How to Take an Old 80's Prom Dress and Make It 2008!




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This time Threadbanger has taken the prom dress challenge. We found an old puffy prom dress from the 1980's, and made it into a cute and fun prom dress for this decade. Its a fun and simple tutorial that explains everything, but leaves enough room for your own creativity. If you want to see more of threadbanger, subscribe to us on itunes!


Vintage 80's dress that is desperate for a makeover
sewing machine
additional embellishments of your choice

Step 1: Deconstruction

1. First, Its very important to study your garment. Sketch out a drawing to plan out exactly what you want to do. We decided to take this extremely puffy 80's prom dress and change it up into a cute and sexy, short black dress for this decade.

2. Start the deconstruction of your dress.

3. Begin by cutting off the puffy sleeves, and we decided to set them aside for later.

4. Then cut off the skirt. If you have ruffles on the bottom, as we did, separate the ruffles from the main skirt to get a large piece of flat fabric.

6. Cut out the old boning and save to use later.

Step 2: The Corset Pattern

7. The skirt on our dress was longer in the back, so we used some of that fabric for our corset, making sure to leave the shape around the waistline, and enough length for a skirt. Most of the dresses worn in the 80's have many layers of fabric, and you will only need one for the skirt, so set it aside. Grab another large piece of fabric and iron it flat.

8. Go to the Blog at and look at the corset pattern used in the Valentin's Day Episode [( Valentin's Day Episode]. Print out the pattern on a large piece of paper, and cut it out.

9. Flip your fabric wrong-side-up and trace your corset pattern, connecting the front so it will lace up in the back.

10. Cut it out about one inch outside the line to leave room for seem allowance.

11. Repeat steps 7-10 to create another corset shape.

Step 3: Corset Construction

12. Lay the two pieces on top of each other, so that the right sides are touching, and pin along the outside. Sew the pieces together along your drawn line, leaving a space at the end so you can flip it inside-out. Next, turn the fabrics right-side-out.

13. Iron it flat, and iron the gap closed

14. Next sew a top seem all the way around the garment.

15. Grab the boning you stripped out of the old dress (we had two), and pin it on the inside of the garment starting from the left curve at the top of your corset shape and aiming towards the center of the bottom. Do the same for the other boning on the right side. Hold up the corset to your body, making sure the boning fits to contour of your chest. Once the shape is perfect, sew the boning onto the garment.

15. Attach the back of your corset either by sewing, hook and eye, or by inserting gromits to hold the ribbon to lace up the back. Try on the garment inside out. Pinch, pin and sew darts along the front and sides of the corset, to make the fit perfect.

16. Then turn it right-side-out.

Step 4: The Skirt

17. Take the large piece of fabric, that was the skirt on your old dress. Measure and cut the material (this may mean you have to cut down the original seam of the dress and resize it, if it is not your size or the correct style).

18. Pin pleats all the way around the top of the skirt, and sew them together with a seem all the way around the inside of the circle.

19. Next fold the seem over, iron it and sew it down flat.

20. Pin the skirt and corset together while its on a model. Try it on to make any adjustments. Once its perfect, sew the bodice and skirt together.

21. Next stack all of the layers of tool, from your old dress, on top of each other and pin them along the edge.

22. Then sew two seems along the edge using a zigzag stitch, leaving about an inch in between them. Attach a safety pin to a piece of elastic, and thread it through the casing.

Step 5: The Finally

23. For a Final touch take out those puffy sleeves from the old dress, and sew the ends of them together to wear around your neck.

14. Put that all together, and you have a super cute and classy, new look for prom.

For all you guys out there, check out our instructable on bow ties or our episode at



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    18 Discussions

    Ok. I see all the pics and I say "so cute!"
    You're so talented.
    All Hail Repurposing!
    Or is that Reporpoising?
    Thanks so much for sharing your process and talent. I'm inspired.

    Great post... but agreed, I'd like to see a full shot of the final piece. The video goes way too fast to see what your getting and there are no photos. Please post.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Love it!! Can't wait to try a re-do for my daughter, she will be thrilled to have a 1 of a kind look just for her. Thank you!!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I admire your clever fingers and creativity. I'm too old and too pudgy to try your idea, but I wanted to compliment you. So...when you have your own business someday you might want to run a spell check or borrow an old English major. Some people lose sight of the creativity if you have misspelled words. seem is really seam. Tool is really tulle and finally is finale. I do not mean to be picky, I just want you to know that spelling matters when you want to be taken seriously. I wish I could sew. I took it in high school, but it "didn't seem to take"! ;)

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I can't help it. That exclamation point belongs inside the quotation marks. : )


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I honestly wished you would have kept the top and took off the arm ruffles and then just shortened the bottom of the skirt. But thats just me. I love the 80's.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Does anyone know the brand of this dress? I am actually planning on wearing this dress but blue instead of black for prom this year. And when i found this website and saw the same dress i was surprised.


    10 years ago on Step 5

    I was wondering the same thing. Wheres a picture of the full dress? I was also a little dissapointed that none of that white material got used, but to each their own!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Looks awesome! Loved the interviews, too. ;) We'll see you guys at the NNN party at SXSW, right? I agree with fizil - a nice full-length picture of the finished product would be nice to see.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not getting much from the final shots :(