Susan Woods said...

That's pretty fabulous!

Tracy said...

Wow, you did an excellent job on this. I would never had guessed that you added those sleeves.

Winnie said...

You turned it into a beautiful dress
Beautiful job!

Kim said...

Brilliant! I am the same way about dressing my girls modestly. Greeat idea that I will be so copying!

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