In case you haven’t noticed, florals are EVERYWHERE right now. Obviously, I am thrilled since this means I don’t have to update my wardrobe! I think it’s a combination of my interior design background, my love for vintage, and my obsession with Elaine from Seinfeld, but I LOVE floral. Chairs, pants, cakes . . . I’ll take it! I even scored miles of custom floral drapes from an estate sale once and considered making a dress out of them. But of course, I hung them proudly instead.
I’ve talked before about my bad habit of thrifting clothes that are “almost” perfect— an extra button here, an altered hemline there. . . I have this problem where I only see the potential of something and not what it is. So I kind of have this little stock pile of clothes that need random “mending” to be wearable. Enter the above dress: a vintage piece, irresistible due to it’s flower print + great collar. The only problem was it’s length. . . so for just a few bucks, I decided to take it home anyway. Then I promptly forgot about it. . . Until I came across the Tea and Scones Dress from ModCloth. I love the overall look, but I am not a fan of elastic waistbands. I’m also on a self-induced shopping restriction, so I knew I would have to do a little upcycling to get what I wanted. I pulled the dress out of hiding and couldn’t be happier with the results!It’s not pink— but it’s darn cute! The main elements are all there: floral, lace collar, sleeves, and buttons up the front. I just made a few alterations to get there. I started by removing the shoulder pads. Most are only attached with just a few stitches, so they are a breeze to get rid of.
After I removed the shoulder pads, I tried the dress on to mark where I needed to cut. I know maxi dresses/skirts are “in” right now, but I am too short to pull them off. Plus, I feel unsafe biking in long things, so I felt no remorse snipping away.
I didn’t worry about cutting it perfectly straight, but I did make sure to leave a good amount for a hem and any mistakes/mind changes about length I had.
After I shortened the dress, I folded over a new hem and ironed it where I wanted. This is the part that makes hemming a dress WAY easier than you ever expected. Seriously: just iron, pin, and try on until it is the right length.
You can practice on the extra piece of fabric you just cut off if you feel really nervous about trying to hem something by hand. As long as you don’t make your stitches too close together then you will be just fine. This is what mine looked like before I realized my stitches were too close together (also, I used a contrasting color on purpose, yours will be more subtle if you use thread that matches):
So I stared spacing them out more, and it looked something like the picture below. You can see where the stitch length changes because I was too lazy to go back:
This is the first time I ever hemmed anything by hand, and I am really happy with how it turned out! After you’ve tried it once, you’ll never be able to resist those outdated dresses at the thrift store! So many great patterns and collars just waiting to be turned into something modern again!
dress, broach, belt: thrifted / shoes: Plato’s Closet / purse: gift from a friend
Altering vintage is one of my favorite things to do. Have you ever tried? It’s SO much fun! It’s also quick, cheap, and much easier than you might think! If you give it a try or have in the past, send me a link in the comments! I love to see how others upcycle and alter things!