Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Hacked-up 90's Denim Dress.

Vintage pieces don't always fit. They are rarely in perfect condition and were probably made specifically for someone else (alterations were much more common in days past). But you may be drawn to a piece non the less. 
That is why I am so grateful that I sew. I don't know how I would do vintage if I couldn't. 
This dress is a great example!

So this dress was at least 1 size too big for me, was way too short and had zero waist definition.
I remember having a similar dress as a kid. These printed, lightweight, denim shirt dresses were so 90s, along with dungarees at my school.
I don't have any shirt dresses and I love this fabric so time for a little hacking!

After a couple of minor adjustments, this dress really transformed into something I love to wear!

The biggest issue for me with this dress was the length. It was mini and I don't do mini!
So I added a border panel of white cotton in a similar weight to the dress fabric.
I know I could have added the white directly to the bottom edge of the dress but I was afraid that it could look like the addition that it was and I wanted it to blend in nicely.

To tie in the white panel I thought I better add in a bit more of it else where.
So I changed the original collar to a white one and left a binding on the edge using the original fabric.

After taking in the bodice, the alterations were complete.

Outfit Details
Dress- Vintage from Frocks in Swing time
Cardigan- Vintage from Frocks in Swing time
Brooch- MacArthur style brooch from The Pink Bungaloo
Earrings- Vintage from Bones and Crossbones
Sunglasses- Vacation in Poland
Belt- H&M
Shoes- Clarks

I styled the dress for a casual look with a vintage cardigan and brogues.
I wore this outfit for afternoon tea with Nora from NoraFinds who is absolutely lovely. She did a post on our meet up at The Secret Soho tea room that you can read here.

I'm just thinking now on reflection that the buttons could be changed to white ones as the original green ones blend in to the fabric but I haven't decided about that yet.

I love how this dress turned out now that the alterations are done!
A little bit of effort took this dress from unbearable to fabulous!




  1. You worked quite a transformation! I think you did a beautiful job turning your thrift store find into into a beautiful, 40s style dress. I know it's a subtle change, but I think the white at the collar really does a lot for making it feel vintage. Very cute accessories as well, that brooch is to die for.

  2. Another incredible job! I wish my skills were better, not one of my original vintage dresses fits perfectly or doesn't need some repairs! It's a learning curve. I keep practicing on a few charity shop buys, it doesn't always have a happy ending!! X

  3. Oh my gosh this is amazing!
    I love the way you lengthened it, I never would of thought to do that. Definitely going to use that in the future!


  4. This is a great transformation. You have turned a very bland dress into something stunning. Looks great paired with that cardi.

  5. Brilliant! There is no way I would have known that this was a 90s dress - the fabric has a very 40s look and with the addition of the white panels on the collar and hem you have a lovely 40s day dress. Absolutely fantastic transformation!

  6. What a fantastic transformation. The "before" and "after" here is like night and day. You knocked it out of the ballpark, sweet dear. I especially like the collar and where you pinned your (stunning!) brooch to it.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  7. Adding a white border is inspired! This is really impressive. I can't quite believe how different the dress was before - you're a genius!!

  8. So clever, especially adding the white pannel.. This dress is gorgeous and I love it with the cardigan & brooch. Your hair looks so lovely too x

  9. What a fabulous result to your remake! I keep telling myself to practise reworking on thrifted garments, but I never seem to have the patience to pull one apart and get started. I find working with a fresh piece of fabric far more inspiring somehow!

    I do love what you have done with the dress here though, and as I have a very sad vintage swirl that was shortened at some point to above the knee {why??} I should try adding a panel of fabric like you have here. It's a really great way to add length and make it look like a design feature, not just tacked on like you said! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  10. Wow you've done an amazing job! Well done for giving the shirt dress some definition and making it the perfect fit, definitely where true talent lies! I love how you've put your outfit together, perfect for an afternoon tea! XxxX