Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tips For Restyling a Thrifted Secretary Dress

I love this dress. I love the bow patterned fabric and I love the little tie. The only issue with it was that it swallowed me whole when I put it on... time to restyle it! Sorry, when I make a restyle really fit me I can't get it back on the dress form, but I promise a picture of me wearing soon! I honestly can't wait to wear this dress out!

Here is the process I used to restyle this dress. I am not a professional seamstress! This is just a hobby, and I am sure I am not doing things the proper way, but I have found that for a beginner like me this has been what works. Maybe it will help you to restyle something too!

1. Work with your dress inside out.

2. Remove the shoulder pads using your seam ripper (and get comfortable with your seam ripper).  I know it will be tempting at times to just cut things, but I promise... that shortcut could cost you in the end.

3. Remove your sleeves. Again, with your seam ripper!

4. Now that the sleeves are removed, put your dress on inside out and see how much you need to take it in on the sides. From the armpit down through the waist, pin or mark how much you need to take in on each side.

5. After you make sure both sides are equal, you are ready to sew the sides of the dress. It really does help to have the appropriate needle for the fabric. Since a lot of these dresses are made from a slippery polyester, I opt to use a ballpoint needle to help ensure the fabric does not pucker.

6. Once you have the sides sewn, put the dress on one more time (the right way this time) and make sure everything looks correct. If it does, turn it back inside out and cut off the excess. If you want, you can use pinking sheers, but you can also serge the seam.

7. Once the excess is cut, it is time to finish the sleeves.  Simply take the extra fabric you have and roll it in twice, pin and sew.

8. Lastly, I often need to hem my dresses. For this I just cut it and use my rolled hem foot to finish it.

I hope this is clear, but if not please let me know! I am thinking that in the future I will share more tips on the different ways I tackle my restyles... what do you think? You can see restyles from the past here, check it out!



  1. Your restyles are always so pretty ^_^ I seriously need to get friendly with my sewing machine!

    1. Thank you! Once you get started with the machine you won't regret it for a minute... Be Fearless!

  2. I would normally pass a dress like that up but it turned out Super cute. Did the pleats give you any trouble with hemming or taking in the sides? And I would like to see what s hem foot looks like and any tips on using it. Thanks!

    1. The fabric was so sheer that the pleats didn't give me any trouble...I was a bit worried at first. I will definitely post some tips about the hem foot! Thank you so much for the feedback!