Alterations: From-Dress-to-Full-Skirted-Fabulousness

As I mentioned in a recent post, my Grandma Nina has been cleaning out closets at the house on the family farm.  A couple of years ago I was given the greenlight to go through a closet that I'd long had my eye on as it was full of vintage dresses, most handmade.  Golly that was a fun pile of dresses to sort through!!!

Unfortunately...almost none of them fit me.  My shoulder proved too broad, my bust too full to get the zippers pulled to the top on the majority of them.  Alas.

The bridesmaids' dresses from my parent's wedding were in there--in all their floral peach glory. Initially I didn't take them because the color scheme is really not my thing AND neither of them fit me.  Buuuuuuut, ultimately my sentimental heart got the best of me and I eventually went back for them on a recent trip up north.  They're still at my mom's because I didn't have room in my suitcase to bring them home.  I'm not sure what I will do with them anyways so I am mulling on it in the meantime.

I resisted clogging up my sewing space with dresses that needed altering or repurposing.  It was hard, but I did my best.  That's actually why I didn't snag those bridesmaids' dresses the first time.  I did take one dress that didn't fit me with the specific purpose of altering it into a skirt though.  It was simply too cool to resist.

It had such an amazingly full skirt, gathered into a teeny-tiny fitted waist.  While I could never fit into the bodice part, I loved that skirt and knew there was room enough to make it work pretty easily.  I think the geometric Ship's Wheel print is really rad.  So, I took that dress home and put it in my To-Do pile in the sewing room.  I finally got to altering it over my winter break from the college in December.  I wore it for the first time on Christmas Eve.  I've worn it at least once a week since then, I bet.

Christmas 2021.

I lopped the dress off at the bodice and turned under a casing for some elastic at the (new) waist instead.  I fed one-inch elastic through that casing with a safety pin and then stitched the casing closed.  The elastic automatically gathered the humungous skirt again, albeit with a more casual (i.e. comfortable) and less fitted look.

It's a roomy skirt.  :)  I could fit another person in there with me.

As expected from the moment I laid eyes on the dress:  That is a skirt made for twirling.  So big!  So full!  So fun!  

I wonder which of my aunts it belonged to....  I shall have to ask them!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Laurie! Now I've got to figure out something--a headband or bandana maybe?--that I make with the bodice part.


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