Sunday, March 20, 2016

From 1970's cocktail party to 2010's winery wedding

**Update - scroll to the bottom for a picture of the dress in action!**
I've had this dress tucked away in the sewing room for about two years now. I picked it up at a secondhand clothing shop for somewhere between $2 and $5, having fallen in love with the fabric pattern. I've debated what to do with it, never quite sure if I really wanted to alter it, or leave it in its '70s glory.
love, love, love this pattern
It feels kind of like a long nightgown
The dress fit surprisingly well, and if I had regular need for a maxi-dress fit for a retro cocktail party, I would have left the dress as is. But I'm trying to get better about my hoarding of clothing that isn't ready-to-wear, and with a wedding coming up at the beginning of April, I decided it was time to get creative. I even tried try to style this with a belt, but I still didn't love how I looked, even with the belt.
A belt makes it a little better, but still not digging it.
The maxi look just isn't for me.
The wedding is out in CA, at a winery, and the weather is forecasted to be in the 70s and 80s. Much warmer than the end-of-winter cool weather we're still immersed in. I have a few warm-weather appropriate dresses that I've worn to weddings over the past few summers, but they've been Vermont/New England weddings, and maybe a little more casual than a California winery wedding. Given my current budgeting, a new dress doesn't make sense. At least a newly purchased dress. . . A newly fashioned dress on the other hand? Sounds like a great Sunday crafternoon activity!

So I perused a few patterns I have on hand to get some ideas, but already knew I wanted to go shorter, focusing on the great pattern at the bottom, and to restyle the top for a more flattering cut. I chopped the dress in half, just below the zipper and above the pattern, and briefly considered saving the top half to wear as a tank and venturing down the strapless-dress route.
Maybe you want to be a tank top?
Strapless dress? Maybe for the beach, not a winery
Instead I spent a crazy amount of time adjusting the bodice. The arm holes were perfect, so I left them alone. I created a v-neck in front, widening the neck opening, and a scoop in the back; lining the entirety of the new neckline with scraps.
Off with the old lining
On with the new lining
I gave it a waistline, adding a few tucks in the front and back to bring the skirt and bodice to the same size, and managed to eliminate the zipper, creating a slip-on dress.
A few tucks here and there.
The scoop back, sans zipper
A few hours later and, viola, a whole new dress! Much more my style. Gwen even said "It look looks like you bought it!" (Thanks, sis!)
Ahhh. . . this is better!
Here's to a new spring dress on the first day of spring!
CA winery wedding in April!


  1. This is stunning ... you did an excellent job. What about a white belt? My eyes go to the brown immediately and I wonder if white would blend in... but maybe eyes would go there first.

    1. Oh, a white belt! I hadn't thought of that - just threw on the one I have on hand. I'll have to try to scare one up and see how it looks. Thanks for the idea!