project restyle: 60′s inspired baby-doll dress

Today for my project restyle (that I’m contributing to “A Beautiful Mess”), I’m doing something that for the most part, is a super quick and easy restyle. I went shopping this afternoon for fabric for Chatty Budgies. Often times when I look for fabric to reuse, I also look for stuff that I can utilize everything. For example, this dress that I found today: I knew that I could do something with the dress, and still have a TON of fabric left over to make bows and headbands and so on. The first thing that I thought when I saw this dress was that the general shape reminded me of 60′s baby-doll dresses. Of course, it was a early 90′s sack dress, but that didn’t deter me.
The first thing I needed to do was figure out how short I wanted it to be. I tried it on, measured where I wanted it to hit on the leg and cut off the excess fabric. After I cut off the fabric, I ironed up the hem to where I wanted it to be. Recently I have discovered fusible hem. Now, I absolutely HATE hemming dresses, and since my sewing machine has been acting a little funny lately the fusible hem has become the best way of creating a clean looking quick hem. (I don’t recommend this for everything, but for lightweight fabrics it has worked great for me). I usually iron it on in about 5″-8″ pieces. These next few steps are optional. The only reason I needed to do them was because this dress was about 4 sizes too big!
The dress needed to be taken in drastically, however, since it had no zipper or buttons I had to be clever about how it was cinched at the waist. I still needed to be able to pull it over my head!
I decided that the best way to do this was to put elastic at the back of the dress. This way it could still be stretched over my head, but would cinch around my waist when it was on.
I started by measuring how much needed to be taken in. I determined that I needed a piece of elastic that was 6″ (to be stretched over 12″). I pinned it in the center of the back of the dress, then pulled it as far as it went to the left and right and pinned it there as well. I continued to stretch it and pin it into place so that when I sewed it, it wouldn’t move too much. I sewed the elastic with the tension set as low as possible so the thread wouldn’t tear if it was stretched far.
In the end, I also put two small pleats in the front (because I wanted it to be a little more fitted than I originally thought). They ended up looking quite cute anyway. :)
Here’s the end result:


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