New Life for Old Dresses

I don’t have the kind of life in retirement that will require wearing dresses, so those few that I did occasionally wear to work have been languishing in the closet, taking up needed space. The only one I’m keeping as a dress is a black Eileen Fisher t-shirt dress that looks really cute with black tights or leggings and clogs—if I ever really need to wear a dress.

The other dresses are rayon prints. They looked good with black tights as well—you get my dress theme here—but they just look too office for my taste, if you know what I mean. So I turned them into tops with a pretty simple method, the kind of boxy, button front top you can wear over jeans or a short stretchy skirt for a dress alternative.

My method works with dresses that have midriff darts, you know those darts that draw in a dress to give it a little shape, if that’s what you want. I guess you could just cut off the dress if you want a shaped top, but I like those boxy tops for a more casual look. So the trick is to cut out the center of the dress where those darts are, and sew the remaining skirt to that new seam. Voila!

I made one a little longer than the other and I added side slits to the shorter one. Now, these I’ll wear.

I’ve got one left that was a really long dress with more fabric in a gored skirt. I don’t care for its shawl collar, so I may just use the skirt fabric for a totally new top that doesn’t resemble the original dress.

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