This is a guest post by my daughter, Madeline. Of all her projects, this is one of my all time favorites, not only because it had a beautiful outcome, but because she put a LOT of effort into making this work and didn’t give up when it got hard. Here she is to tell you about her process.

Thanks for letting me share another project on your blog, Mom.

I bought this dress at this great vintage shop called The Clothing Warehouse in Savannah, Georgia, when my mom and I were down there during spring break. This is their Facebook page. My style has turned more vintage over the past year, so when we found this dress, and it fit perfectly, I knew I wanted to try to make it into my prom dress. Here it is in the shop:

vintage dress front

vintage dress back

vintage dress side

I didn’t want a long sleeved, turtleneck dress, so the first thing I did was to separate the top from the bottom of the dress by ripping out the seam at the waist. My thought was to use the top from the pattern of a dress I made in my sewing class this year, using solid yellow fabric.

I cut out all the pieces, made the top of the dress, and HATED it. I was completely frustrated that it didn’t turn out like I wanted at all. The fabric was hard to sew on, the fit was weird, and overall I thought it was a disaster. So, I walked away for a few days. My mom and I were talking about what style I liked for the top and I mentioned my favorite bathing suit. She showed me that I could just twist the fabric the same way my bathing suit is twisted. I used scraps from the top, and really had to piece the top together. I’m lucky that the flower pattern hides a lot, because there are probably 8 or 10 pieces in the top. Because I didn’t have a way to get more of that fabric, I just made it work with the fabric I had. I used sleeves, parts of ruffles, and anything I could to create the top. After lots of seam ripping, I got the top to look the way I wanted. I bought a new dark green velvet ribbon for the waist, since the one it came with didn’t have a bow in the back and I wanted mine to have a bow.

My next challenge was the length. I had planned on adding some sheer yellow fabric to the bottom, but that didn’t look good, either. I ended up adding the yellow to the bottom that wasn’t sheer, and it looked like I was standing on a pedestal. I didn’t like that either. At the last minute I decided to layer in some of the sheer yellow between the flowered skirt and the solid yellow pedestal. My friends pulled into the driveway to pick me up to get ready for prom right as I finished this last addition. It worked. The look softened a lot and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Here is the front:

vintage prom dress front

And the back with the green velvet ribbon:

vintage prom dress back

I added some funky orange shoes with wood heels that look like they’d go with a 1970s dress.

orange prom shoes

This is one of my most challenging projects ever, but it was also one of the most rewarding projects ever. I thought it was fun to be the only one in a 1970s dress for prom, and I loved seeing my friends’ surprised faces when I told them that I created my dress from a vintage dress. Here’s my before and after photo:

vintage prom dress before and after

It’s Betsy again. Don’t you just love this dress? I am so impressed with Maddie’s persistence to make this work. I have to add my favorite photo, even though it doesn’t show much of the dress, because the lighting was so perfect and I love the angelic effect it gives to my sweet girl.

angelic halo

Linking up to some of these fabulous parties:

Tip Junkie handmade projects The Shabby Nest I Heart Nap Time Whipperberry five days five ways  feature friday free for all Today's Creative Blog Sugar Bee Crafts It's Overflowing Photobucket One Chatty Chic Lil\'LunaMod Vintage Life The DIY Dreamer Craft & Tell Visit thecsiproject.com

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92 Responses to Prom Dress: Vintage Upcycle

  1. Tee says:

    Wow, stunning transformation! Love the shoes too.

    I hope you had a groovy time.

  2. Shelley says:

    First off, your daughter is STUNNING!!! Secondly, holy cow, what a transformation! Love, love, love how it turned out, absolutely gorgeous!

  3. Dana says:

    Maddie, you did a fabulous job. I love that fabric and it really looks great on you. As a seamstress, I admire your skills and know that sometimes things don’t turn out the way you want them. It is creative of you to find a way to make this work. Taking something you know looks good on you and adapting is an outstanding idea! And above all else, you glow :) inside and out.

