• Vintage Polka Dot Dress, Refashioned

    There were a few things I didn’t like about it. Three things, specifically that I didn’t like: the length, no sleeves, the huge plunging back (which I don’t have a picture of before). So, I made some alterations:

    1. I hemmed it up so it hit right below my knees
     2. Made sleeves from the ruffle at the bottom of the dress
    3. And made a panel for that too-low (but really pretty) back

     And now I’m kind of obsessed with it.

    My friend Tracy who is an amazing seamstress and has a really good eye for this kind of thing graciously stopped over and gave me a few tips before getting starting. Although I think if she would have seen me actually making the alterations she would have been wincing in pain. I messed up on quite a few things but in the end it was a great learning experience and I love the result.
    Here are a few more pictures of the process:

     This is the bottom piece that I cut off and used for the sleeves and back panel. I added hem lace to the inside of the hem before doing the blind hem by hand.

     This is the ruffle piece from the bottom that I used to make the sleeves. I undid most of the gather except for the top part on the shoulder. The hand stitching to attach it was painful but other than that, it wasn’t too tricky. At one point I thought I was losing my sight, but as it turned out, I just needed a bowl of ice cream and tv break. Seems to cure most sewing-related ailments.


     
    I had to fudge the back panel a bit (well, actually a lot) because I didn’t have quite the amount of fabric I needed for the length. I had to attach two pieces together to get the right length, but in the end that seam was hidden by voluminous ruffles anyway.

     I stitched the back panel on the right side and added snaps inside the ruffle on the left so I could get in the dress. What’s the point of a pretty dress you can’t get in?

    Henry wanted to show off his outfit too :)

      
  • 102 comments

    1. the gracious gaze said… January 16, 2012 3:22 pm

      That is amazing!! I love it.

      Xo,
      Kim

    2. Tessa Brooke said… July 15, 2011 12:22 pm

      wow! Love it! I refashioned a polka-dot vintage outfit for the Fourth of July a couple weeks ago! hahaTessa Brooke

    3. Lyndsay said… June 26, 2011 7:19 pm

      Very inspired by this!http://craftanista.blogspot.com/

    4. Lyndsay! said… June 26, 2011 7:18 pm

      Very inspired by this!http://craftanista.blogspot.com/

    5. Jen said… April 5, 2011 2:30 pm

      Wow, that is such a great refashion. Love the new back!

    6. boulangerietoujoursdimanche.com said… February 28, 2011 4:19 pm

      this is so pretty! you are so pretty!knowing houw to sew is one of my dream.

    7. Melissa said… February 28, 2011 12:06 pm

      Great job Liz. So cute–especially on you.

    8. mardi said… February 28, 2011 11:54 am

      did you pierce your ears?? this is gorgeous, by the way.

    9. spoonful said… February 28, 2011 7:38 am

      LOVELY!!

    10. Jessica (from Petite Lemon) said… February 28, 2011 7:28 am

      OH!!!! DIVINE!! I am in love with it too!! I wish I was better at sewing … or at least having an eye for finding such fab fabric and making it into something oh so fabulous!

    11. Savvy in San Francisco said… February 27, 2011 10:45 pm

      This dress is adorable! I love what you did with it. It would be obsessed with it too!

    12. dana said… February 27, 2011 5:44 am

      Oh Liz, it's absolutely fun, playful, and gorgeous. And I'm totally with you. Love the gorgeous plunging back. Some days I wish it was more appropriate for us to wear it :) But love how you fixed it too.

    13. Katie Richardson said… February 26, 2011 4:40 pm

      This is too adorable Liz. You have a good eye. Nice work on the alterations.

    14. Katie said… February 26, 2011 7:04 am

      Oh my gosh – this turned out AMAZING! You did a wonderful job! It looks like the dress walked right out of Kate Spade's home! :)

    15. pilgrim said… February 25, 2011 9:52 pm

      oh HURRAY!!! it turned out so good – and i can't believe i knew that dress before it was famous ;) great job liz

    16. Becca said… February 25, 2011 1:31 pm

      So cute! I think the addition of the sleeves makes that cute ruffled neckline seem even more dramatic. Great job!

