Thursday 24 January 2013

Dress Refashion...

Turn a Woman's Dress into a Dress for a Young Girl

This would have to be the quickest refashion ever. Here's how to turn a woman's dress into a dress for a young girl...

Take a pre-loved woman's dress, made from stretch fabric:
  • cut several inches off at the shoulders
  • redo the neckline
  • take it in at the waist
  • re-hem the bottom 

Adjust the shoulders and neckline:

  • Cut the shoulder seams open.
  • Measure the child from shoulder to waist to determine how much to take up the shoulder seams. How much you take up the shoulder, will determine the finished armhole size.
  • Sew the new shoulder seam with the front side uppermost. Stop at the edge of the front.

Cut the excess fabric off the front of the seam.

  • Fold the back shoulder and neck down to form the new neckline.
  • Cut off excess fabric.
  • Sew with a small zig zag stitch. I used a stitch length of 2.4 and a stitch width of .4

Redo the waistline:

  • Try to find where the elastic is joined by feeling.
  • Using your seam ripper, undo about 1" of the elastic casing stitching.
  • Pull out the elastic and cut to the desired length.
  • Resew the elastic and feed back into the casing.
  • Restitch the casing and spread out the elastic evenly.

Re-hem the bottom:

  • Cut excess fabric from the bottom of the dress.
  • Turn up the hem.
  • Stitch in place with a small zig zag stitch OR use a twin needle.

I've finally used a twin needle!!! I will never sew a hem on stretch fabric without a twin needle, ever again!!! Not only does it look MUCH better than a small zig zag stitch, but the fabric actually stretches. Looking back at the dress, I think I should have done the neckline with the twin needle too.

When the kids were little, I did a lot of stretch sewing, using an overlocker...
t-shirts, sweaters, track pants, bike pants and leotards. The only thing I was never happy with, was the hems that needed to be sewn on my machine that I'd had since the early 70s. It was a very basic machine and I was just happy that it would do a zig zag stitch. I don't know if twin needles existed by the time my kids came along, but I didn't know about them and I doubt that my machine would have taken them. Hence my hems were the weak point in these garments.

Not any more!!! If you are doing stretch sewing and if a twin needle will work with your machine, I'd recommend giving it a go. I don't know how easy they are to thread and use on other machines, but on my Bernina, it was extremely easy. Check the manual and two minutes later I was successfully sewing.

All that was left to finish the dress, was to add a bow around the waist. I've simply used some of the fabric cut from the hem. I haven't neatened the edges, as it's stretch fabric and won't fray. 

This refashion is not an example of perfect sewing. As well as extending the life of a garment, albeit in a different form, I view refashioning as a way I can experiment with sewing, stepping out of my comfort zone and breaking the sewing rules I was taught many moons ago.

As with all my previous refashions, I'll be adding this dress refashion to the Clothes Upcycling Page on Creating My Way to Success. There are almost 400 refashioning projects added to Jill's site.

Sewing with a twin needle was so easy, it hardly classifies as a new skill, however, I'm still adding it to:

And of course I'll be adding it to the 238 dresses already linked to the Dresses for Girls link party, here on Threading My Way...

... Pam


  1. It looks great Pam, and congrats on mastering the art of the twin needle. I think my machine can do this, but I would have to check the manual!

  2. I dare say, I like the young girl's version better than the original! The twin needle is a life saver for doing hems and such on knits if don't have a coverstitch machine (and I certainly don't!).;)

  3. Another great refashion! Glad you discovered the awesomeness of a twin needle. :-)

  4. I just bought a twin needle! Excited to give it a go. Great refashion, Pam!

  5. Great transformation! I think the dress looks better now!

  6. This looks lovely! Great job :)

  7. Pam, this looks so simple, but I am afraid of knit and know it would take me all day to do a transformation like this! Love the fabric!

  8. Pam, you did a nice transformation!!!!
    I love the new dress!! Like always, is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

  9. I love this dress. Love the fabric and new shape. I just bought a twin needle too - I can't believe I have not had one before ;-)

  10. Love my twin needle! Love how easy this looks, your final project is super cute.

  11. You did a great job! I would totally wear your refashion, and I'm 28 :)

    I would love it if you would link up at Martha Mondays, open now through Wednesday night!


  12. Hi Pam, I'm gonna share this with my daughter. She buys vintage dresses, she has a small build, and so always needs to alter them. Your tutorial is super:) Stop by my new post

  13. What a great refashion Pam! So simple! I really must find out if my machine will take a twin needle!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  14. I love those colors in that dress! A little girl will look so cute in that! And I LOVE that you tried something new and that it "wasn't an example of perfect sewing." You learned something new, and it still looks great!
    Thanks for linking up!

  15. It looks great and thanks for the tip on the twin needle. I love upcycled clothing! Thanks for linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday:)

  16. Cute dress! I want to wear it!

    Navy Wifey Peters @ Submarine Sunday Link Party

  17. This is adorable - gosh I think it looks better as the child's dress.

    Thanks for linking up to Refashion Friday!

  18. The kid dress is definitely prettier than the adult dress. Something was weird with the proportions of the original.

    Nicely done!

  19. Hey Pam... I can't believe this one slid past me! Just found it in your side bar... I love it!!!!! So much so that I've pinned it ;-)

  20. This looks great! Really clever!


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