  4. That came out fantastic! I love it. It totally shows your daughter’s personality and is classy and pretty and feminine! Some of those prom dresses I have seen.. straight from the Jersey Shore.. Yikes! You daughter is the epitome of beautiful. You should be really proud. Gorgeous!

  5. Mimi Bowen says:

    So cute, I love it! Great job!

  6. Aunt Judy says:

    Excellent Transformation Maddie!! And yes the shoes are very early 70′s. I had a similar pair I wore daily (half the heel height tho) from 1969 – 1975ish! I too made my senior prom dress and also my wedding dress. Turning them into the dream and vision is always challenging, but so rewarding when you stick to it and come thru to the other side! Great Job!!

  7. Just Jaime says:

    What a transformation! I love the updated look!

  8. this is fabulous~!

    incredible transformation. i love the flower print.
    such a beautiful girl as well!!!

    kellie

  9. This is such a great transformation! I love that she made her own dress for Prom. I love the way the top turned out too. Very beautiful!
    Melissa
    http://www.lovebugliving.com

  10. Courtney says:

    Beautiful job, I wish I had been so creative for my own prom/graduation dress!

  11. this is wonderful! you must have a great eye to have seen what could be done with this and how sticking with it would bring about such a beautiful outcome!

  12. louise says:

    Amazing! it’s such a beautiful dress now. I love the pattern!

  13. vanessa says:

    Hi, Anna

    I love what your daughter did to the dress, it’s lovely. Beautiful dress and beautiful young woman. I found your lovely blog on Mod Vintage life link party. I enjoyed looking around.Love for you to stop by http://www.homesweetbutterfly.com. Have a great week.

    Vanessa

  14. Oh my goodness, you did such a great job with this! I love the final result :)

    I would love it if you would link up at Watch Out, Martha!’s link up party: Martha Mondays, going on now! Hope to see you there!
    http://www.watchoutmartha.net/2012/05/martha-monday-link-up-party_13.html

  15. Heather says:

    Very Beautiful…both the dress and your daughter. I love the vintage print and the shoes were so perfect. Nice job.

  16. Lauryn says:

    this is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! and what a beautiful daughter you have.
    thanks so much for sharing maddie!!
    {love} lauryn @ lovenotesbylauryn.blogspot.com

  17. Jenny says:

    The dress is amazing! I can’t believe the way that she was able to transform the dress. Gorgeous! I love the shoes. They definitely complete the look. Thanks so much for sharing at Whimsy Wednesdays.

  18. Anne Maskell says:

    Fabulous job, and you look lovely wearing it! I hope you have a wonderful time!

  19. Andrea says:

    Wow that is amazing! It looks great! I love the top. Would love a tutorial of how she got it to swirl and gather so nicely. Just popped over from Watch out Martha.

  20. Ahhh, I love it! Seriously Amazing! When I was 18 I had a ton of vintage 70′s gowns my grandma had given me, I wish I knew then what I know now about sewing. I would love it if you would share this over at my link party.
    http://thecraftedsparrow.blogspot.com/2012/05/crafted-sparrow-link-party-6.html
    Great job! And that’s by far the best prom dress around, seriously!

  21. Jen T says:

    She did an awesome job! I never would have thought the original dress could be transformed into something so pretty!

  22. WOW. The dress is stunning, your daughter is stunning, and the shoes are stunning!!!! Stunning post!!!! Love how she actually had to scrap the whole top together with pieces – now that’s dedicated! :)

  23. Christine says:

    Oh gosh!! I’m so HAPPY your altered it.. I was like Oh… LOVE the fabric.. but not so much the look….. FABULOUS job making it your own!! GORGEOUS!!

    Thanks so much for sharing at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality!!

  24. Susan says:

    Are you kidding me? This is so amazing! What a truly talented and beautiful girl! But I always knew that!

