crafts · outfits · Sewing · Thrifting

Military shirtdress: before and after

On one of my thrifting expeditions recently I ran across a military style shirtdress.  It was super dowdy, but a good quality brand (Talbots,) made of a lovely silk.  It appeared almost unworn. The hidden clasp at the waist (a nice feature in a shirtdress – mine always gape there!) was detatched, and I sincerely hope that’s not why it was donated (although, based on the number of requests from friends and family for me to sew on buttons, I wouldn’t be surprised.)  Here is the before shot:

As you can see, not so cute.  This is actually a size 10 petite.  Last I checked, I wear a 6 in Talbots, and 2 sizes isn’t a bad alteration.  And petite is always better, because the shoulders on a petite tend to be narrow.   My inspiration was this dress, from Anthro this fall:

I shortened the dress by 4 inches (actually too much… I had to take a really tiny hem!) I shortened the sleeves, and took 2 inches of width out of each side, from the sleeve to the waist.  The skirt portion originally had a slit, which I sewed up.  That altered the hang of the skirt enough that I didn’t need to adjust it.  The waist is elastic, and it’s meant to be worn with a belt, so I didn’t adjust the waist at all.  It was made a little more complicated by the fact that the skirt was lined.  I wanted it to look nice, so I carefully removed all the hems and made a nice, neat new hem in both.  The results?

I am really happy with how this came out – it’s very on trend, and you would never guess that it was a $2.50 thrift store purchase!  I think I got close to my inspiration.  The only differences are the sleeves (I wanted shorter sleeves, and though I made a tab I ended up preferring the sleeves hemmed shorter,) and the belt – I dislike fabric ties, and prefer a nice, stretchy elastic belt.  This project ended up costing about $5 (I had to buy matching thread!) and took me one evening to complete.

Here is how I’m actually wearing it today (it’s a cold one!)


Sweater: 525 america, this is definitely my favorite sweater this year.  Love the shawl collar!

Belt: Forever 21

Boots: Nine West