Hot! The “Better Belted” Sun Suit Ensemble

The Facts

Fabric: Maxi Dress – Target 2010
Pattern: Self Drafted
Year: a mix of modern and 1960’s
Notions: elastic from stash
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: February, 2012
Wear again? Yes. Not in February though.

Total price: $0

Wish I was more creative with the title. This maxi dress was my go-to pregnant dress 2 years ago. It only fit while pregnant, since I am very short it drags on the ground otherwise. Why didn’t I just hem it you ask? Well, I didn’t want to lose the beautiful design on the bottom of the dress. Needless to say, I hardly wore the dress after giving birth, I am not going to be pregnant anytime soon if at all again. So the dress needed a makeover.

I was watching Blue Hawaii the other night, and the part where Joan Blackman is removing her wrap skirt and her ensemble becomes a swim suit. I wanted to do that! I am always inspired by Edith Head(costume designer for Blue Hawaii) and this was my tribute to her. I took the top of the maxi dress, laid a bathing suit on top of it and traced out the leg/crotch part with scissors. The rest of the maxi dress I saved for a skirt to go over. Not enough for a wrap skirt, but easy enough to please. I used elastic for the leg holes and elastic for the waist band of the skirt. I pieced it with a belt to not look like a poorly made toddler romper, and headed off to my Dad’s house to use his pool as a backdrop. No joke, It was 50 degrees Celsius and I was cold every time the breeze came in, but it was sunny enough to feel a little warm at times. I really shouldn’t complain – it’s snowing somewhere. But really, out her in Southern California, that Puxatony Phil is disregarded when he predicts 6 more weeks of Winter. It’s just not possible in our neck of the woods. I say “Silly groundhog, seeing your shadow means the sun is out, and if the sun is out then it’s going to be a beautiful day. Don’t fear it, embrace it my furry friend”

All in all, I like my new sun suit. It’s an excuse to wear for sun bathing, but am not required or obligated to get in the pool. I also like how much it covers my backside. This will get worn again, even if I do always have to wear a belt with it. Gives me an excuse to shop for more belts. I recommend tackling this project if you too get bored of your maxi dress.




Bethany is a forever student in Fashion Design. She took a hiatus from her studies due to the fear of using a sewing machine and a long term illness. It wasn't until her daughter was born, she felt inspired to create again and dive headfirst into sewing by machine.


Comments are closed.

  1. Nice redesign! I love that you were able to get two pieces out of it. So ingenious!

  2. I love your refashion! I have a pattern for a one piece pant suit with a full wrap skirt that I once saw Lucy wear on an episode of “I Love Lucy”. I’m still waiting for a chance to make it. I never thought of doing the same thing with a skirt. I’ll have to try your idea. I like the belt with it too.

  3. What a great idea! Love it!

  4. I love it! What a great dress and sun suit!

  5. Fantastic job! Also I envy your weather!!!

  6. Excellent refashion idea and gorgeous pool photos. So jealous of your California winter.

  7. Love this idea. Very brave with an oh, so cute result!

  8. Bethany, how cute is this, what a great refashion job.

  9. I love that the pool and the bottom of the skirt are essentially the same design, and that you kept the bottom edge. Great photo set! And, it’s snowing kinda hard here, right now.

  10. Oh, how cute! What a fantastic idea. I’ve always loved that scene in Blue Hawaii myself.

  11. Very inventive! I love the ensemble and I am sure you will get more wear out of it now.

  12. cute and clever idea – lovely print, well worth keeping.

  13. Great save! Love that print and your photos :)

  14. Love how this turned out. Awesome!

  15. Wow Bethany, that’s such a fantastic conversion. Love it! It’s so clever….and really nice that you can re-use a garment that has special meaning.

    • I never thought of it like that until you mention it now. Yeah, It does have special meaning, and I love that it is the one maternity item I get to re-use and keep without being pregnant.

  16. That is so fun! It’s a great look on you and the photos are so cute. You look warm despite how cold it is there.

  17. Thank you. I have my husband to thank for the photos.

  18. Bethany, this is AMAZING! You are so uber talented, it makes my head spin.

  19. Holy hotness! When you look that good lounging, you stay lounging :) Awesome refashion.

  20. I love that scene in Blue Hawaii too and I love your interpretation and refashion, super chic!. That first photo is reminiscent of a Vogue shot, sooooo good Bethany. Well done.

  21. Thank you friends! I am super happy about this transformation!

  22. so great Bethany!! I love the coverage of the bottoms too. And that top photo!!!!!!!!! wowsa.