    17. Lisa Ann said… February 25, 2011 11:34 am

      The remake is so much better than the original. Good job!

    18. Anonymous said… February 25, 2011 9:12 am

      It's adorable. I couldn't pull off a dress like that, but maybe my 7 year old could.

    19. rebecca said… February 25, 2011 7:39 am

      this dress has jcrew written all over it.

    20. o charm said… February 25, 2011 1:59 am

      very, very nice.i did the same thing with a dress last year– desperately searching for something cute with sleeves for a wedding, and ended up having to pull the same stunt! i bought a sleeveless dress 10 sizes too big, and used the extra fabric to put in some sleeves.i wanted to kill myself through the entire process.but the end result was worth it!

    21. tiff said… February 24, 2011 10:48 pm

      You are officially my sewing hero. You're the only person who doesn't make me want to gouge my eyes with straight pins when you talk about sewing.And the bit about losing your sight? You had me laughing out loud.

    22. la petite coquine said… February 24, 2011 3:51 pm

      How perfect! I'd never take that sucker off!

    23. Lisa Ensor said… February 24, 2011 2:04 pm

      LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! Great job- I'm totally inspired :)

    24. beth said… February 24, 2011 8:49 am

      this is incredible!!

    25. DeeAnna said… February 24, 2011 7:55 am

      You are a thrifting genius! I was on the thrift tour when you picked it up! Wow! What an amazing transformation!!

    26. youwannawhat said… February 24, 2011 5:49 am

      really really pretty!

    27. Julie Bourdais said… February 24, 2011 5:15 am

      your blog is beautiful… I have so enjoyed to travel it…

    28. Kristina said… February 24, 2011 4:12 am

      Love what you did, it looks amazing. I wish I would know how to do stuff like that, super cool!Viele Gruesse, Kristina

    29. michelle said… February 24, 2011 12:19 am

      not that I'm at all underestimating your skills, but damn girl. Amazing!

    30. Barbie said… February 23, 2011 5:47 pm

      Cute polka dots! Great job, Liz! You just inspired me to get through the bag of clothes in my closet!

    31. Jaquilyn said… February 23, 2011 5:27 pm

      Please let me buy this! please?

    32. kasey @ girl in the gray house said… February 23, 2011 5:12 pm

      this is the BEST dress i've seen in a long time. i love it!

    33. Amanda @ Ruffled said… February 23, 2011 5:02 pm

      Aw the dainty sleeves!

    34. Lauren said… February 23, 2011 4:59 pm

      Liz that is really a pretty dress, it's very kate spade!!

    35. caroline duke said… February 23, 2011 4:22 pm

      who are you!? this is amazing. you have an amazing eye for potential!

    36. Diana Hulme said… February 23, 2011 4:19 pm

      Ok, Liz – you are totally on a roll! I keep starring your posts in reader. I love the dress…turned out so cute. :)

    37. Camellia said… February 23, 2011 4:00 pm

      Great job; super cute!

    38. the southern hostess said… February 23, 2011 3:23 pm

      It's adorable! Now I want one.

    39. Susan said… February 23, 2011 2:04 pm

      dayuuum

    40. Jacinta @ modelmumma said… February 23, 2011 2:00 pm

      Looks lovely! Well deserving of another bowl of ice cream!

    41. Erica said… February 23, 2011 1:19 pm

      Wow, you are talented! That dress is adorable!

    42. Liz Stanley said… February 23, 2011 1:16 pm

      oh my goodness, you guys are making my day. thanks for all your lovely comments :)

    43. Ariel said… February 23, 2011 1:14 pm

      Oh wow! That is so cute! I am super impressed with your skills.

    44. mamamchale said… February 23, 2011 1:10 pm

      so lovely! perfect date dress right? i love the buttons and ruffle in the back. and the red belt addition is super cute. i am inspired. the ice cream break sounds familiar. i have been known to yell a few profanities to my sewing machine late at night.

