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Friday, January 30, 2015

Simple Dress Refashion

 I'm so excited about the blog and the new look. And with the new look Laryssa and I have started up a new project...clothing refashions! It's like sewing your own clothes, but easier because it's already made. All you have to do is alter it the way you want it! I think this idea is awesome because
 1) you can make your clothes the way they fit you best
 2)  make them more modest
 3) you can save a lot of money!
 Do you have any thrift stores around where the clothes are cheap? You can get clothes that may be too big, too old fashioned, or too immodest and refashion them to fit better or give them a totally new look!
 I really wanted to try this, so Laryssa and I decided to take up the hobby together, and for our first refashion we redid this brown dress I found at Goodwill.

 As you can see in the first picture, it's a rather boring, plain old dress with a few problems. For one, the V-neckline was way too low, and also there was a great big slit in the bottom of the dress which was too revealing. But what I did like about it was that it was brown(one of my favorite colors to wear), and that it was a button down(a favorite style of mine). So I bought it and Laryssa and I made plans for the refashion, which only required three simple fixes.

 1) The first thing we did was sew up the giant slit in the bottom(Well actually Laryssa sewed it. I'm terrified of sewing machines and needles so I help with the planning, ironing, etc.).

2)Then the neckline obviously needed to be corrected, and fortunately the dress came with an extra button. Laryssa made a new button hole at the neckline and sewed on the extra brown button.

 Perfect! That took care of the modesty needs, but it still wasn't finished. The dress came with a sash, a simple brown one made of the same material(forgot to put it on for the picture), but it was boring and not very noticeable.

3) So for the finishing touch we made a brand new sash. We found a nice blue material in our stash of yard sale fabrics to add more color, and tied it in a bow for that extra flavor.

 The instructions for making the sash we found at this website: alteredcloth.com. It's an easy guide and tells you how to get the width that you want for your particular sash.

 This dress was so easy to do, since it only needed a few simple changes, and I saved a lot of money. It was a $5 dollar dress, buried in among all the other bland dresses thrown on the rack. And $5 dollars is pretty much all I spent on it, seeing that we already had some scrap material around for the sash, and we had the brown thread and the button that came with it. So if you like to sew your own clothes but it's so hard to do, and fabric is expensive, just go to any thrift store in your area where you know you can get good deals and have fun finding clothes that you can refashion. For inspiration you can look online to get an idea of what kinds of things you can do. And of course, you can always keep coming back here to A Valuable Season, where we plan on posting more of our refashioning projects.


  1. I enjoy new sewing better, but it is cheaper to re-do!

  2. Very cute! Great job on the re-make!

  3. Thank you. :) It is fun to see what you can do with old clothes.

  4. Refashioning clothing is a time-honored, fun thing to do. I wish you girls lots of luck and success and fabulous thrift-store finds. Half the fun is in the hunt, right?

    Now for the pedantic lecture, meant kindly, of course, from someone who has done a bit of sewing in her time. If you like that dress, and that style, I suggest you do some basic research on it. It's called a shirtdress (surely you know this?). It was quite popular in the 40s-50s, and is a classic style that has maintained presence in the fashion world for decades. It's a shirtdress precisely because it's constructed (in idea) like a giant shirt....only tailored into a dress. Meaning that "slit" in the bottom is a natural result of a dress meant to be put on and buttoned down exactly like a shirt. So from a practical standpoint - of a dress that is slipped on around the shoulders and then buttoned closed, your sewing it closed only at the very bottom front is rather silly. I understand why you've made adjustments for modesty, and if that's what you like it's quite proper to do so, but I have to speak up for the dress design, because I (and many others) simply adore shirtdresses for their versatility and practical nature. It is a classic for a reason.

    Make sure when you add buttons up top that there's enough fabric around the neckline/collar so that your alteration doesn't pull the dress/shirt out of shape - you'll know if you make wrinkles and/or tightness where there was none before, and it'll hang on you differently.

    And that belt it came with is commonly referred to as a "self-belt" - meaning a belt in the same fabric and color, meant to match and blend in, to pull the dress into shape around the waist without calling attention to itself. This visual trick allows the dress to take its shape without being "cut in half" by a different colored belt. It's simply a design thing. Bright belts tend to split the body into two visual halves, and on some figures, this isn't really a great thing to highlight. You're young and slender, so it works. After a few more decades (or a few children) you very well might need a corset to pull off the same shape in clothing. And that's ok too.

    And for what it's worth, don't overlook wrap skirts. One seam up the side and a length of elastic run through the top, and you've got a quite-modest a-line skirt with very little effort. You can hand-sew the entire thing in an hour, easy, even as a beginner. Have fun and remember women sewed for thousands of years without sewing machines, so there's no reason you can't just pick up a needle and see what happens. Thrift store clothes are so great for practicing on, even if you just buy them for the fabric and chop it up into something else entirely!

  5. We are not very experienced in this area, and have just started dabbling in it, so I know and understand that our experiments are going to be full of trial and error. I was aware of a few of it's faults, but I didn't know about some of the facts of it's old style. So thank you for your insight.