DIY 50s Floral Vintage Dress

25 February 2013

This is a quick and easy way to transform a long vintage dress into a shorter 50s inspired piece. This is a great way to inject new life into old clothes and to add to your wardrobe, not to mention it's eco-friendly and helps promote recycling.

I understand that not everyone has readily available DIY materials, so household alternatives will be offered to ensure easily replication at home. The materials you will need are: vintage dress, thread, needle, seam ripper (or small scissors), sequin trim (stretch or standard) longer than hem length, head pins and fabric scissors (or normal scissors).

Step 1: Choose another dress from your wardrobe that is of the same length you want this dress to be, place the shorter dress on top of the longer dress, lining up the shoulders and mark where the hemline is on the longer dress. This is a lot more accurate than wearing the dress and marking the length because often when you bend down to mark the length, you will unknowingly mark a point a lot higher than you want.

Step 2: Either hang the dress up evenly and cut the hem by hand or if there are level seams already, measure several points using a set length from the seam, mark with a pencil, join up the dots and cut along the line. If you're using normal scissors, please cut by markings and be patient as these scissors are more blunt than fabric scissors.

Step 3: Using head pins (don't use needles as they wont stay and may risk injury if lost), pin the trim into place. If you're shortening a fitted dress (e.g. stretch bodycon), be sure to use elastic sequins to allow for stretch and movement. Elastic sequins may also be used to create a more ruffled skirt by sewing the trim in its stretched state (the more stretch the tighter the ruffles).

Step 4: Cut a long length of thread (not too long or it'll tangle), thread it through the needle, double the thread onto itself and knot 3 times at the end. Sew the trim onto the hem from underneath to hide the knot. You don't necessarily need to do this very neatly as the sequins will mask any uneven sewing. Use the seam ripper to correct any mistakes.

Step 5: Knot the thread 3 times a couple inches before the end, you do this purely for ease as it tends to be a lot more difficult to knot with only a couple centimetres of thread left. Repeat the process until trim has been sewn on and you're done! Make sure to clean up any flyaway pieces of thread by trimming them down.

I am currently toying with the idea of selling this in the shop (link in sidebar) but have grown increasingly attached to it. I think it's important to raise awareness of recycling in the community in order to reduce carbon footprint, decrease waste and promote self-sufficiency. It's all well and true to go to your local dry cleaners to get adjustments made to your clothes but they are often pricey and are sometimes of poor quality. Altering clothing at home is a money-saving technique that has a multitude of benefits including the development of new skills and the ownership of one-of-a-kind clothing. Promoting upcycling (the recycling of old clothes into new clothes) gives the community a chance to explore charity shops and be philanthropic, not to mention it's great for finding designer bargains if you look in the right place! I hope you enjoyed this simple vintage DIY, if you have any DIYs of your own - please link them below. 


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