Make It Work with How to Sew a Straight Line

Hi everyone!  If you’re here visiting from Sew a Straight Line, welcome!  We’re glad you could make it!
When Sabra asked me if I’d like to come up with a refashion for her Make it Work event, my first thought was yay! how flattering to be invited!  and secondly, hm…I think I could find one or two or sixteen things in my wardrobe that I don’t wear for one reason or another.  We’ve all got those, right?
Well, in a terrible turn of events, I worked on something for 2 weeks before finally deciding to throw in the towel.  I was a big fat failure at Making It Work.  Tim Gunn would’ve fired me.  Thankfully Sabra didn’t.  (Though, I still think I could make it work if I had a 30 inch long yellow metal zipper.  Anyone have one handy?)
So at the (literal) last moment, I ran back to my closet, grabbed another contender, and was done in an hour, including photography.  Sometimes (ie: always) it’s just best to keep it simple.  
Here’s what I came up with (yeah, I have stickers on my wall.  Jealous?):
Before:  A huge muu-muu type dress with a neckline that reached my belly button. 
After: A fitted, feminine, flattering dress that will soon be my summer uniform.
The process was crazy easy and left me wondering why I didn’t do this when I got the dress 2 years ago.  If you have a similarly tent-shaped dress, here are my 4 easy steps for success:
1. Take up the straps at the shoulder seams.
2. Take in the side seams under the arm.
3.  Add 4 rows of shirring at the empire waist.
4.  Take 5 inches off the hem.
Done!  No more risk of crazy “Girl Swallowed by Dress” headlines.
I couldn’t be happier with the results and my brand new free dress!  (it counts as free when you only spent $6 on it 2 years ago, right?)
(note: The following pictures were taken by a 4 yr old.  Someone needs a camera remote.  And I hiked up the top in the first photo to protect the innocence of your eyes.)
(er, yeah, that’s disappearing fabric marker you see around the waist to mark my shirring lines.  Remember how I said this was done and photographed within an hour?)
So what do you have taking up space in your closet?  I bet it could be something fabulous.  Don’t forget to enter any of your clothing-transformation sewing projects in the Make it Work contest.  You could score yourself some fun prizes and have a great new outfit too!  (note: this contest is also open for things you’ve made by altering an existing pattern!)


  1. says

    Such a cute design! Love that your four year old took the photos! I’ve decided shorts are way overrated and dresses are much cooler and flattering. Hurray for free new dresses!

  2. says

    Oh I am certain I have something X2 like that in my clothes cupboard. I absolutely love how you saved it, also love the sneaks. Great job, you’re brilliant as always. Thanks for the link to Sew A Straight Line, I must have been an under a rock, what an amazing challenge!

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