My Friend Valerie and her Vintage Dress Refashion

Lucky me!!!

I’ve always been so fortunate to have assistants who also become my friends. Valerie is no exception! She joined our team last January and I’m thrilled to have her with us.

Valerie calls herself Seamstress Interruptus. So appropriate considering she is the mother of not one, but TWO sets of twins!

That being said, I felt very honored that she felt inspired enough by my 1960’s Mad Men Inspired Dress Refashion post to take some of her precious time to try this herself.

Here’s Valerie:

Anyhow, on Friday I picked up this vintage hand-made dress for $1.  I was hesitant at first because I knew it was way too big and pretty much would fit like a potato sack (and it did) but I really liked the fabric & thoughts of your inspirational re-fashions pushed me to pick it up anyway…


The dress was nicely sewn in the first place with darts that (luckily) fit my top half just right, so I didn’t have to do much to the bodice, other than take in about 4-5 inches on each side – I did this by trying on and pinning (not easy, lol) and then testing with a basting stitch until I got it right.  What I would give for a dress form like yours!

Once I got the bodice fitted I cut the dress in half where I had marked the new waistline – this was complicated a bit by there being an existing zipper in the back that went down into the skirt portion – I didn’t want to mess with it so I just sliced all the way around, stopping at the zipper.  I then serged the side seams of the bodice where I had taken it in, and after that I gathered the skirt with a basting stitch  until it was the same width as the bodice.  Then I serged over the gathered edge of the skirt & the raw edge at the bottom of the bodice.

After that I added a strip of white cotton to the inside waistband to help the skirt stay in place while I figured out the waistband.  I made the waistband using the odd sashes that were attached to the sides of the original dress.  There were 2 fabric covered buttons on those sashes that I added to the back once I top-stitched the new waistband on…not the most perfectly straight or aligned waistband, but I was winging it and using what I had (strips that were already finished) so I’m not too worried about it.

I was pretty happy with the end result – it went from being shapeless to shape-full(?) and certainly fits better now, though a bit shorter than I am comfortable with, but that is no problem as luckily there is a big-ole 6 inch hem, and I can just let it down a bit and all will be well 🙂

I think Valerie’s refashion is amazing! It is so flattering on her and the vintage fabric is perfect for the new style.

If you’ve been inspired by one of my refashions, I’d love to share your project here, too. Just email me at with before and after pictures. If you have your own blog, I’ll be sure to provide a link back to you.

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About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
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27 Responses to My Friend Valerie and her Vintage Dress Refashion

  1. Marty Frasier says:

    Wowsa, Valerie! Perfect! I love the print, and the dress is so cute on you.

  2. Cuckoo Chanel says:

    Beautiful refashion. The fit is spectacular, and the print is to die for. Great job.

  3. Jill says:

    Way to go, Valerie. It looks great on you and the length is perfect as is!

  4. OMG! The refashion is gorgeous! Love it! Valerie totally looks like she stepped out of the Mad Men era…

  5. Valerie says:

    awww, shucks…no really, though – yay me!!! I couldn’t have done it without the inspiration, though, Beth! …and THANKS everyone for all your sweet comments 🙂

  6. Cara Olsen says:

    Too cute, Beth. Valerie must count herself blessed to have a friend who can whip up such a gorgeous dress for her; especially being a mother of two sets of twins. My goodness! Hat’s off to her!

    Happy Monday, my friend!

  7. Love the color and design of this dress:)

  8. alicecarman says:

    I love the empire waist! Great job!

  9. jenyjenny says:

    Wow, beautiful job! Thanks for featuring that.

  10. brilliant! oh how i wish i could stumble upon a dress like that at the shops!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Well done, it looks great!

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