Vintage waist alteration

A pause in my regularly scheduled programming.

I’ve recently come into a LOT of great vintage, with some pieces coming to me from my husband’s grandmother, and some from a friend of mine who loves to thrift and passes along what doesn’t work out for her. I’ve put my current project on hold in order to alter some of these pieces in the hopes of selling some of them soon! I’m also working on some other things for a friend for the upcoming QuiltCon, which will be taking place here in Austin at the end of February. So although I’d planned to write about my vintage pattern project this week, other things are taking precedence!

When my friend passed this gorgeous handmade wiggle dress along to me, it was obvious that it was going to be way too small, so I thought “hey, this won’t take long to fix!” Well, you know what happens when you say something isn’t going to take long.. I became OBSESSED with making this work.

I mean, wouldn’t you be obsessed? LOOK AT IT.

The most obvious thing to do would be take out the back darts- easy and there are darts in the skirt and the bodice so everything should line up. I thought that would give me plenty of room. NOPE. (Usually I don’t like to take darts out for fit because I worry about seeing the holes in back from ripping, but this fabric is so black you can’t tell. AND I learned a magic trick for really pressing the fabric flat so you can’t even tell there was a dart in it! You dampen the fabric, wait a bit and rub it, then iron, pressing the fabric with your fingers as you go- works better than vinegar!)

So my next step was to check the hem. There was plenty to take out and expand at the zipper area (Oh I didn’t mention the zipper was destroyed on this dress when I got it, so I would’ve had to replace it anyway). Using the hem fabric is a natural choice as it would match. But since this is a border fabric it wouldn’t match exactly. BUT I REALLY WANTED TO WEAR THIS DRESS. I didn’t get pictures, but I had about an inch and a half to work with.

The hem after I cut off length and serged; I had plenty of excess to work with and still have the dress be the length I wanted.

I cut the hem strip evenly and sewed it to each side of the back center. It was bulky but did I mention I really wanted to wear this dress?

The strip sewed onto the back center

The part that was a real pain was doing a lapped zipper with all that bulk of the extra seams I had sewed on. After some seam ripping, I got it!

I think it was worth it! And I’m not thrilled by how the fabric doesn’t match the back completely, but I hope that people would think it’s done on purpose. And also, I don’t care. Now I can wear this colorful vintage dress!

The back!
Ta-da! Posing in my backyard like a goof.

Next week maybe I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled project, but who knows? So many fun vintage alterations projects coming up to show off!

One thought on “Vintage waist alteration

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