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Polka Dot Dress Refashioned From a Maxi Skirt

Polka Dot Dress 3 The Prudent Homemaker 

Last fall, my eldest and I were invited to someone's house to check out the clothing she was giving away. Her mother said she had told her daughter to narrow down her clothing and wondered if we would like her hand-me-downs. This young woman is always impeccably dressed and we went over there a bit giddy with the prospects of finding something "new." We met up with another young woman as well who had been invited over.

As it turned out, what she had decided to get rid of wasn't really what Winter or I were looking for (I keep a list of items we need on my garage sale list). But before we left, she also brought out a bunch more clothes that she had been given by a woman we know. We looked through these as well, and again, came up short.

Polka Dot Dress Before The Prudent Homemaker

There was a skirt, though, that had a couple of elements that I know my daughter had been looking for. It was mustard colored (something we had been discussing after seeing lots of mustard-colored pieces over on this blog) and it was polka dotted, something we both loved. Winter isn't really into maxi skirts; she looked at it several times and thought about shortening it, but still wasn't sure.

I pointed out that the rather large waistband was doubled over, and there was enough material in the skirt to make a dress.

With that thought, Winter snapped up the skirt. 

It's been sitting in the sewing room, waiting for the right moment.

Polka Dot Dress 1 The Prudent Homemaker

Winter used the existing skirt part from below the waistband down to make the skirt part of the dress, and cut off the bottom and the waistband to make the sleeves and the top of the dress. There was just enough fabric to make everything.

She copied a sweater dress she has to make the bodice

She didn't want any darts in the dress, and as it is a knit fabric, it could go on over her head without needing a zipper.

Polka Dot Dress Back The Prudent Homemaker

Oxford Shoes  Book  (affiliate links)

 Polka Dot Dress 2 The Prudent Homemaker

 Now she has a fun everyday dress to wear, and all it cost was her time!

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  • Debby in KS August 02, 2017

    Really pretty! It turned out beautiful! I also love the link to the hair styles. I wear my hair up everyday in summer and I saw some new ideas!

  • Hilogene in Az August 02, 2017

    What excellent sewing and design! Beautiful photos too. Thank you for posting, I am really glad to see Winter's exceptional skill and hard work payoff in such a lovely dress.

  • Krissy in Sacramento August 02, 2017

    The dress is darling and Winter looks darling in it! And those shoes!! I love Winter's classic style. Can't wait to show my husband when he gets home...we've been watching a lot of period pieces on TV (currently the newest Father Brown from the BBC on Netflix) and he's finally starting to notice women's fashions! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Carla Epperson August 02, 2017

    Beautiful job, Winter! I started sewing when I was in elementary school and it has been a wonderful skill to have over the years. Keep sewing!!

  • Jenna August 02, 2017

    I love that you keep track of items that you are looking for or are missing from your wardrobe.
    Many would have been tempted to accept things they didn't need or want just by the prospective of them being given without a cost. Only to end up with clutter or unsuitable options.
    Well done, Winter on the beautiful adaptation of your new dress!

  • Sometimes people get upset when they want to give you their free stuff instead of donating it to the thrift store. If it's something I can use, then I will say yes. I have to have a place for it, though! Otherwise, it is just going to clutter up my house.

    Not long after I had sold and donated a large number of items we no longer needed and was feeling happy to have my home in order, I was offered a bunch of stuff from someone "before she took it to donate." Among her items was a large number of Barbie dolls. My girls do not play with Barbies; I ended up selling all of mine at garage sales because they weren't interested. The woman was shocked I didn't want them and rather incredulous that I was saying no to everything! But you have to say no if you don't have a place for it, or donate it, because otherwise it will just sit around in bags and boxes with no place to go!

    I have to watch if I find something for my kitchen at a garage sale that I like. Before I buy it, I have to decide what item I am going to get rid of to make room for the new item in my kitchen. There just isn't room for everything.

  • Andrea Q August 02, 2017

    I love how fearless Winter seems to be with upcycling! A lot of people can sew, but few have the vision to refashion successfully...she's very talented!

  • Annie-Blake August 02, 2017

    Gorgeous. Love the dress, shoes, pearls, hair, subtle make-up and the props and background. What a fun project for your daughter with a fantastic vintage result.

