Thrifted Pinterest - '90's Mom Dress' Re-fashion!

Not gonna lie, guys, I think my sewing machine has become my new best friend (behind my hubby, girls, and actual HUMAN friends of course!).  It's opened up a ton of possibilities for transforming items I would normally never even look at in the store into something I'd be tempted to wear every day!  So I found this dress at Goodwill the other day:

It's bad, right?  I didn't even want to go on my front porch to take pictures in it!  There's always tons of these dresses when I go thrifting, usually in a great print or pattern, just the worst silhouette.  But, it had potential and adorable polka dots, plus the cutest little back detail:

I knew it could be so much better (read: wearable).  So I turned to Pinterest, and typed in 'polka-dotted shirt-dress.'  Here are the two images that helped inspire me:
And, of course, the lovely Taylor Swift is always adorable:

So, I got to work!

I measured the bottom of the dress, and marked on the inside how much I wanted to cut off (1).  I wanted it 13" shorter, so I cut off 12" to allow for a seam allowance (2).  That left me with a long strip of fabric to work with (3).
I cut off the facings that were on either side (4), and then cut it in half width-wise (5), which left me with two rectangular pieces (6).  These were going to be my "sash" to make the bow in the front of dress (a la the first inspo pic.)
Because the bottom of the dress was a little wonky, it took a little work and trimming to get the fabric into a rectangle I could sew.  So I folded one of my pieces in half lengthwise and right sides together (7), and then trimmed off the pieces that hung off the edges to even things up (8).  Then, I sewed three sides of the rectangle, leaving one short end open for turning (9).
Little note: when sewing, I started with the folded side of the rectangle (10). That seemed to help keep things fairly even.  Then, I trimmed the corners (11) and the extra fabric off the edges (12), being sure not to cut through my stitching!
Then, I turned the 'sash' right side out, and repeated steps 7-12 for the other side of the 'sash.'  That left me with two pieces that look like (13).  I pressed the sash to flatten the seams, using a piece of an old sheet to protect the rayon fabric so I wouldn't burn it (14)!  I've learned the hard way to always look up ironing instructions before pressing a fabric!  Then I measured the width of the sash on the raw edge (15).
Next, I put the dress on, and decided where I wanted the sash (16).  That pin is a little hard to see, so there's a tiny ninja to help show you the way.  Then, I took the dress off, and measured from the bottom of the sleeve opening (the armpit) down to the pin/ninja (17).  Be sure to turn the dress inside out and pin on the inside!  Then, I put another pin in the other side seam of the dress 6" down so they'd be even.  Then, on each side, I put another pin 5" down, since that's where the sash was going in (18).
Next, my seam ripper and I tore through those side stitches (19) to leave a 5" opening (20).  Then, I slid one side of the sash into the opening and sewed the seam closed (21).  I couldn't get a good photo of that step, so here's a handy little doodle:

Be sure to stitch 1" above and below your opening, 'catching' the original stitching so that you don't have that thread unravel and leave you with a hole in the side of the dress!  Then, hem and press the bottom, and you're done!

SO much better, right!
Outfit Details:
Dress: thrifted, DIY alterations, $5
Shoes: thrifted, $4
Charm Bracelet: DIY'ed from old earrings and bangle
Various Bracelets: don't recall
Earrings: Maurice's, $3 (clearance)
Clutch: DIY (you can get your own!)

Grand Total: $12

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