Hot! No Dress Left Behind

For something I said I didn't want to talk about, you folks were determined to comment! That's a joke — I appreciate all the feedback! In fact it motivated me to chop up the dress and try to, pardon the cliché, make it work. 

The commenters seemed to agree on three main details: lose the sleeves, lose the red belt and introduce the color black somehow. Most folks suggested adding a strip of black fabric at the bottom to add length. That was an idea I was considering until I realized that I really hate how short the bodice of the dress actually was. You can't tell in the original photograph because the belt is hiding it, but the bodice piece basically ended at the top of the belt. 

Before-after

So instead of adding the black to the bottom, I decided to lengthen the bodice by adding a band to the bottom of that piece. In the process, I made it a bit more form-fitting and added a zipper to the back of the dress.

The sleeves were chopped off, as suggested, and I turned it into a halter top (the sleeves became ties). The tie on my right side looks a bit wonky because I think I faced it to itself a bit too low. That's easily fixable, though. I didn't really even notice until I saw the picture. 

As far as length goes, I didn't really gain that much but that's okay since I think it works fine with this style of dress.

While the dress certainly isn't one of my favorites, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'm especially happy that I could salvage something that I know I would have never worn again.

Author

Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.

35 Comments

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  1. Much better! I knew you could do it :D Excellent job!

  2. YAY I love what you did with it!

  3. That dress looks so much better now. I love what the black band did to it. I also think you look great in a halterneck.

  4. looks very nice!
    isn’t it funny that “make it work” is a cliche now haha

  5. That looks fantastic! The cut of the bodice is really flattering on you and the black sash/band makes a big difference.

  6. Yes! I love it! It looks more playful this way.

  7. So glad there’s a happy ending to this story, because that dress had capabilities!
    Looks great now. Substituting black for red? How do people know to DO that?

  8. way to save this dress! i love what you did to it. you look ready to go to a summer party now.

  9. Good save!! I was thinking you should make a tunic out of the old one, but I like your result much better :-) Nice job.

  10. Great job! An inspiration for all our less-than-stellar projects. :)

  11. SO much better. You did an awesome job salvaging the project!

  12. Wow you took that dress from slightly frumpy to hotcheemama! in a flash. Great job.

  13. What a transformation! You look fabulous (and so does your dress)!

  14. It’s amazing, the change. Looks totally awesome!!

  15. i am so happy you saved this dress! i just loved the chevron stripes and the colors on you. Great summer bbq dress! Love it!

  16. Super cute. Love the makeover.

  17. The black band, what a fabulous idea! The whole dress is so improved. Great job!

  18. Oh man! I totally applaud this. This is probably the best transformation of a project gone wrong I’ve ever seen!

  19. Nice work! The halter neckline is incredibly flattering and even though I didn’t mind the red belt, I really like what you’ve done with the black band. Success!

  20. Great save!!! The updated dress is hot!

  21. Much better…. love the shoes too!

  22. Gorgeous!

  23. I love what you did with this dress. It’s awe inspiring and super flattering!

  24. Great job! Much better!

  25. laciemurphy@hotmail.com

    I love it! The creative ingenuity is perfect. Thanks for sticking it through. I’ve sewn more than few duds, this has inspired me to go back and rethink some projects.

  26. I do like it much better with the changes that you made although I thought it was cute to start with too!

  27. Oh, this is so cute now! Fantastic fixes!

  28. I think the alteration really works! It’s gone from a little overwhelming and frumpy to sexy and cool! I’m glad you were able to salvage it!

  29. Nice work! It looks great!

  30. I bet you will wear it a lot this summer….it’s super flattering, and I love the unusual fabric you chose…

  31. I love it! It looks great now!

  32. PERFECTION! Well done. You seem happy about it as well!

  33. PERFECT! You definitely should make more 40′s-style halters, it’s a very flattering style on you!