  • Susan August 03, 2017

    She is adorable! What a great job on the dress! Lovely! :)

  • Gardenpat August 03, 2017

    I was thrilled when my 7 daughters all took up sewing in their preteen years and amazed at how creative and brave they were about "reworking" a piece of clothing! They would start cutting an existing dress,shirt or even jeans and add different details and even other fabrics to make whole new pieces! Their response when I worried about them totally cutting up a piece to start the process was that, if they actually bought that piece, they had spent no more than $2-$3 so if they failed, it wouldn't be a huge loss!! They would wear them to school and at first, as they were just learning, I worried that other kids might notice any flaws as their skills were developing! But, not to worry! No one did and as their skills progressed, by high school, they had several "clients" (other students from their school) who would actually pay them to repurpose ad create a piece for them! It actually became a nice little source of income for them because so many kids wanted more "one of a kind" pieces rather than off the rack identical pieces!

  • Cindy Brick August 03, 2017

    Winter, you need to think seriously about going into design...or staging...or patternwork. Beautiful dress.

    Don't forget -- vintage and antique items, including sheets, pillowcases, dishtowels, clothing and such, can also be used to rebind and restore old quilts and other textiles. They 'match' in a way reproduction fabrics can never accomplish. (Muslin is one of the most difficult colors to match, by the way.) I sometimes buy up old cotton pillowcases -- they're 50 cents to $1 at our local thrift shop here in Colorado -- then store my old quilts in them. When I need to rebind a quilt for a client, I then go "shopping" in the pillowcases. Works nearly every time.

    Your beautiful blog and calm manner is so restful and inspiring... thank you.

  • Marcia R. August 03, 2017

    I have always loved spectator pumps, and yours do match the dress so well! Neither of my two girls had the same size feet as I do, and my granddaughter is also three sizes bigger in shoes than I am. I do look for her size when I'm thrifting or taking advantage of sales! She got the stilettos out of her system early---at 15 or 16 and now at 25 is more conservative about heels, at least. They have to be comfortable enough to wear at work.

    The dress is adorable yet classic and I'm sure she will love wearing it. I recently wanted to re-cover the lumbar pillows I use in the car to preserve my back, and ended up using an old peasant skirt from my daughter's high school years for the fabric to do so. They are not as well fitted as the originals, but all it cost to recover them was my time. There is still plenty of fabric left for another go-around too. I have been gifted fabric and notions from relatives who passed, and have kept most of it just because I have the space in the attic. But it's time to get to using them. Granddaughter is always eager for new clothes, and she has expensive taste--luckily she knows thrift stores! She is quite original and will start a new fad without a care. She wore my Mom's 1940's-50's mink stole a time or two. Then my niece borrowed the idea and the stole for her March wedding two years ago in Buffalo NY. All her bridesmaids managed to turn up with similar stoles, so they are out there somewhere. They looked very cute in them, too.

  • Ellie's friend from Canada August 03, 2017

    The dress is beautiful but not as beautiful as Winter. The "mustard" or burnt orange colour does one thing exceptionally well. Because it is a complementary colour to blue, it draws out the blue in Winter's eyes. When I look at Winter in her creation, this dress, I feel a great sense of serenity. A true inner peace.

    Congratulations to Winter for this beautiful dress1

  • Jo August 04, 2017

    I could not wear that color at all, but it looks great on Winter, really great. I'll join the chorus of what a great job she did with that dress. I love it. Now I need to go examine some things I have to see if I can re-use that fabric somehow.....

  • kim August 04, 2017

    Love the shoes they make the outfit and what a clever idea! Love to reuse things.

  • Ruth Ramon August 04, 2017

    It is just wonderful !!!
    Greetings from Belgium :)

  • Belinda Richardson August 04, 2017

    Beautiful! Winter did an amazing job on the dress. :)

  • Lilllanna Pickles August 04, 2017

    The dress is beautiful and the creation phenominal. But those shoes , I really want to borrow. I have nothing to wear them with and I doubt they fit , but I just have this incredible urge for them. I believe that 30 years ago ,I had a pair of cream colored ones. She is classic, elegant and pulled together. Just beautiful !!!!!

  • Amie August 04, 2017

    I'm loving the simple lines of the dress. Did she have any fabric leftover? I was thinking maybe for a ribbon on a cloche hat. I bought 2 dresses at a thrift store for like $2 each. They are too big for me. I loved the fabric and am planning on taking in the one. The other is a maxi halter. I was thinking about shortening and making a short sleeved jacket to go w it. It flares out. I'm pretty sure it's more than enough fabric to do a simple dress like this. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  • Kim August 05, 2017

    The fact that Winter has chosen to learn to sew is going to be very, very helpful all through her life. Not only providing clothing for less money, but sewing opens up a whole world of creativity. Creativity flows over into every area of life. Lovely young lady, lovely dress, obvious excellent sewing skills---a win, win, win.

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