    45. mskaz said… February 23, 2011 12:52 pm

      You totally lizzed it!

    46. Amanda said… February 23, 2011 12:39 pm

      GORGEOUS!

    47. Lisette said… February 23, 2011 12:27 pm

      Impressive! You are super talented and clever.

    48. robin k said… February 23, 2011 11:55 am

      You look darling in it, Liz.

    49. dawn said… February 23, 2011 11:13 am

      bravo! the dress is stunning :)

    50. sarah jane said… February 23, 2011 11:05 am

      It is amazing! I love it.

    51. Kayla said… February 23, 2011 10:53 am

      Wow, that turned out AWESOME. I just picked up a dress at Goodwill two days ago that I want to make a few adjustments to…thanks for the inspiration!KaylaFreckles in April | a modest clothing blog

    52. Melissa said… February 23, 2011 10:52 am

      Wow that is amazing! Love the new version of the dress. You are so crafty and clever.

    53. kalanicut said… February 23, 2011 10:40 am

      Liz, it's fantastic. Not only does it look good but I have to applaud your patience.That had to have been the hardest part to master as you painstakingly took it apart and remade it. Well done!

    54. Little Lj said… February 23, 2011 10:37 am

      Wowee I miss my sewing machine!! So very clever – well done!

    55. Kayla Poole said… February 23, 2011 10:34 am

      Aaaaand this makes me wish I could sew. (I can't, not even a hem). Stunning!

    56. ali said… February 23, 2011 10:21 am

      Liz! I'm so proud of you. It's darling, and I think I paid way too much for a similar J. Crew design. I'd rather have yours.

    57. bex said… February 23, 2011 9:56 am

      It worked! Fist pump.

    58. Elaine said… February 23, 2011 9:54 am

      ABsolutely gorgeous!!!!!!www.clothedmuch.com

    59. Grace said… February 23, 2011 9:50 am

      wow – amazing work! i love it.xx graceps – just added you to my blog roll :)

    60. Kathleen Frances said… February 23, 2011 9:44 am

      That is just TOO STINKIN CUTE! I'd swoon if I found a dress like that in my thrift store. Those ruffles are just not typical for second hand stuff. What you did with it is just poifect! Muah.PS. The lighting in your home is gorgeous.

    61. Becca said… February 23, 2011 9:41 am

      you are a genius this dress is AMAZINGGG

    62. Emily said… February 23, 2011 9:35 am

      I love this dress! It looks fantastic! I would totally wear it oh every day. :) You've inspired me to try to add sleeves. . . . Thanks!

    63. Katie said… February 23, 2011 9:34 am

      this looks awesome! I thought it was pretty great before, but the after version is even better. I have a few 'maxi' dresses, and you've inspired me to cut into them!

    64. Sahar said… February 23, 2011 9:20 am

      this is so so cute!

    65. Taylor {Sew Much Love} said… February 23, 2011 8:50 am

      I really love this dress! So cute!

    66. Morgan said… February 23, 2011 8:48 am

      Totally loving every thing about this dress, too cute.

    67. Life is fun Here said… February 23, 2011 8:43 am

      Wow!!! The dress is amazing! I love the cut and style.~Ilsa

    68. janel said… February 23, 2011 8:40 am

      I love this dress! It's prefect! You did a good job, you make me want to start sewing… janel

    69. The BabbyMama said… February 23, 2011 8:39 am

      LOVE IT! And I think all my projects would make a seamstress wince since I tend to be all about winging it. Not the best way to sew, but it works for me. I don't know if I would attempt anything as ambitious as this, but you're giving me inspiration!

    70. Julianne said… February 23, 2011 8:27 am

      So dang cute!

    71. Bryan and Sarah said… February 23, 2011 8:22 am

      Wow! Great work!

    72. bebybo said… February 23, 2011 8:09 am

      lovely, lovely dress!!!

    73. Job and Rachael said… February 23, 2011 8:04 am

      Oh my goodness this is an amazing transformation! You have such a good eye to see the awesome potential in that dress! It turned out adorable :)

    74. SandraW said… February 23, 2011 8:04 am

      You did a great job! I love the ruffle details of the dress, and the polka dots!

