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Upcycled Retro Dress

Upcycled Retro Dress


This dress spoke to me from the second I walked past it at my local thrift store. I loved the colors, the neckline, the length, and even the way the flowers were going sideways. There were a number of issues with this dress though, including the price tag of 8$.

I was able to get the price reduced to 3$ by showing the counter the obvious issues with the dress, now it was up to me to fix the rest.


One of the issues was the bottom half of the zipper was completely detached from the dress, but because the zipper itself was still functioning, it was an easy fix. I simply pinned the fabric back onto the zipper and sewed a straight line ensuring to back stitch at the beginning and end.

Had the zipper been jammed or broken, I would have needed to remove the entire thing and replace it with a new one. This would have been a bit more work and add about 2-4$ to the project. However, I personally would have left this dress behind if the zipper wasn't functioning because the age of this dress made the fabric more susceptible to rips and tares; replacing the entire zipper may have ruined it. This is just something you might want to consider when you are out thrifting.


Another issue was that both armpit areas had the seams busted open. But because there was a fit issue to begin with, I was able to correct this issue when I took the garment in at the sides. The dress was originally twice my size, and even though this dress was originally a shrift dress, I wanted to add a slight waist to it.

In the end, I probably took in two inches on each side and about three inches at the waist line. I think it would shock people to learn how easy it is to take in a dress. If you know how to pin fabric and can sew a straight line, then doing minor alterations is a piece of cake to learn.


I'm not sure if you could call this a true upcycle because the beauty of this dress was always there, it just needed a little tender love and care to return it back to it's retro glory.  It just goes to show that with about an hour of your time you can give new life to a dress that was once loved by someone years ago.


I styled this dress with a pair of orange block heels that I got a few years ago from a ModCloth sale. Which by the way, can we all write strongly worded letters to ModCloth to request that they bring back the amazing clearance sales they used to have on shoes? I got these shoes for 12$ and they were made by a brand that promotes ethical work standards.


Now go out and find your new favorite dress!

Upcycled Fringe Earrings

Upcycled Fringe Earrings

Crafter's Must Have Light

Crafter's Must Have Light