Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cheap & Chic - Tutorial #4 - Sound of Music

When I first moved to Georgia, my sister, Rachael, was deployed. I moved into an extra bedroom in her three bedroom house in Evans. The room was furnished and there were little treasures throughout the room she left for me to find. This dress was amongst those things. She left a sticky note on it telling me she bought it so I could cut it up and use the fabric for purses. She'd bought it at a local Goodwill. It sat in my closet for months until I was bored one day, tried it on, and realized how amazing it could be with a little work!

Here is the dress:

Just past the knees. High neckline.

Beautiful v-neck in the back. 

Awesome puffy sleeves. But very dated.

Beautiful bodice and waistline. And it had pockets!
(these pictures were taken in April.. I can't believe how much my hair has grown!)

I just love this pattern! It's a navy blue heavy cotton with irregular shaped dots all over it. The pleated waist detail make the entire dress! I also love the V in the back. The sleeves have to go and the neckline is very constricting. Also it's too long. This dress only requires a few simple alterations to transform it into a wearable summer dress.

First, I cut about 9" off the entire skirt. I did this first so I could use the spare fabric in the next step.

I removed the interfacing on the front of the neckline only. Set this aside.

Using tailor's chalk I drew the new neckline. You can double check by trying the dress on. Cut along line. Using this piece you cut off and the interfacing you removed, cut a new front interfacing that is about 2 1/2" wide from the scrap fabric from the skirt. This may be tricky for beginning sewers. Pay close attention to how the dress was initially constructed and sew this into the dress. Top stitch the neckline.

Remove the sleeves. I used scrap bias tape, sewing it along the edge of the sleeves and then top stitched it (not pictured, sorry). But this is quite simple.

Last step, hem the bottom of the dress. I did a 1/2" rolled hem. I really need to get a 1/4" rolled hem foot for my machine. Any hem will do as long as it is less than a 1/2" or the fabric will pucker.

The end result:

A stylish, updated version.

Kept the same neckline in the back.

Scoop neck is much more flattering than the one before.

In 100 degree weather, the dark fabric was a little hot but perfect for summer! I adore this new dress. And it only took a little over an hour. A similar project may be a little longer for beginners.

This dress is for sale in my shop!

Related Articles


  1. This recon is way too cute! You did an awesome job! Now will you take the rest of the fabric and make a purse or wallet?

  2. Thanks Alethia! I'll probably make a pleated purse with a metal frame to match the waist of the dress. There's a ton of extra fabric, maybe even a hair accessory and a few pouches.

  3. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! its awesome!!! i would love for you to be my sewing mentor!!! you have a real talent!!!