The Jazz Emporium

Let's get our Vintage on!

Guest Post by Jessica James: DIY Dress Alterations


Sewing machines can be very helpful, but are not entirely essential for the creative and crafty lass. As annoying as it is, it’s quite possible to alter clothing without the aid of a Singer. Today being such a lovely day, I felt inspired to add another functional summery dress to my ever-growing wardrobe. After receiving a wee bit of the rare Scottish variety of vitamin D, I was ready to tackle a charity shop discovery. The dress below is from my favorite charity shop in Edinburgh and was singled out for its potential awesomeness. The fabric is a nice weight and pattern. Additionally, the puffy sleeves speak for themselves. They may look a bit dowdy on the rack, but when worn, they are quite ‘Anne of Green Gables’ inspired. All in all, with a few alterations, this dress will suit me just fine.

The primary concern of the day is the lace collar. With the puffy sleeves it proves to be an overkill of fussiness. And don’t get me wrong, I do love a bit of fussiness…but this is just too much.

The collar is easily removed and the seam re-stitched to form a new and cleaner neckline. With this hurdle tackled, the focal point is now on the incredibly puffy sleeves. The skirt length is debatable. A much shorter length was contemplated to aid in highlighting the frock’s playfulness. But after consultation with my fashion guru flatmate, the original length was decided to be suitable. No change necessary.

The buttons, as you can see were just plain old boring white. I do have a great fondness for a bit of button craziness. Therefore, I couldn’t refuse changing them up. This is such an easy way to jazz an old garment up, and I’ve utilized this much in the past (hint, hint). For this project, I went for oversized gold buttons with engraved anchors. Classy as. And for the final look I added a gold belt to cinch the waist and  tie in with the gold buttons. After a fantastically fun mini fashion-shoot with my flatmate: Shazam abracadabra presto change-o!! Check out the finished product!

This dress now projects a bit of a gypsy/country girl feel. I may have to figure out how to rock this look with my signature red cowgirl boots. Stay tuned for more DIY action, as I’ve just gotten a gigantic 1970’s polyester dress that I fancy transforming into a circle skirt. And yes, I got that from the very same charity shop. Thrift addict? Yes, of course.

Now dinnae forget about that leftover bit of laciness from the collar. The lace collar is to be recycled into a freestanding collar and completed by a sweater clip obtained from The Jazz Emporium (you’re very welcome – Editors). Who doesn’t love recycling?! Sweet stuff.

(Sorry for the delay in getting Jess’ post online. We’ve been far too busy enjoying the rare Scottish sun. Like you wouldn’t do the same – Editors: Jazzine and the other nickname-less one). 

What have you guys been fixing up?


2 thoughts on “Guest Post by Jessica James: DIY Dress Alterations

  1. being as how my entire sewing experience has been limited to home ec class in 7th grade and emergency repairs only- this seems like quite a feat,lovely lassie!

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