This is a great project for a beginner seamstress. Most thrift shops have several old prom dresses to choose from. There are few things more frustrating than spending $40 on fabric and a pattern and then realizing you cut it out wrong. Sometimes I get an idea for an article of clothing but don't want to spend a lot of money on fabric, I will go to the thrift shop and look through thier clothes until I find an item that I think will work to cut up and use for that particular project. Now, I'll be honest with you, it doesn't always work out the way I want it to but I always learn something from the experience. A few weeks ago I went to the local thrift shop and found this beautiful long, purple satin dress. Of course it was a size 4. I paid $5 for it. Took it home and figured out a way to make it work for me.
Step 1: Supplies
An old long dress, Sewing machine, thread, straight pins, measuring tape, seam ripper and scissors. You may need to purchase a zipper.
Step 2: Original Dress
The original dress was in great shape, it was lined and the hem was still intact and there were no stains on it. When purchasing clothing at a thrift shop, inspect the articles closely, zipper, buttons, etc...
Step 3: Cut Off the Bottom of Skirt
Measure how long you want the skirt section to be. I left the original hem because it was in good shape. I measured 24" up from that all the way around and pinned the lining to it. Cut 1" above that, this is for the seam allowance. Stitch 1/2" from the top edge, sewing the lining to the skirt section.
Step 4: Remove Zipper
I was able to use the original zipper. If you want to do this, remove it carefully with a seam ripper.
Step 5: Deconstruct Dress
Cut the bodice away from the skirt section at the seam.
Step 6: Waistband
The bodice of the original dress becomes the waistband of my new dress! All I did was sew the curved vertical seams straight and cut thewhole waistband 4" wide. Allowing 1/2" seam allowance on the top and bottom of the waistband, the finished waistband will be 3".
Step 7: Bodice
When I turn the mid section of the original dress upside down- it works perfectly for the bodice of my new dress! I measured 12" in length all the way around. Pinned the center of this to the center of the waistband and sewed it in place. I
Step 8: Lining
I cut matching sections out of the lining for the bodice and waistband, matched up the center points, pinned the shoulder straps in and then sewed the lining to the dress.
Step 9: Flower for Waistband
I cut 4 circles out of the leftover material with my pinking shears. I then folded them a bit off-center and pinned them together, overlapping a little. Then I hand stitched them to the waistband of the dress.