DIY Fashion: Little Black Dress Makeover Edition

I have a habit of collecting awful dresses with the intent of revamping them into actual wearable clothing. I'm not sure what it is but I always see things for what they could be instead of what they actually are. What can I say? I like a challenge.

I think that's what happened here. I found a crazy black dress for $7 at a thrift store and had to have it. I think I fell in love with the pleats. Although it resembled more of a graduation gown than anything, I apparently saw great potential and snatched it up.

Though the before and after is pretty exciting (and possibly made more drastic due to my haircut in between!), it was a pretty simple process. Bonus points because I actually remembered to photograph the dress refashion— check out each step below. 

1. Remove sleeves

This part was really easy. It's also pretty fun to see how much more modern the dress looks simply by cutting off the terrible bat sleeves. I mean, still not fit for a runway— but it's a definite improvement. 

2. Hem the dress to a modern length

I think hemming a dress or a skirt is the easiest way to update it. I still don't have a ton of experience on a sewing machine, but hemming is super easy— basically just a straight line. I just cut a few inches off, folded it over, pressed it with an iron, pinned it in place, and then stitch, stitch, stitch.

3. Add crochet details + buttons 

I probably would've stopped at this point if I didn't have the crocheted sweater pictured below. My mom is an avid thrifter (where did you think I got the habit?) and picks up neat things for me sometimes. I'm pretty fond of lacy clothes but the sweater didn't fit very well so it was in my fabric reuse stash. 

I somehow had the grand idea to use the sweater as trim for the dress. Though it was a huge pain to hand stitch the details on (it wasn't difficult, just time consuming!), I dare say it turned out better than I imagined! I used the corner pieces for the collar and then just pieced the rest together along the hemline. 

4. Enjoy $7 dress 

And that's it! Now if you can ignore the "50 shades of Jenna's hair" look (I swear it's fixed now, please don't judge me!) then I think it's pretty obvious that this is now my go-to little black dress.

Note: you can tell it's very sheer in the before photos, but with the *appropriate* slip it's perfectly fine. 

My favorite part of this dress might just be the fit. I generally go for "fit and flare" style dresses that are tighter on top, however, I really love how casual this dress feels even though it looks a bit dressy. 

So that's the story of my $7 dress transformation! I think my next sewing project might be a skirt with a zipper— though I am extremely intimidated by the thought of that. Or maybe a simple shirt. . . Uh dear, I think I have the sewing bug. . .  Have you sewn or refashioned anything lately? There is something so satisfying to me about turning nothing into something special.