I wasn't really finding anything online & didn't want to go hunting store to store - plus I knew I wanted something with a vintage feel. So I went off to my favorite thrift store to go look around. On the first try I found this little 80's number. It was marked at $6.99, but because it was damaged, I asked for a discount - they sold it to me for $2!
This dress has a great vintage floral print and good structure. But it has a terrible fit and a hole in the back that looks like some kind of varmint had its way with the dress. Oh yeah... and a signature 80's bow on the back!
Step 1: Get that gawd awful bow off the back. Once it was off, it's actually a nice rectangle of fabric - good for those side seam triangle inserts I'm thinking about.
Step 2: Work around that giant hole in the back. I realized that I could go about 18" up from the hem line & clear the fabric damage, so I made that my first cutting line.
Step 3: Cut off the bottom of the dress at my 18" marked line.
Step 4: Discover the bonus points that the previous owner had taken up the shoulder seams! So I let those out & behold - armholes that fit me now! Yay. So that meant I didn't have to open up those french seamed side seams to insert extra fabric.
Once I had the dress all trimmed out - it was time to add some embellishment. I bought 2 yards of 2" black lace - not a lacey lace - more of a cotton country style lace. It was $5.99 a yard at JoAnn's & I used my 40% off coupon - so it came out to about 9 bucks with tax. I also bought a roll of skinny black crochet lace from Hobby Lobby - again using my 40% off coupon - so that was $1.50 for a 3 yard roll.
The first thing I did was serge the bottom hem to keep the fabric from coming apart (if you don't have a serger, you could just zigzag stitch it). Then I sewed the 2" lace on to the bottom with about 3/8" overlap from the serged edge. I could have left the dress like that - as a mini dress. But I'm over 40 and mini dresses are just too young for me, and have never really worked on me anyways, so I needed to add some of the dress back on.
At first I cut a 10.5" wide piece from the original dress hem (the part that was cut off when we measured 18" up). At 10.5" up from the hem, I missed the varmint hole from the bottom side. I took that & pinned it onto my black lace and went to go take a look... mmm seemed a bit long to me. So I folded it up & repinned it to about knee length - I liked that much better. That ended up being about a 6" width.
As a finishing touch, I decided that I needed a little lace at the top to balance it out. So I took my Hobby Lobby 3/8" black lace & stitched two rows of it down each side of the button placket, and around the neckline.
The dress is still a bit tight in the bust, but I decided that I like the look of wearing a cami underneath - so no alterations there.
I really like my country dress! All in all, it took about 3 hours of pressing, cutting & sewing time and a whoppin $12.50! What a bargin! Plus it brings new life into an old dress and maintains a better carbon footprint than buying a new dress.