The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Makeovers for Two 70's Dresses

I added alterations to my list of services for clients about a year ago.  I wasn't sure I would enjoy doing alterations, but I found I really do!  Alteration projects tend to be fairly quick (1-3 hours) so they balance out my longer bespoke work.  And I love how happy I can make someone by making something fit them well.

One of my clients loves 70's vintage garments.  It can be hard to find vintage items that 1) you love, 2) are in good condition, and 3) fit you well.  If you find something that meets two out of three of those conditions you are in good shape.  Carrie brought me two dresses that she had purchased from an online vintage seller. One of the dresses met two of those conditions (she loved the fabric/style and it was in good condition) and the other met only one (she loved the fabric/style).

Dress #1

This first dress was in great condition.  I love the funky print and the zipper closure and the pointy collar.

But the dress was at least two sizes too big and generally shapeless - I know 70's dress often are a bit shapeless, but this did not flatter Carrie at all.

Dress #2

Dress #2 great color/print mixing and a nice style, but it was too long, about a size too big, and something had munched on the fabric in a few places.

For Dress #1, I pinned front and back darts and took in the side seams until the fit was good for Carrie.

I marked my pins on the inside with tailor's chalk then pinned to compare/adjust to get the darts and side seams even (same length, same width, symmetrical placement).

And the sack-with-potential became a nicely fitting dress while maintained the general styling from that era:

I had to make sure that the print matched across the new darts/seamlines
otherwise the dress would look like it had had a few drinks!

Dress #2 took more work to get it into shape.  I started by shortening the dress by about four inches.  This gave me some excess fabric, and I used what I cut off the hem to patch the holes in the dress.  Then I pinned the princess seams until the fit was better for Carrie.  Taking these in was a bit more complicated because I had to open up parts of the waist and sleeve seams to adjust the princess seam properly.  

Dress length now hits just at the knee instead of mid-calf.

It was fun to work with older garments and see how they were put together.  And I'm glad that they will get to live outside of a closet again!
4 comments on "Makeovers for Two 70's Dresses"
  1. Wow! Go-go vintage refabbing :)

  2. They look fantastic! I so admire your patience and willingness to do this, because I don't have it. Good thing that different people like to do different things!