Vintage Sewing

Alterations on my first dress

June 18, 2010

I revisited the first dress I ever made, Simplicity 2756:

This was the first sewing pattern ever.  I learned a lot making this dress…but….

The problem was the dress didn’t fit me right!  The collar was too big, the neck was too low, the sleeves were too long, the bodice was too big, the waist was too low…..on and on…

I had grand ambitions of fixing the dress during Me-Made-May.  I did start the alterations…but boy, did it take awhile!  Where to start?  Luckily, I have such amazing readers who shared their expertise and based on everyone’s feedback, I started by fitting the shoulders.  Here are all the alterations I made:

  • I took the dress up by about 3 inches on each side in the shoulders (via darts).  
  • I put in a princess seam on each side of the back bodice (took out about 1-2 inches of fabric on each side) tapering down to the waist sides.  
  • I shortened the sleeves up by about 3 inches.  
  • I also tacked the cuffs to the bodice (because the original interfacing was too heavy).
  • I hemmed the dress and took about 4 inches off the length.
  • I made a matching fabric belt and covered a belt buckle.
  • I redid part of the center front seam, bring it up higher.
  • I attached the collar deeper into the dress (so that it wasn’t as large).
  • I had to redo the neckline because of the darts I made in the shoulders.
  • I had to tweak the sleeves so that the cuffs fit (because I had shortened the sleeves).

Phew! I had no idea all the alterations would be so much work.  But I am so glad I did it!  Now I can actually wear the dress:

Check out more pictures on my blog.

  1. Gosh I thought it looked cute the first time but, wow, what a difference the alterations made! You're more dedicated that I am. I'd've just thrown the ill-fitting dress right in the donation bin and started anew.

  2. absolutely beautiful dress! i love the floral print and the colors of your fabrics. lovely collar and sleeves.

  3. wow, what a massive effort for the alterations. looks great! i reckon the "before" is where i'll find myself as well when i finally take the plunge and try sewing a dress. it all seems too scary now when i've only just mastered the zippered pencil case… but i have hope seeing transformations like this! -jill

  4. I can't tell–Did you use shoulder pads? 1950's patterns expect massive shoulder pads, and leaving them out can obliterate fit. I always have to tweak things because I wore pads in the Eighties and refuse to wear them again. 😉

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