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DIY: Altering a Formal Dress

Prom season is over and a lot of formal dresses were heavily discounted at Loehmann’s. Even though I don’t have many formal events to go to, I wanted to try out some dresses anyway.

I found a Laundry by Shelly Segal dress in size 0. Amazingly, it fit in most places except the bust area and the length. The bust detail was too large on my frame and the sides stuck out by an inch on each end. I checked the construction of the dress and it seemed relatively simple to alter.

Instead of paying the tailor to fix this dress, I decided to take it in myself.

Before Alterations

Since the dress was relatively cheap, it was worth the risk of a DIY.

My initial plan was to remove the waistband and attach the bust to the skirt of the dress to make everything look smaller. But when I looked more closely at the construction, the waistband part of the bust detail and I couldn’t simply remove it.

I ended up overlapping the waist portion with the bust hand-stitched it together. It wasn’t too difficult, but I didn’t anticipate hand-sewing all the alterations.

After Alterations

Since I was going to see the Sleeping Beauty ballet at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Disney Concert Center) this past weekend, I thought to pull out this dress. It was appropriate and there were plenty of other people who were more overdressed than I.

Plus I had three celebrity sightings at this event, Judy Greer(Casey from 27 Dresses), Amanda Schull (Jody from Center Stage), and Malese Jow (Anna from Vampire Diaries). I’m sure there were probably more famous people at the event, but those are the ones I specifically recognize. It’s not often that I see celebrities, but I don’t like to approach them since they’re with their friends and families. After all, actors are people too.

At The Event

So I haven’t purchased a maxi dress this summer, but this formal gown can work just fine for casual situations as well. With a white denim jacket and wedges, this dress can change from fancy to semi-casual in a instant. I love trying to remix my clothes! =)

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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Miss Neira July 19, 2010, 7:25 am

    Love it, that’s a great idea and you look amazing!

  • PetiteAsianGirl July 19, 2010, 8:24 am

    The dress is very beautiful – both color and silhouette wise. I’m trying to see what you meant by the waistband though. Where is the waistband?

    • Stylepint July 19, 2010, 1:10 pm

      I guess it’s pretty hard to see from the photos because it’s not a true waistband. From the altered dress, it’s the bottom half of the bust detail. I’ll be putting up close-up photos so it’s more visible.

  • Alterations Needed July 19, 2010, 9:09 am

    The alteration you did on that dress is amazing. If I had seen that huge amount of fabric at the bust, I would have walked away. I had no idea that could be taken in so well. Great job!

    I’m a little perplexed at how you did it. Can you post a shot of the inside of the dress? It might not be very helpful without a before picture to my untrained eye, but I’d love to see if I can figure out how you did it!

    • Stylepint July 19, 2010, 1:11 pm

      Thanks! I had to look at the inside of the dress to determine if it was feasible…but I’ll be posting up the inside so you can see it more.

  • PetiteXXS July 19, 2010, 9:47 pm

    Wow you have amazing sewing skills! It looks so complicated and I also have no idea how you did it, but it turned out really well and looks great on you!

  • mich LA July 20, 2010, 9:22 pm

    Wow! This dress is gorgeous! I love the contrast of the color against your skin.

    I’m so jealous of your sewing skills! I feel like I could wear/buy so many more things I fall in love with if I could do amazing things like this. Great job!

    • Stylepint July 20, 2010, 10:01 pm

      Thanks! This dress really caught my eye the first time I put it on, so I felt like I had to make it fit me. And I quite picky about what I choose to alter, so I make sure I can accomplish it before I start otherwise, I’d make a mess out of the garment. =)

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