Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Dress modification

My children attend a ballroom dance class and at the end of each session they have a semi-formal dance. My daughters are all about wearing something pretty that, more importantly, is nice and twirly when they spin :)

My 16 yr old was very excited to find this dress at a rummage sale for 25 cents (the price was right!) but unfortunately it was strapless ... and short. However, it had that twirl factor, so we took it on as a project. The length was easy to correct...just wear capri leggings under it (good cover for when in full twirl also!) and then we just had to add straps.

SO here's the before...with a tank top underneath :) Definitely couldn't wear it like that!

Next we took a trip to the fabric store to find a PERFECTLY coordinating fabric -- (haha, said a bit tongue-in-cheek because it's pretty hard to find a perfect match!) We couldn't find an exact match, so we settled for two fabrics and a ribbon that kind of coordinated :) Here's what we came up with...

First step was to wash the dress, and wash the fabrics to make sure any shrinking would occur before we made the straps! Next step was to measure and see how long the straps needed to be.

It was then pretty easy.  I decided how thick I wanted the straps to be, cut out strips of each color fabric, and sewed right sides together in a straight line down the edge.

Next I turned them inside out and ironed them with the seam in the middle (so it would be covered by the successive layers.

It was easy to then just layer the different finished fabric strips and then sew them together--

...and then decide on placement and pin them in place (well, we found that it worked better to do one and then measure the second side so that you place them symmetrically.)

Sew them on, try it on, adjust a little...and voila!  A dress ready for the big dance :)

And here it is in mid-twirl!  Comfortable, modest, and a lot of fun! :)  

So the moral of the story is don't be afraid to alter a dress that doesn't work perfectly for you...especially if you get it for a tiny price ;)  It doesn't have to be hard or even elegant or complicated and you may end up with a favorite piece!


  1. That turned out really cute. I saw your three in the pic you shared from the "informal." Great looking bunch of kids! And what a huge group!

    1. And that was only part of the group! All the CFS folks were missing b/c it was closing night... They have a great time!

  2. you did an excellent job! well done.

  3. The twirling skirt makes dancing even more fun. Great job on the alteration!

  4. Turned out SO cute!!! What a great bargain all around. And thumbs up on the twirl factor too - very important!

  5. Oh, that's pretty awesome! Looks so cute. Alterations can be tricky- yay you for taking it on anyway!