  25. Absolutely gorgeous! Just a wonderful transformation. I think its a great summer dress too. :)
    xoxo
    Heather

  26. Shelia says:

    Oh my! What a transformation on the dress. Who would have thought it could look like this! Your daughter is so pretty!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  27. Thanks for linking to Take-A-Look Tuesday – - you were featured yesterday! (twice! plus most viewed link -great job!!)
    –Mandy, http://www.SugarBeeCrafts.com

  28. Shannon Fox says:

    How Cute! and refreshingly original =)

  29. Jenilyn says:

    This is stunning. I absolutely cannot believe the before and after! You looked beautiful in it too. I would love for you to link these up to “I Made This” at Grits & Giggles! http://www.gritsandgiggles.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-made-this-5.html

  30. This is a fantastic project! What an amazing transformation!
    Would you consider linking it up at my Pinworthy Projects Party? I hope to see you there!

  31. Oh, Betsy! Maddie did a fantastic job! I’m soooooooo impressed with her perseverance and the finished product is just gorgeous.

    Give her a fist-bump for me! : )

    Thanks for linking up!

  32. Lauren says:

    Wow! What an improvement… thanks so much for linking up with me this week!

  33. Karen says:

    Wow! Your daughter looks gorgeous. What an amazing dress transformation! I am so impressed, and am loving the result. Those shoes are perfect too.

  34. Kibba says:

    What a great job your daughter did on this dress! Like the movie Pretty in Pink, but the dress is actually cute!

  35. This is absolutely stunning!! I am completely and totally impressed. I want to borrow it!!

  36. Jenny says:

    I’m speechless! Your daughter’s dress is darling and so pretty! I can’t believe it started from the before dress! It’s so chic! I love it and she looked absolutely beautiful! FBing this for sure!

  37. Wonderful transformation! I’m not sure I would’ve had that much patience at your age Madeline. Great job~

  38. Melissa H. says:

    Wow! Great job. This is awesome!

  39. Wow! I love it. What a fabulous idea. Your daughter is gorgeous, too. Thanks for linking up!

    ~Natalie

  40. Julie says:

    Hi, this is my first time here, I found your site through I Heart Naptime!

    I wish I was this crafty in high school! Your daughter did an amazing job and I feel proud of her for you!!!

    Well, off to check out other parts of your site!

  41. Alisha Keim says:

    Wow. Awesome talent. Beautiful dress.

  42. Betsy says:

    Thank you for all the super nice comments! You are making Maddie smile. {You are making me smile, too.}

    • Darling revamp of a retro dress, I must say! If your daughter has not seen the 80s classic teen-flick Pretty in Pink, I suspect it might be her new favorite movie! :) Very appropriate movie for a clever girl about another clever girl with taste, & style…

  43. Bella says:

    Unbelievable how amazing that dress turned out! Sounds like you both had incredible vision to see the potential it had. Your daughter and the dress both look lovely.

  44. Maysem says:

    All I can say is WOW!! That is truly amazing!! I found something similar at the antique mall in my area, and contemplated getting the dress. You have convinced me! Thanks for the inspiration. Ok so I said a bit more than WOW:P

  45. Christine says:

    You’ve been featured at The DIY Dreamer!! Come grab your Featured button :)
    http://thediydreamer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/from-dream-to-reality-linky-party-17.html

  46. Rachel says:

    What a great job she did! I love the transformation. And I’m sure she was the only one with a dress this unique and amazing! Way to make it your own girl!

  47. This is amazing! I love vintage – and to be able to transform this into something modern is just so cool~!
    I have a photo of me wearing a dress made in 1960 – the year I was born. http://pjgraves51.blogspot.com/2012/05/ootd-tuesday-blast-from-past.html

  48. Jess says:

    What a fabulous redo! Awesome job.

  49. B hile says:

    It’s awesome that she never gave up!!!!

  50. kayla says:

    Wow amazing job! The dress looks so beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing at Sunday Round Up! Have a great rest of the week
    -Kayla :)

  51. Jenni says:

    WOW! I am so impressed! I love everything about how it turned out. Way to keep going through the struggle — that’s the hardest part, but it’s how creativity shines through.

