Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thrift Store Hack: Frumpy Frock into Gathered Waist Sundress

Let me start by saying that this hack was both a success and a failure. Obviously, maybe this is a bit presumptuous of me, the sundress after version looks much better than the before; however, this was a bit of a hack job on my part and I made a ton of simple sewing errors. If I'm being really honest the majority of the errors were made because I was rushing, and that's when most of the mistakes I make when sewing happen. The center gather channel that the tied waist band sits in is crooked (guess who didn't draw a straight line to follow!) and all of the hems are rippled. I have all of these great (at least to me) ideas in my head and not enough time so I sew faster than I should, then get angry with the mistakes, then get more angry fixing my mistakes and the time it's taking. The end result: i'm just a mess of pins, a whirring sewing machine, and usually a piece that's ruined beyond repair or not wearable outside. This happens to me over and over again, but I've really been trying to work at taking my time when sewing. Realizing that I don't have to complete a piece from start to finish in one day even though I'd like to is a big help as well. When I push myself that hard I'm not enjoying myself or doing my best work. As my skills advance hopefully my speed will pick up as well, but I'm just not there. So I said all of that to say that from far away this dress looks nice, especially compared to what it was before, but at least to me up close it has a lot of faults. I may just sound like I'm being hard on myself, but I don't want to give the home sewers out there a bad rep. I feel like a lot of people picture home sewn clothes as dowdy, plain, lacking style. That can't be further from the truth, but a lot of people are unaware of that. I'm always afraid people will be able to tell the difference between my made items and ready to wear (RTW) items. Besides the individuality of the clothes I'm sewing from patterns to style I want my pieces to look professional.... If I wanted to I could fix these things, but in reality I'm not going to. This fits in with my wardrobe overhaul, fits my body nicely, and even though it might not last for more than a season I got this dress for about $4 from Goodwill.  At the time I didn't have any purpose for it so I threw it in my stash. The dress was hideous unless shiny purple frock dresses that fit like a sack with a necktie and shoulder pads are your thing. Make sure to click the link below to get the 'How To' and more pictures!

I've been following the 30 days of Sundresses series over on Melly Sews  and getting a lot of inspiration from all of the dresses and tutorials. I love a well-fitting sundress. They're usually really comfortable, especially in the heat, and always tend to make you look a little bit more dressed up while hugging your curves in all of the right places. One of the dress tutorials I loved was the "texas summer" drawstring-waist box dress by One Little Minute . I thought that the drawstring-waist would be a perfect way to change the Barney dress into something much more appealing. The tutorial was great and was easy to follow and I made my own adjustments to work with the dress I had on hand instead of rectangles like the post suggests.

Other than my own mistakes this was a relatively simple sew, and I cannot wait to get some jersey or other drapey material to make a version that has the kimono sleeves from the tutorial as well as some other variations of my own (boatneck, tank, tulip sleeve?). The drawstring waist style of a dress is possibly my favorite for my body type when it fits correctly. I will say that all of the gathers from the drawstring help to hide a lot of the noticeable flaws. This dress also had some front and back pleats and the gathers help to accentuate those in a nice way.

Can you see the pleats along the shoulder line? This is a back view of the dress
I would highly recommend this tutorial, hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll have some more dresses and other projects to share with you all because I have a bunch of things in the works and ideas in my head. Here's to slower patient sewing. Fingers crossed!


  1. What in the name of all that is holy made you buy that ugly dress from goodwill? That was hideous. It doesn't look bad from the pictures. Maybe a little short for me

  2. Nice work Aimee