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I picked up this silk Jacob dress at the thrift store awhile ago because I just loved the print and silk is so nice and light to wear.  Unfortunately, the flip side of silk’s lovely lightness is that it lacks the weight to hang well sometimes. This dress was a titch “flimsy”, but I was sure that I could make it work by belting it and anchoring it to my body.


It is a very blousey tunic with no side definition at all and even though it is not a large size it has a lot of material at   the waist once it is belted.  I tried the belt at my natural waist, drop waist and hips but I still had this pile of material that wanted to stick awkwardly to my body…the silk just didn’t have enough weight to hang away.

So that plan didn’t work?  What to do?

Time to put my money where my mouth is and “re-fashion”. Not really a re-fashion so much as a straight forward alteration really, but a little anxiety provoking none the less.

I probably could have gone online and used any of these helpful how-to’s but for some reason I did that afterwards. Doih!


click for how to

click for how to

No, I just blundered ahead semi-confident that it wouldn’t be a stitch ripping disaster.

I am lucky enough to have a dressmaker’s dummy (thank you long ago boyfriend for the lovely birthday gift) and I find it super helpful.  One of my difficulties with sewing is that I am very spatially challenged.  No, it’s true!  I have actually been tested..

My brain just can’t turn two dimensional instructions into three dimensional images with any real success.  So, the dummy is essential for this dummy!

ANYWAY,  I turned the dress inside out, popped it on the mannequin (which is fashioned to my measurements) and measured a one inch seam down either side armpit to hem, pinning as I went.  Took it to the machine and stitched inside the pins which gave me an approx 3/4 inch seam each side for an overall tightening up of 1 1/2 inches overall.

On me not the mannequin this time and definitely not enough of a difference.  Back to the machine….this time I used my previous seam as my foot guide which gave me probably another inch? of reduction.  I had to be careful since I did not really want to fuss with shaping so I only had so much wiggle room (literally!) before it would become too tight for my hips or thighs.

Scissors to the pocket that I had created and (here I would love to say that I seam finished..but I don’t want to lie to you) ironed it flat.  It was a thrift store dress and no one is seeing the inside but me.  As time goes on I would like to become better at finishing but right now the initial alteration is challenging enough.  Okay, I am being dramatic, this was super easy and I was just procrastinating.

I took a photo of the after but it doesn’t really show the alteration well so you will just have to take me at my word that it is much better, ironed and ready to wear with leggings and flats to work tomorrow!