Dress Refashioning Tips and Ideas Sewing Tutorial

Refashioned Coral Dress - finished dress 11

There are always items in our closets that we don’t want to throw away because they are perfectly good pieces of clothing, but we’ve worn them many times or they could use some sort of updating. I’m a true believer in refashioning old clothes to make them new again! You can’t be afraid to change something you wouldn’t have worn anyways. Take a look at my dress refashioning tutorial for a few ideas on how you can make a few simple changes to really spice up an old look!

Refashioned Coral Dress - finished dress back 12

Refashioned Coral Dress - Original dress

Refashioned Coral Dress - messy tie 7

I bought this dress for $10. Case in point, it’s hard to say no to a deal like that. It never really looked fabulous on me, however, and I realized after one wear and many photos later that it just didn’t do me a whole lot of favors in the flattery department. The sleeves were long and flowing and the front of the dress was also loose, so the fabric kind of swallowed me up. There was also a long tie in the back of the dress to keep the sleeves up. It was necessary to keep the dress from falling down, but it looked messy for a dress that was too dressy to be casual… Needless to say, it needed some help.

I decided the best way to update this dress was to bring up the sleeves into a tank style, keeping with the nature of the fabric and folding the fabric up at the top so the arms would drape nicely. Here is a close up on the sleeves. See how I take about an inch of fabric and accordion-style fold it up to the top of the sleeve. I pinned them down at the top and then hand sewed them. If you make your stitches on seam lines, you won’t be able to see any of the changes and no one will know it was ever refashioned!

Refashioned Coral Dress -Fold up the sleves 1

Refashioned Coral Dress -sleve pinned up 2

Refashioned Coral Dress -pinned sleve 3

Refashioned Coral Dress - sew along seam 4

To easily tie off a hand sewn knot, make a loop with the thread and position the knot close to the fabric. Place your finger over the knot and pull the thread tight. This will position the knot right next to the fabric. Repeat several times to make sure the knot holds.

Refashioned Coral Dress - make loop with thread near fabric 5

Refashioned Coral Dress - put finger over loop and pull to make a knot 6

I also chose to sew down the tie in the back to get rid of the long, messy pieces of fabric. The tie in the back turned into more of a strap once I pulled the two pieces across and pinned them. These I also hand sewed, but I did not sew completely through the fabric. By sewing through the strap and then halfway through the dress, you catch both layers of fabric but you can’t see the thread on the outside of the dress. Using this technique, you end up with a seamless look.

Refashioned Coral Dress - ties pinned across 8

Refashioned Coral Dress - sew ties without going through all layers 9

Refashioned Coral Dress -ties sewn across back 10

The finished dress only took a few small steps, and a needle and thread! You can really do a lot with clothing you already own, so be brave and try some refashioning out!

Coral Dress Refashion

The dress came from a small boutique down the road from me, and the purse, a tiny thrift store in Wisconsin so I don’t have any links for those! The shoes are Steve Madden (similar), the watch is Kate Spade (given to me by my lovely date above!), the bracelet is Forever 21 and the earrings are New York and Company (for some reason they don’t have them online).

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