restyled denim dress

a couple weeks ago, i found this 70s denim dress at the goodwill down on haight street, one of my favorite local thrift stores. it had good bones: nice dark denim, and a fitted yet simple shape. but otherwise, it had it’s faults: weird, cheap looking ribbon trim on the cap sleeves, neckline, and pocket edges. it buttoned up the back (odd for a dress…you have to be helped into it!), and was just a smidge too small for me, thanks to my stupidly large chest. it was screaming out for help! so…of course, i had to swoop in and do some magic (or attempt some magic, anyway!)…

restyled denim dress

restyled denim dress

restyled denim dress

restyled denim dress

the front was rather plain, so i gave it a bib, edged with bias. and used bias to edge the square neckline, hem, cap sleeves, and zipper placket on the back. the reason for the placket? well, it was a hair too small, as i said, so i opened out the button plackets for more room, and the new placket covers up the button holes and gives the back some interest. the buttons on the front are covered with a little of the fabric i cut off the hem before attaching the bias. btw, all the extra contrasting fabric is a herringbone weave chambray type fabric i had in my stash already.

it’s not perfect, but it’s a lot more fun than it was before. and it fits!

i love this kind of work…taking something that’s not quite right and making it more so. and if it doesn’t work out, fine. but when it does…so wonderful, so satisfying.


  1. niki

    HOLY CRAP! That is the cutest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on! You have some real talent, girl. It’s too hard for me to walk into a thrift store and see more potential in a dress beyond hemming it up. I love it!

  2. Lala

    OMG!! I freakin love it, it’s so amazingly cute/adorable/wonderful (all good adjectives here). You are such a creative lady with a great eye for finding things at thrift stores and turning someone’s junk into your own treasure!

  3. Erica

    great work! i know just what you mean about a garment calling out to be renewed. the way you’ve done this here will make this dress live on for even longer.

  4. tricia

    jenny: there’s no before photo…i usually don’t bother taking them, as i am typically chomping at the bit to get started. suffice it to say, it was basically as described above…the main part of the dress (the dark blue) was the dress…it merely had some ribbon trim at the places i mentioned. so the original part was the dark blue plain body…all the light/medium blue you see is my additions, which are mostly surface/trim.

  5. sarah

    holy crap, tricial this seriously kicks ass! I adore the bib with contrasting buttons, the button placket is really neat, and that bit on the sleeves really just pulls it together. You really do have such a great eye for these diamonds in the rough, and your stitching skills are impeccable!

  6. Rhiannon

    This is absolutely wonderful. You should really do this for a living and come up with your own line! Taking vintage dresses and reworking them .. . I would buy one for sure.