Turning a $7 Dress into a $700 Dress

I do love a bargain, especially when I find something on the sale rack that I feel in love with when it was full price.


I used the cream dress as my
template for enlarging the black dress.


I drafted the pattern by rubbing off the
difference between the two side
seams of the black and cream dress.

  A scalloped lace remnant from my stash
will create a hem border. I will cut o
ut the netting to silhouette the pattern.

This is exactly what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I found two mod '60s-style dresses, one black and one cream, each at $7.

The problem was that the cream dress fit me perfectly, while the black dress was about four sizes too small.

I decided to make a simple alteration to the black dress by inserting fabric in the side seams and add a lace embellishment as a hemline border. I went into my stash for black velvet for the insert and some scalloped lace inherited from my mother-in-law for the hem border.

I laid the black dress on top of the cream dress, matching the neckline and shoulder seams.. Then I made a "rub-off" onto pattern paper of the side seam difference on the dress from armhole to hem and drafted a pattern adding 1/2" seam allowances and a 1-1/2" hem.

Next I positioned the scalloped lace on the hemline to determine placement and then worked on cutting out the netting around the lace pattern, which I will then hand sew to the dress.

Over the next few weeks I will stitch the side seam insert to add the proper girth to the dress and finish cutting out the lace and sewing it to the hemline. My dress may have cost $7, but when I get done it will look more like $700.

I love the idea that I am creating an expensive-looking dress for pennies on the dollar, and also that I am using inherited stash.

Do you love to transform garments? Then you simply must check out Shape Shape 2, now on sale for less than my $7 dress in the Sew Daily Shop. This elegant book offers chic patterns for creating minimalist style.

Have you upcycled anything lately? I would love to know!

Happy stitching!

 

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:

Categories

Embellishment
Amber

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

14 thoughts on “Turning a $7 Dress into a $700 Dress

  1. Can hardly wait to see the finished upcycled dress! My most recent upcycling was in April (earth month) where and old J Crew shirt was made to look like an Anthroplogie blouse. Talk about pitting one brand against another 🙂

  2. I would love to see a of that blouse, Samina! Can you post to the gallery and give us a link here?

    It’s amazing what a portable project this dress is. I already have the lace designs cut out, and am ready to start basting and hand-stitching to dress!

  3. What pretty lace! I just up cycled nine men’s dress shirts into nine new baby dresses! It was fun adding individual touches to each shirt dress.

  4. Hi, Amber,
    I am somewhat of a novice at sewing, so I must ask, what is a rub-off? I’ve never heard this term and don’t know what it means or how to do it. But I would like to know since I might like to use this to enlarge some of my old garments. I applaud your upcycling efforts and think this dress will be a knock-out!
    Carolinn

  5. Hi, Amber,
    I am somewhat of a novice at sewing, so I must ask, what is a rub-off? I’ve never heard this term and don’t know what it means or how to do it. But I would like to know since I might like to use this to enlarge some of my old garments. I applaud your upcycling efforts and think this dress will be a knock-out!
    Carolinn

  6. While I applaud your 7.00 dress you could make it soooooooo much easier if instead of cutting your netting from the lace, you use a fine point wood burning tool and just melt it away. Takes the hours of teeny cutting out and seals the edges so you never know it was attached to net. I do this all the time

  7. I usually shop at thrift shops and goodwill…I have bought things and done alterations, but never something as ambitious as you did the black and white dress. You’ve encouraged me to be more daring. There is a catalog company that is having it’s annual rummage sale this month in my neighborhood, and your post has inspired me to look more creatively at the clothing there…each item is just $5, so it will be a good place to start challenging myself without spending alot of money Thanks for your post !

  8. Hi Amber,
    I was so inspired by your post on upsizing the dress that was too small that I successfully finished a similar project. I found a long fully beaded dress in almost perfect condition at the thrift store in the “boutique” section. It was tagged at $40, but I got it for $20 as they were having a half off sale. It appeared to be a high end dress, almost encrusted with beads, top to bottom and front to back, made of silk. It was a size or two too small, but I loved it so much I had to take the risk. The French seams came apart with surprising ease, and as I didn’t have a larger dress to compare it to, my husband helped me make careful measurements and I was able to draft a pattern to create an insert for the side seam area. I found some stretch black velvet at the fabric store and bought 1.5 yards for $7. There were lots of challenges doing the actual sewing, but I learned a lot and now have a fabulous dress to wear to a formal function in a couple of weeks. Now, on to making my 1920’s “One Hour Dress” for a costume event.

Comment