I am so excited to bring you another upcycle, because I think this one is one of my favorites.
In a world where fast fashion is contributing to environmental issues, upcycling is more than just a fun DIY project. It’s a practical and actionable way to reduce waste and make the most out of what we already have. It’s about questioning the conventional wisdom of consumerism and trying new things.
I’m going to show you how I turned the below dated dress into a gorgeous midi length dress with contrasting trim. If you love a cute tea party dress, then this project is for you.
So, how do we start this magical transformation process? Let’s dive in!
Tools & Materials
Just a reminder that my original video is in the middle of the page. You can watch the entire process and read the entire transcript there if you’re interested ♡.
The first step is to find your material.
I’ve made everything from dresses from men’s suits to two piece summer sets out of silk pants. There is life in everything, so whatever sparks your interest seems like a great place to start to me.
With this dress I fell in love with the embroidery. It added a unique touch to my upcycle.
Once you’ve found your piece to upcycle, it’s time to deconstruct it. Seam rip the entire dress apart to see exactly what you’re working with.
Creating a New Design
Now that you have your fabric, it’s time to draft your pattern.
Use a standard fitted bodice pattern as a base (you can get the Mood pattern I used below):
Adjust the pattern to include a deep V neckline and straps.
Remember to add seam allowances. Once your pattern is ready, cut out the fabric according to your pattern.
Sew the darts and the center front of the bodice.
For the back bodice (get the original pattern I based off of here), cut a rectangular piece and sew it to the front bodice at the side seams.
For the skirt, I used the entire skirt section of the original dress (but, you could borrow from my Agua Bendita dupe if you wanted). If you feel it’s too short, don’t worry. We’ll add a lace trim for additional length and a touch of style.
Bringing It All Together
Now that we have our pieces, it’s time to assemble the dress. Sew a basting stitch along the top of the skirt to create gathers. Pin the skirt to the bodice, spreading the gathers evenly, and sew them together.
Next, we’ll tackle the zipper. Reuse the zipper from the original dress. Sew it in place, then cut the basting stitch to reveal the finished zipper.
Adding the Finishing Touches
For the straps, use ribbon. Place them about three inches from the side seam and sew them in place.
Next, sew the bodice lining, leaving sections unsewn for the straps. Feed the straps through the openings and sew them in place.
To make the dress more comfortable and adjustable, create a faux shirring effect in the back by making channels and sewing in elastic.
Finally, hand sew any remaining openings closed for a neat finish. If necessary, dye the dress to even out any sun-bleached areas. Fold the bottom of the skirt over twice and sew to create a neat hem.
And voila! You have successfully transformed an old dress into a beautiful, modern piece.
There’s something incredibly satisfying about creating something with your own hands. It’s not just about the end product, but the journey of transformation. It’s about taking control of your style, setting high goals, and working hard to achieve them. So why not give it a try? You might just surprise yourself with what you can create.
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As always, thank you so much for reading, and happy sewing!