Added Apr 13, 2011
This humble 80s number started out life as a rather bland and unassuming office dress (last photo). The medium blue rayon print is what caught my eye in the racks (and the price tag too), and it had a darling matching belt as well. My original intent was to remove the sleeves and shorten the hem, making a cute (if somewhat conservative) summer day dress. However, once I got the dress home and was looking at it in bright sunlight, I noticed several stains on the center front of the bodice. After a few attempts at removing the stubborn stains (which were faint, but there), it was apparent that either this dress would have to be salvaged for another project (skirt, maybe?) or I’d have to come up with a creative solution to work around the small sliver of stained fabric on the front.
Unsure of what exactly to do (at the time my thinking only went so far as ruffles, but didn’t feel right for this dress), I was flipping through a book from the 80s on Princess Diana’s style. There I spotted a dress with a very similar shoulder line and material, sporting a lowered neckline inset. Well, in reality it was a dress and jacket, but in my prior-to-sleep state late at night it looked like a one-piece dress. (Note to self: read the descriptions!) A solution had been found: simply remove the bodice and skirt, slice open the front to remove the offending stained portion (and use the front edges to create a facing) and add a new inset piece fashioned from one of the sleeves. Yes, it was a bit of work, but I got it largely done within a few hours on Saturday, and a new (and far more flattering) neckline was in the equation as well.
The first time I wore this, I was tickled that not one but multiple people stopped me to comment on the dress. Not nessecarily because it was something I refashioned, but because it was a humble $1 thrift find originally! I always love dresses with lowly origins that end up being showstoppers, don’t you?
I did a little tutorial on how I made a pattern to face the armholes and attached those, which you can see here
Be sure to drop by my blog for more about this project!
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