Monday, 24 December 2012

Dress Re-vamp

 I didn't like the sleeves on this dress, and it was missing a belt so I decided to remove the sleeves and make them into a belt instead. Here are the step by step instructions on how to re-vamp and old dress.

Front Before

Back Before

1. Lay the dress out.

2. Turn it inside out.

3. Remove the sleeves. I used a seam ripper to unpick the stitches. 

The sleeves are no detached. 

4. Determine how much of a hem you want on the sleeves. You could use a bias binding if you like, or serge the edges and turn it under once.

5. Measure out your desired hem. I chose to do mine at 1/2", so I measured that out once and then folded it over.

6. Pin down your hem as you go to ensure that it stays in place.

7. Sew your sleeve hem. I used a small zig zag stitch on my machine because the fabric was a knit and had a bit of a stretch. Once you have sewn both sleeves the dress section is done! 

For the Belt

1. Lay out your sleeves.

2. Cut them in half along the under arm seam. This will enable them to lay flat and make them easier to work with.

3. Unpick the elastic at the wrist with a seam ripper. Some of them may just have a hem here instead of elastic, so unpick that instead if that is the case. 

4. Lay the sleeves out on an ironing board and iron our the wrinkles. I used the 'synthetic' setting on my iron because I am not certain what this dress was made of (probably polyester). 

5. Find the middle of your sleeve.

6. Cut it in half and measure out how wide you want your belt to be. There was enough fabric for me to make mine 1" wide (finished). That meant that each strip had to be 2 1/4" wide so that I had enough fabric to fold it over and make a 1/8" seam allowance.

7. Cut out your strips and even out the tops, making sure they are all the same length. I did 4 strips (2 per sleeve). The sleeves were 3/4 length so it I only did 1 strip per sleeve it would have been too short to fit properly around my waist. You can choose to make your belt longer or shorter than mine. If you have full length sleeves you may only need to do 1 strip per sleeve.

8. Pin the strips together, end to end.

9. Sew them all together. I used a small zig zag stitch again. 

10. Press the seams open and fold the belt in half. Pin and sew the bottom together. You will only want to sew one end shut because the next step is to turn the belt right-side out. Iron the belt and then sew the other end shut. Ta-da, you are done! 

To see the finished product check out this post. 


  1. I wonder where I have seen this dress before! Also great instruction. I should invest in a seam ripper, too many times I have made holes doing similar things. Merry Christmas!!!

    1. Haha, yeah! I meant to say that a friend suggested the sleeve removal, but I forgot :( I will add that in now. Thanks, it is hard to know if your instructions will make sense to others or not. Seam rippers are such a handy tool, you really need to get one. It will make your life soooo much easier.