Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Extreme Makeover, Dress Edition

This $4 dress became a $5 dress and gained a "million bucks" in the process.

This is how I took apart a dress, and put it back together, only better...

Ok, by now you are probably getting the idea of just how much I love a bargain and how often that can be found at a thrift store. 

I found this dress at the thrift and I liked it.  It fits all of my new criteria for clothes. 
(As if I weren't picky enough, I had to go and have a baby and get even pickier!) 
The things I look for in clothes now are:
#1: Have to be able to nurse in it
#2: Has to be comfortable & have toddlerabilty
#3: If at all possible, it should be able to "grow" and "shrink" because we do want to have more kids, and I am getting so tired of shifting my clothes in and out of rubbermaid bins every few months.
#4: Somehow, I'd still like to pull off some cuteness in the mix of all those expectations.

This dress can be nursed in because it's stretchy enough to pull down in the neckline.  It's comfy.  (I love dresses in the summer --- so easy & breezy.)  And it's gathered in the front, so in theory it should fit throughout an entire pregnancy.  (I say in theory, because my body has been known to surprise me.)  And I thought it was pretty cute.  

 But once I got home and tried it on, it kept making me feel like Topanga ( from "Boy Meets World") and that's just too much for me because this kid in my 5th grade class started calling me Topanga --- because we had the same hair --- and it stuck all the way to 8th grade because she totally copied me and changed her hair when I did in 7th grade.
Anyway, I think this dress was made recently, but it felt dated to me.  I wanted to feel stylish when I wore it and I knew I would need to change something about it to achieve that. 

I gave it a ton of thought and then decided I would add a belt.  So I stopped in a fabric store and found black knit fabric on clearance for $0.98 a yard!
Grabbed a yard, cause it was a dollar.

Initially I was not going to have the belt wrap around, but just add a belted-look with a strip of fabric sewed into the waist, but as the project evolved I got inspired. 

First I took my favorite sewing tool, the seam ripper, and carefully took the top of the dress apart from the bottom.

Then I cut out a band to go between them
 (it's too wide, just cause I was crazy over-cautious, no real need for that)

I sewed that to the bottom part

 To keep the looseness and the gather in the front, I used clear elastic, 
which was what the manufacturer had originally used.  

Then I attached the top back on, 
leaving an opening on the side seams to sew in the wrapping part of the belt.  

Then I cut two very long pieces of fabric --- I wanted to be able to tie the belt different ways, 
so I needed length.

Then used my serger to sew the edges together to make a tube, 
and then I turned them right-side-out to finish the sash.  

 Then I sewed the sashes into the opening on the sides to attach them.

 And here's what I got. 
 The belt gets wrapped around two or three times so you can tie it on the side, the middle, or back.  And you can adjust the amount of your waist it covers for different looks and purposes.  

 Here I'm showing you how it should work for pregnancy. 
(Admittedly, this is just a sweater shoved in my belly, and I know from experience pregnancy changes pretty much every part of your body, not just the belly.  But I think this dress has enough stretch and roominess to account for that.)

And here I'm showing you that I think it does a pretty decent job of flattering a recovering postpartum figure as well.
If you wrap the belt so that it comes further down, it does a nice job of kinda distracting the eye from the "leftovers" --- which we all know makes a lady feel better.  I'm telling you, the world needs post-maternity clothes just as much as maternity clothes! 

So there you have it, my dress that cost me $5 and should last me for years!


  1. Good job friend! Super cute! Man I really need to get some patience and learn to sew one of these days...the possibilities are endless!

  2. wow nice pregnant bump you look very hot and sexy in that dress emmm


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