    75. RachelDenbow said… February 23, 2011 7:52 am

      It's beautiful! Great restyle!!

    76. Sharon said… February 23, 2011 7:51 am

      Love it Liz. So amazing!

    77. UnaBb said… February 23, 2011 7:50 am

      amazing!great job!

    78. Rachel said… February 23, 2011 7:49 am

      That is genius!!! It looks so anthropologie-esque. I LOVE IT!!

    79. Chris and Tani Bree said… February 23, 2011 7:48 am

      Great job! It looks so much better. You have some serious vision!

    80. Lauren said… February 23, 2011 7:48 am

      this is AMAZING. great great great job :) I want one…

    81. {natalie} said… February 23, 2011 7:46 am

      wow, it turned out so cool. i love the neckline and the length. it looks great with the belt. def a dress to smile about.

    82. amanda jane said… February 23, 2011 7:42 am

      you are so talented…this looks amazing.

    83. ashley maureen said… February 23, 2011 7:40 am

      obsessed. kate spade should take her inspiration from you!!

    84. Kristin said… February 23, 2011 7:38 am

      The dress turned out amazing!

    85. Leslie said… February 23, 2011 7:37 am

      SO CUTE!!! You did an awesome job. I love sewing by hand rather than a machine on clothes. :)

    86. vintagescapes said… February 23, 2011 7:36 am

      Great job! Really cute dress and it looks great on you! Makes me want to learn to sew…

    87. Azúcar said… February 23, 2011 7:35 am

      You were right–it's adorable! Well done.And, uhm, when did Henry turn into a giant?

    88. Maia McDonald said… February 23, 2011 7:34 am

      Wow! so adorable, makes me take a 2nd look at some of my old items.

    89. alix said… February 23, 2011 7:31 am

      I was dying for this dress when we saw it in the shop and was so eager to see what you did with it. LADY! I'm so impressed! You added SLEEVES????? You are officially a bad ass. It looks really adorable on you—sassy but chic! Well done!! The colors are so good on this and suit you to a teeee!

    90. Amusing Pursuits said… February 23, 2011 7:30 am

      You did an amazing job breathing new life into this dress! It's a total transformation, and in its new short sassy state is very ala Kate Spade. I bet it twirls like a dream. Cheers.

    91. Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said… February 23, 2011 7:29 am

      Just lovely! You have a great eye for clothes. Ever thought about pouring more into that? You could sell for sure. Really, it's just lovely!

    92. megan said… February 23, 2011 7:28 am

      you completely impress me! this is SO cute!

    93. Meg said… February 23, 2011 7:27 am

      Wow, this is amazing! So pretty!

    94. soveryvicki said… February 23, 2011 7:02 am

      You totally look like a Mad Men gal in that dress! Great alterations!

    95. Full House said… February 23, 2011 6:59 am

      Liz I'd be obsessed too. It looks so much better. Time to get a sewing machine around these parts I'd say.

    96. 17 Perth said… February 23, 2011 6:53 am

      Oh wow! You did a great job! It looks amazing and it is such a cute, great, "go to" dress.

    97. Lillian (Unstitched.) said… February 23, 2011 6:51 am

      It looks SO fantastic! That's the thing with vintage that makes me swoon – there's so much you could do to refashion it and update it to make your own :) You look seriously so cute! ADORE.

    98. Martha said… February 23, 2011 6:48 am

      amazing!

    99. Molly W. said… February 23, 2011 6:45 am

      OMG! I think this might be your best transformation yet!

    100. jomama said… February 23, 2011 6:43 am

      that just might be the cutest dress ever! and now i'm trying not to be jealous because it's one of a kind.

    101. Tara said… February 23, 2011 6:37 am

      It looks amazing! And I agree with you… ice cream cures all sewing ailments.

    102. Lindsay Straw-Galloway said… February 23, 2011 6:33 am

      so darling!!! I would wear that in a heartbeat! it

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