Altered yellow thrift store dress

Today I finally got around to altering one of my Goodwill dresses from a couple of weeks ago. Here is what it looked like when I bought it:

just a wee bit frumpy

It’s made of a medium-weight yellow-brown polyester. It is a bit big; there is a zipper in the back but I could easily get it on and off without unzipping, and the armholes are too large. While it does have its charms, and I do like long dresses, the length combined with the drab color and super-’70s pattern is a bit much. To make it wearable, I chopped 18 inches off the length, just above a slit on one of the sides. I also didn’t like the high neckline so I lowered and widened it a bit and finished it with yellow-orange quilt binding that I had left over from another project. The binding bunches just a little bit, so I might eventually replace it with binding made from the extra dress material, but honestly I’ll probably never get around to it. I took in a little less than an inch on either side of the bodice to give it some better waist definition and to make the armholes a bit smaller. Finally, I gave it a new, 1 1/2-inch hem. The hem was going beautifully until I noticed that my new magnetic seam guide, which couldn’t get a very good grip because it was almost off the edge of the metal plate, was creeping inward due to the vibration of the machine. The hem ended up a little uneven, and I have learned not to use the seam guide for that wide of a hem. Again, something I’ll probably never bother to fix. So here is the finished product:

The color is a bit off in this photo–there isn’t quite that much color contrast between the neck binding and the dress. I can still put it on without unzipping it, but I didn’t want it to be too tight because clingy polyester is uncomfortable in the heat. The armholes are still a bit funky, but I don’t know if I can do anything about that, so I’m leaving them. I can’t wait to wear it–I think it will look good on its own in the summer and with red tights for fall. I wish I had another wedding to go to this summer because my mom gave me some gloves that are exactly the same yellow as the quilt binding I used on the neckline.

Here is a detail of the pattern.

Total cost: $2.69 for the dress and about an hour of time.


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