Refashioned Horrible Dress into a Less Horrible Dress!

After the success of my refashioned ugly skirt into top, I decided to refashion one of the other garments I picked up from the Fara Workshop. Remember this dress?


This was a charming drop-waisted, large dress with big puffy sleeves and a lovely weird lacy collar!


I unpicked all of the bits from the top of the dress and removed the skirt. The dress had a facing that also formed the triangle between the 2 pieces of lace and I had to unpick the shoulders to get the facing and collar off.

Fara-stripey-dress-3I decided to make a nice summer dress from the pieces I could salvage. I sewed new shoulder seams 10cm in from the original seams and took in the side seams but 5cm under the arms to 3cm at the bust to 5cm at the waist to the bottom of the top pieces (if that makes sense!).

(Sorry for the shit photos – I seriously need to take better pictures, probably outside. I think not enough light is the problem with them all being so blurry! There’s only so much photoshop will fix it seems.)


I realised quite early on that if I didn’t make it too fitted, which I didn’t want to do, then I could get away without adding in a zip – it would have been a pain to do this I think. I would have either put one under one arm into the side seam, or I would have had to make a new seam in the back of the bodice and skirt. So I made sure I didn’t have to do that as I’m lazy!Fara-stripey-dress-5

I took 9.5cm off the top edge of the skirt and 11cm off the bottom of the bodice, taking into account a 1.5cm seam allowance. I gathered the skirt and reattached it to the bodice. As you can probably see, the amount I trimmed off the bodice must had not been quite even, or my stitching wasn’t even as the stripes on the front of the bodice aren’t even all the way across. I’m not on the Sewing Bee, though, so I’m not too bothered.


Fara-stripey-dress-6I also added pockets I measure where to put them by trying on the dress, but then somehow ended up with them so low I can only just reach the bottom of them! Not sure how that happened –  couldn’t be arsed to move them up, though, as they’ll hold my phone which is basically what I need from pockets in a dress! I used the Clemence skirt pocket pattern piece from Love At First Stitch. I used the fabric from the sleeves to make the pockets.

Fara-stripey-dress-9The arm and neck are bound with some self-made bias strips, made from the fabric I cut off the skirt and top pieces. The binding stretched slightly out at the bottom of the v-neck, but it’s not super noticeable, so I’m pretty happy with managing to make it look okay – I’ve never bound a non-round neckline before.



Looking at these pictures now, I wonder if I should have shaved off some fabric on the shoulders as they almost sit like teeny tiny sleeves, but it should be sleeveless. Ah, the joys of hindsight!Fara-stripey-dress-8  Not sure why I’ve got my hands in fists here!

I like the loose fit – I think it will be really comfortable when the weather gets hot, if it ever gets hot! Next I need to make a couple of Holly Jumpsuits for the Summer and maybe a couple more skirts and tops and hopefully I’ll have some good options for Summer wardrobe! What plans do you have for the warmer weather (or colder weather if you’re in the Southern hemisphere?)

12 thoughts on “Refashioned Horrible Dress into a Less Horrible Dress!

  1. Beth

    Oh it’s so cute now! I don’t even know what to say about that ‘before’ dress! Shocking! Amazing to have so much fabric to play with though. It’s a shame you can only just reach the pockets! I imagine it’s really comfy and airy.


    1. Amelia Wray Post author

      Aw, thanks. I definitely prefer it more after! I could move the pockets up a bit, but as I’ve previously said, once I’ve finished something, it seems like way too much effort to change it again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sheisthewildyouth

    I’m always jealous of the people who can turn one questionable garment into something wearable that actually looks good!! Low pockets are fiiiine, it gives the dress a more casual look which is perfect for summer!!


    1. Amelia Wray Post author

      I’m jealous of people who can think outside the box with refashioning – I tend to say ‘oh, it’s a dress, I’ll make it into a different dress’, which is fine because I still get something wearable out of it, but I feel like I lack imagination a bit!
      Also, definitely going to claim the pocket placement as a deliberate style decision!


  3. evenlode1967

    I remember when that horrible dress was the height of fashion. Its horrifying that we actually thought we looked good in such crap. I blame Princess Diana! Thankfully you have rescued it from Style Hell and I love your new version. It looks like the perfect outfit for London heat. I love the little cap sleeves too. Great job and sooo inspiring!


    1. Amelia Wray Post author

      When I saw the original in the shop, I did let out a little snort of laughter that first of all, someone made it, and then someone presumably wore it at some point! Amazing. I feel like the 80s were a real fashion low point. I’m counting down the days until it’s warm enough to wear it as I think it will look a bit odd with tights! Yay for Summer in pretty, loose dresses!


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