Better After: Thrift Dress Upcycle
This is my very first full thrifted dress alteration. In the past I've shortened dresses, removed sleeves, dyed dresses, and altered by adding lace, but nothing this drastic. THIS is what the dress looked like before. I tried to get a decent before picture of myself in the dress but they all turned out horrible [too dark, cut my head off, I'm blinking or my eyes are closed, little toddler noggin in the frame, etc]. This dress was too long [fit at calf length on me], had shoulder pads, and the sleeves were a bit too long to be flattering. I shortened the sleeves, removed the shoulder pads, and shortened the hem quite a bit! I adore how it turned out, very 1940s inspired, and absolutely perfect for spring and summer!
This is a Karin Stevens dress. In the altered picture it photographed more blue than it actually is. It's more of a vintage muted green color as shown in the closeup picture. This dress is most likely from the 1970s. I adore the sleeves and the collar on this dress, very 1940s. It is also a button up dress with buttons adorning from the top to the bottom. The buttons are covered in the same floral fabric as the dress. The dainty floral print is what made me decide to purchase it in the first place. It's made from rayon. The size is a vintage size 12, which is about a size 6 or 8 today.Here are the flat measurements taken before the alteration:
Here is a brief guide to vintage sizing: We've all heard that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12-14. That statement is true. The only factor to be aware of is that a modern day size 12 and a size 12 in the 1950s/1960s are completely different things. In today's sizes, Marilyn Monroe would most likely wear a size 6 and maybe even a size 4! So, the rule is this: if you add 6 to your current modern day dress size that's what you'll probably fit in a 1950s/1960s dress. Dresses from the 1970s are sized similar; you will probably wear a size about 4 sizes larger than normal. 1980s and 1990s dresses might be one to two sizes larger than your modern size and still fit perfectly. When you're aware of these sizing facts, it's much less scary to see the size on the inside of a dress that 'looks like it will fit'.
Check out this little site for more source info on vintage clothing sizes: link
For the reasons listed above, I always carry a little vintage tape measure in my purse/bag wherever I go. Because I never quite know if I will decide to spontaneously stop in a thrift store or fabric store.
*the shoes I'm wearing are cognac-brown leather flats made by LuckyBrand.
all images and content © Annalee Hodges