The dress reminds me so much of something Rachel from Friends would have worn at the Central Perk. When I saw it at the thrift store I knew it must come with me! The only problem was that it was awkwardly on a mannequin. Apparently the thrift store workers also identified this one as a real treasure. Brian was with me when I decided that I must have it. He discouraged me from undressing the mannequin at a thrift store… because apparently “it’s super weird.”
So naturally, I wrestled with the poor mannequin. Her wig was not attached to her head which was unexpected. Her arms were also not attached which was also unexpected… So not only did I disrobe this poor mannequin’s I also broke her arms off and she lost her hair. It wasn’t my finest moment, or the mannequin’s for that matter but it was totally worth it!
First, I chopped off the collar and hemmed the seam that I cut. Then I removed some length from the bottom of the dress and gave that a new hem. This dress was pretty tight on me especially in the bust of the dress. I moved the buttons out about a quarter of an inch to get a little more room. I also let the side seams out about a quarter of an inch. There wasn’t any room to let it out any more but that’s okay because it gave me just enough space for a decent fit!
When I found this dress it reminded me of a story that my dad likes to tell. Growing up, he had 5 brothers that all went to “country school” which was located in a small schoolhouse about a half a mile down the road. My guess is that half of the students were from the Carr family. Anyway, they had this mean teacher, Ms. Mabel Hotz. Good ole Mabel gave the Carr boys some trouble every now and again. (Now, I sort of imagine the Carr boys may have brought some of this trouble on themselves.) But one particular incident ended up with Ms. Mabel Hotz chasing one of the older boys around and around the schoolhouse with a broom as he rode his bike heckling her. My dad can’t tell this story without cracking up. I imagine that poor teacher to have been wearing a dress that looked about like this.
So this refashion is dedicated to you Ms. Holtz, you mean old bat!
That neckline that just doesn’t quit, those spectacular buttons all of the way up the back, and those sleeves… just long enough to be hideous, the whole thing was sort of a mess. I first thought that I would keep this dress maxi length but it was just too short for that. I chopped off over a foot of length and gave it a new hem. I decided that I would rather have the buttons in the front of the dress so I flipped it around. I gave it a new v-neck line that I felt gave it some desperately needed pa-zazz. I ripped the sleeves off then I took a little extra off in the shoulders. Finally, I gave the arms a new hem. I thought I was finished until I tried it on. It was still really frumpy. I took the shoulders up an inch or so and gave it a couple of bust darts and we were in good shape! Here’s to you Mabel!
This Denim Romper has got to be the most interesting thing I have ever found and tried to remake. I’ve found some pretty rough pieces to redo but I really think this one might be the winner or the loser depending on how you want to look at it.
I made Brian come with me on this particular shopping trip. He advised me not to buy it, for obvious reasons. It was only 69 cents so I just had to try. I wasn’t at all sure what would come of it but the pattern of the denim was actually pretty charming.
Something else about this romper that you should know, it was well loved. I mean, really well loved. The previous owner clearly treasured it. They had safety pinned each and every one of the buttons onto the romper. Now, the buttons were all still securely sewn on but this person was taking extra precaution! They were not about to lose a single treasured button.
When I saw this I had to smile. I love to think about the previous owners of these clothes. Where they bought the item? Was it really in style then? Where did they wear it? Did they feel like a million bucks while wearing it? Clearly my denim romper wearing friend must have really liked this piece. And I feel I owe it to them to make it work again.
By the way, I wore around this the house for quite a while to gross out my husband. It worked.
I decided that I wanted to make a denim vest out of the romper and maybe a pair of shorts if there was a enough fabric left… I’m guessing that won’t be a problem. I separated the bottom of the romper from the top. I ripped the sleeves with my seam ripper. Then I had the basic form of the vest. I took in the sides a couple of inches. The vest was a little too short and needed something to finish off the bottom. I went back to the shorts portion and trimmed the bottom of them off then attached it to the bottom of the vest. Confused? Don’t worry, it doesn’t really matter. 😉 Basically, I added a little length to the vest. Then I roughed up the edges a little with a cheese grater. I’m not kidding, worked like a charm!
It desperately needed a collar so I made one out of the extra fabric from the sleeves. The denim was way thick for my machine so I had to hand sew the collar on.
It’s not nearly as scary in vest form. Be on the look out for the shorts. I need a little break from the denim but I will tackle those soon!
Oh this dress… There is just so much of it. There’s a fun story about this dress, I see it EVERYWHERE, all of the time! Since doing this project I have come across this dress in at least four different thrift stores! Once I found them in a matching pair! I have a theory that involves some pretty fashionable 80’s twins…. Seriously everyone, please just take a second to think about my theoretical 80’s twins wearing these dresses. Thank you.
Anyway, I fell in love with this nautical nightmare mostly because of the buttons. There’s not a lot that gets me more excited than some charming buttons! (Yes, I know how cool that makes me sound.) Also, this dress has pockets. Cute buttons and pockets, I see why there are so many of them around!
First, I hacked off A LOT of fabric from the bottom and gave this little charmer a quick new hem. After that, those sleeves (probably my theoretical twins favorite part) met my seam ripper. Once the length and the sleeves were gone, things for this dress were looking up. It was still pretty big so I took the sides in quite a bit and finished off the sleeves with some white bias tape that I had laying around. I wish those 80’s twins could see it now!
When I was in kindergarten, we would sing a song called Baby Beluga. It was about a baby whale that liked to swim. It was a pretty cute song. I hadn’t thought about it in probably 20 years. Then I put this dress on- – Suddenly, I remembered most of the words… and all I could think while looking in the mirror was that this dress reminds me of my dear friend Baby Beluga. A dress that makes you feel like a whale, even if it’s a cute whale, probably needs to be cut up a little bit. If you’re curious, which I know you are;) here is a link to my beloved childhood SONG about ocean life.
I truly don’t know how I talked myself into bringing this one home with me other than those polka dots. I’m such a sucker for a good polka dot! This dress was just a huge disaster. I thought about keeping it a dress. In order for that to work, I would have needed to disassemble every piece and trim it down dramatically then piece it back together. I decided to just use the bottom portion to make a skirt instead. Don’t worry, I saved the top and I’m sure you will see that another day!
All I did to make this skirt was chop the bottom portion off just a little longer than I wanted the to length to be. Then I measured my waist and trimmed off the extra from the sides. I gave the side a quick seam half way up the side then added a zipper. I used some of the extra fabric and made a waistband for the top of the skirt. When I attached the waist band, I was careful to keep the pleats in the right places. I debated big time between gold buttons or white buttons but finally settled on these fabric-covered white buttons that I saved from a shirt that I refashioned awhile ago.
Goodbye Baby Beluga!