Polka dots for spring

I found this vintage polka dot dress at the thrift store for $5. That’s more than I am usually willing to pay, but I tried it on at the store and I envisioned what it could be, so I decided $5 wasn’t so bad.

I’m sorry I don’t have a before picture with the dress on me, but this was a bit of a last-minute project that I started the night before I wanted the dress.

In general, it was a bit too small. It had boning which was poking into me and sticking out in places. You can see the end of the boning poking through the lining in the picture below.

The boning also made the dress look a bit to snug at the waist, and the skirt was a bit tighter than what I consider comfortable at the hips.

The first thing I did was remove the boning from the lining.

The lining at the bodice had holes in it and wasn’t really necessary.

So, I cut it away and left enough to fold under and hand stitch it down on the inside of the dress.

Since the material had stretch to it, I decided a zipper wasn’t really necessary.

The deconstruction aftermath

I also removed the skirt from the bodice. Since the skirt was a longer a-line originally, I knew that if I just cut away the top part of the skirt I would have a looser fitting skirt that was about knee-length. This method also ensured that I wouldn’t have to do any hemming. So, I cut away about 8 inches from the top of the skirt.

I sewed up the back of the bodice, and pinned the bodice and the skirt together. The bodice opening was now smaller than the skirt opening, so I stretched the skirt as I sewed to fit the bodice opening.

I could’ve gathered the skirt and then added it, but then there wouldn’t have been enough stretch at the seam and I would’ve needed to re-insert the zipper.

Lastly, I folded the loose lining under and hand-stitched it down to the inside of the dress.

This was the most tedious part, but I just conquered it over the course of an hour while watching a couple of TV shows.

In the end, I have a dress that will probably get a lot of wear and I finished the reconstruction in one evening (about three hours).

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the first time I wore it (My hair was curled, and the little hair comb looked much cuter), but here are some pictures of the dress on me.

I apologize for the condition of my hair and face. I’ve been spending more time working with Alex out at the shop (helping him assemble routers and machining parts on the mill), and I’ve really been enjoying it. I took these pictures during a quick break, so if there are any metal chips in my hair, that’s why. And no, I don’t wear dresses to work at the shop (I just brought the dress with me). I just want to make sure I still get some blogging in here and there. 😉


  1. Mary

    March 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I love this! What could be cuter than polka dots and a full skirt? Love!!!

    1. Becca

      April 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks! I agree, polka dots and a full skirt are one of the cutest things a gal can wear. 🙂

  2. Korey

    March 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    lovely! Also very informative post. As someone who does not do real sewing (I mend holes, attach/re-attach buttons and hem things, that’s it) I was always curious about to what extent it was possible to make something larger.

    1. Becca

      April 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      It’s usually pretty difficult to make things larger, unless there is plenty of seam allowance left on the seams of the garment. I got lucky with this one.

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