Dress Restyle – Fall to Summer

Dress restyle by Beautiful Entropy

I restyled a dress of W’s a while ago, and am only now getting around to posting about it. The dress was a cute long-sleeved bubble style, great for fall but not so useful here in AZ, where it’s summer for about 10 months of the year. I decided to remove the sleeves and use the material to make cute flowers for the neckline, in addition to new flutter sleeves. It was an easy project, as restyles go.

I started by cutting off the sleeves with a pair of scissors. I left the serged seam where the sleeves had originally been attached to the dress intact; I planned to use it as a foundation for attaching the new sleeves. On the top 2/3 of the armhole, I cut the sleeve off as close as possible to that serged seam. On the lower 1/3, which would remain sleeveless, I left a small strip of sleeve fabric in place that I could eventually use to cover and finish the serged seam.

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That little strip of fabric on the lower 1/3 of the armhole is just flapping for the time being, but will eventually be hemmed down.

Using the fabric from the removed sleeves, I cut two semi-circular pieces of fabric. The taller the arc, the longer the flutter sleeves will extend from the shoulder. The longer the pieces, the more gather in the sleeves. I made my pieces about 2-ish inches tall at the arc, and about 2 inches longer than the portion of the armhole to which they would be sewn, for a little bit of gather.

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Using a twin needle for a nice, finished (but stretchy) seam, I tacked down the small strip of sleeve I’d left in place at the lower 1/3 of the armhole. Twin needles give a lovely, perfectly parallel (and very professional-looking) set of stitches on the outside, with a zigzag on the underside of the fabric. Great for jersey!

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Zigzag (from the twin needle) on the inside of the lower 1/3 of the armhole.

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Parallel rows of stitching (from the twin needle) on the outside of the lower 1/3 of the armhole.

Using a long stitch length and without backstitching, I basted along the straight edge of each flutter sleeve, stopping about 1″ from each end. My plan was to gather the flutter sleeve toward the center (top of shoulder), and gradually decrease gathering toward the bottom of the sleeve. By pulling on the ends of the bobbin thread after finishing my basting, I gathered the sleeves.

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I pinned each flutter sleeve in place, arranging gathers so that they were most concentrated at the top of each sleeve.

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Using a wide zigzag as sort of a stretchy basting stitch, I tacked down the flutter sleeves. I then used a stretch stitch to secure them more firmly in place.

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I cut a bunch of small (approx 1.5″ diameter) circles of fabric from the leftover bits of the original long sleeves. Using some embroidery backing as a stable base, I started attaching the circles wrong-side-up to a central point of the fabric with a single stitch each. As I added additional circles, I folded the ones already in place to create “petals.”

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A finished flower. I made two of these.

I ended up making two flowers (one slightly larger than the other), and hand-stitched them along the neckline like a little corsage. Cute!

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