Sewing, Refashioning, Repurposing & Thrifting Through Life

True Blue Maxi Dress Refashion

on May 20, 2014

I thrifted this blue rosebud print maxi dress at Talize recently and I knew I would not be keeping it as is. Why do I keep buying florals? Because I love them! I’m a girly girl. I love flowers. Floral prints may very well be my signature style and I’m not going to let anyone tell me I can’t always wear them. I think this is one of the best things about being in my 40s. I feel like I can wear what I want, regardless of what’s “in.” Are florals ever really out of style? I don’t think so.


Thrifted maxi dress-one VERY long summer dress!

Off to work. While trying the dress on, I measured where my natural waist falls and marked it with fabric marker, took the dress off and placed a pin at the mark.


I had already decided that I was going to keep the existing hem. Why make more work for yourself? From the bust seam to my natural waist mark measured to be exactly 15″ so I just measured and marked all along. I then went back and measured a 1/2″ down from my original line. This will be my seam allowance.


Leave some room for a seam allowance. I use 1/2″.

Next, it was time to cut.


The first cut is the deepest.

I ended up with this.


Cutting out the middle. There is enough discarded fabric here to make a mini for my daughter if she’ll wear it!

You’ll end up with one much larger piece for the bottom of the dress.


The fun part is about to begin. Joining the top to the bottom.

This fabric would’ve made a lovely maxi skirt. Too late now! Sometimes I second guess my original ideas. The fabric actually felt like it wanted to be flowy and not straight as it was originally. I decided to insert an elasticized waist. I prefer more structured dresses because I am self conscious about my hips but I’ll try that next. I have the perfect dress for it and can’t wait to create my next refashion. I used some very soft elastic. Since it will be hot when I’m wearing this dress, I want the least amount of restriction and chafing possible. I wrapped the elastic around my waist so it would be snug yet comfortable and stitched the ends together.

Next, I lined the elastic up with the front and centre backs and side seams of the skirt and pinned in place.


Line and pin the elastic to the front, centre back and side seams.

For the next step, some people prefer to stretch and pin the elastic all the way around before they stitch it down. I don’t do it this way as I find that the pins pop out. Whether my method is right or wrong, it works for me. I start at one of the points and stretch and stitch until I get to the next point and continue this way until the entire elastic is attached to the skirt.


Pin, stretch and stitch.

Once that’s done it should look like this.

Elastic newly stitched onto skirt.

Elastic newly stitched onto skirt.

For some reason, I forgot to take a picture of the next step. Basically, join all the side and back seam and centre front right sides together and stitch everything down using the same stretch-as-you-go method. I always have a difficult time getting the seams to line up so I did it this way: I lined up one seam (top and bottom piece of dress) and stitched a few centimetres, then I moved onto to the next seam and continued this way so that I only machine stitched the seam pieces first, similar to how I stitched the elastic in place. I did all 4 points before I stitched in between them. Hopefully this makes sense. I just found it held my seams in place better. If someone knows a better method, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

I finished off the inside by snipping off any excess and just running a zig zag stitch along the rough edges. I wanted to finish this dress. Normally, I would finish off with some seam binding to make it all neater but this is a summer dress and I had a “it’ll do” kind of attitude today. PLUS, I had the most miserable time with my sewing machine today! My thread kept breaking, my zipper foot wasn’t working (for a reupholstery project I have in the works), then the tension got all messed up and was skipping stitches. Today was a holiday in Canada and I wanted to make the most of my day off and EVERYTHING went wrong! Anyways, I changed the needle out and my machine was fine. Go figure!

Here’s the end result. I looked for a black belt to match since the print has some black in it. I don’t own many belts so I’ve added belts to my thrifting list. By the way, thrift stores are great places to buy belts at good prices.

Refashioned maxi dress. Belt: Thrifted @ Talize, Wedges: Steve Madden also thrifted @ Talize.

Refashioned maxi dress. Belt: thrifted @ Talize, Wedges: Steve Madden also thrifted @ Talize.

Would look nice with a denim jacket. Too bad I gave mine to my daughter. She turned it into a vest.

Would look nice with a denim jacket. Too bad I gave mine to my daughter. She turned it into a vest.

Cropped cardi: mine (old). I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Dress sans belt. Cropped cardi: mine (old). I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.



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