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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Dress alteration, before and after, how to.

Dress alteration- before

7+ years ago when the Pirate was born I bought this cheap knit dress at Walmart to wear home from the hospital. I thought it would be comfortable and soft and still look decent for the inevitable coming home picture.  And then the Pirate spent a week in the NICU and I was nursing, so I never wore it. I think I may have worn it once or twice while pregnant with the Princess.  I recently got a similar style dress at the thrift store and have worn it twice in a week, so thought maybe this one should have a new life.

Dress Alteration- before

I'm going to show you how I did it, but please know there are other- better- tutorials out there. I'm not experienced with knits and my armhole  shaping is hit or miss. I also didn't take in the shoulders, and you'd want to do so to be more professional. I don't care, because for me it's completely wearable. Also, I had lots of help and not infinite time, so you don't get well edited before and after pictures. This post is a pretty good indication of how everything gets done at my house.

Dress alteration- resized to a dress that fits.

The first thing I did was turn it inside out and put the one that fits well on top of it. I traced along the side seams and marked where the armhole of the new dress fell.

Dress alteration- marked new seam, pinned.

I removed the new dress, and carefully pinned all the way down, making sure it was nice and flat. I had lots of help.

Dress alteration- pinning help

Then I transferred to my serger and carefully sewed all the way down my line, removing the pins as I went. (Sorry, didn't take a picture of that. Imagine sewing on a line. Pretty easy to imagine, no?) If you don't have a serger you could do this on your regular machine, with a zigzag stitch.

I turned the dress right side out again, and Ta-Da! New wearable dress!


And it only took me 7 years and 30 minutes to do!


  1. It looks great! I've read the key to a great wardrobe is having your clothes altered.

  2. I need you to help me with the shorts I bought for the girl. I bought many, because they were on sale and she took all the tags off but when she wore the first pair, they fell off. I've been pinning them. LOL. I am thinking I just need to cinch in the waist an inch or so. Or maybe run a drawstring through them...or wait until they fit next year.

  3. Just don't wait 7 years to do it, Ti! Looks great, Lisa.

  4. Great job Lisa, you obviously have more talent and patience than me. It would have went into the "donate bag" here. Great job once again.

  5. Wow, awesome job! Glad to know you had so much great "help" with your alterations. :) That dress looks super-comfortable!

  6. Wow. This turned out really well. Thanks to your little helpers, no doubt.

  7. I LOVE these pictures--especially as they show how real life really is. Adore the one of Princess "helping" you with the pins.

    One day I will learn to sew clothes. Putting on my bucket list right now...


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