  52. Tammy says:

    What a fabulous makeover! Thanks for sharing :)

  53. Lesley says:

    You should be soooooo proud of yourself!! That looks fantastic! I love how the bottom turned out. Very sweet :)

  54. Featuring you tomorrow! Impressive! XO, Aimee

  55. Betsy says:

    Thank you all for your sweet comments! It is super special for Maddie to receive such wonderful compliments from people other than her mom. I think she believes me now. :)

  56. [...] 70-talsklänning omgjord till en fin ”promdress” – vilken duktig tjej som har öga för tyg och kan sy sånt där fint! [...]

  57. Sarah says:

    I have this exact dress! I found the long sleeve maxi at Goodwill and then found the short sleeved version of it at a vintage shop in Baton Rouge. So weird! It must be a Sears dress that was mass produced. I love her recreation of it! It looks so so awesome!

  58. April says:

    I wish I was that cool in high school. :-) This is gorgeous-Molly Ringwald would be proud.

  59. JJ says:

    Wow wow wow! I admit to being fully enthralled in this transformation. It is a job well done by a beautiful person!

  60. Angie says:

    This is really cool! Well done for perservering and what a gorgeous outcome.

  61. Ryan Rose says:

    That is a beautiful prom dress!

  62. [...] Prom Dress: Vintage Upcycle at The View From In Here /* Filed Under: Dresses · Tagged With: DIY dress makeover, prom dress refashion, refashion a prom dress, refashion a thrift store dress, Refashioned Dress [...]

  63. Pam says:

    An awesome refashion!!! It is hard to take a dress from one era and make it into something fresh and modern. You’ve done it perfectly!!!

  64. [...]  Vintage Dress Upcycle ~ Anna Nimmity [...]

  65. Amy says:

    Wow Wow Wow!! This is so amazing! You are so brave for taking on such a huge task for such a big day like your prom! It came out beautifully!! Bravo!

    ~Amy
    http://www.LadyMockingbird.com

  66. [...] refashioned it into one that would work for her body type. #88 Prom Dress: Vintage Upcycle by The View From In Here Her daughter did a phenomenal job at taking this 1970′s dress and turning into a gorgeous [...]

  67. Tanya Anurag says:

    This is exceptionally good and yes, your daughter is super talented to actually be able to carry out what she had thought of!

    Congrats on the CSI win! Very well deserved.

    -Tanya
    http://tanyaanurag.blogspot.in/

  68. Nat says:

    How did you make that top for the dress? I have a few older dresses at home that were given to me and I want to renew them as well!

    • Betsy says:

      Hi Nat! My daughter, Maddie, created the top out of several pieces of the fabric. Her first attempt at using a pattern to create the top failed, so she pieced together what was left. The main part of it is just a big rectangle with a twist, then she filled it in with other pieces of fabric. If the print wasn’t so busy, it would show a lot more. She didn’t use a pattern, just kept adding pieces where they would fit in. That may not be too helpful for you, but she really just winged it. Good luck!

  69. Dottie says:

    I love this story. The vintage find, and the amazing update. Kudos! Excellent!

  70. Terra says:

    Hello! Was so enchanted with this post, I just had to repost on my blog all about thrift store finds: http://thriftadrift.blogspot.com/2013/03/amazing-thrift-store-find-and-refashion.html

    What a great job on the dress! I love the shoes that Madeline picked, too. Gorgeous!

  71. Carol says:

    Your daughter’s vintage dress reminds me so much of my bridesmaid dresses, 1971. I rented them but just loved the sheer flowered fabric. I tried working with fabric like that later and gave up in frustration. Congrats to her! What did she do this year???

    • Betsy says:

      Thanks, Carol! The fabric was tricky for her, too. Luckily, the pattern made it pretty forgiving if something wasn’t perfect. She’s in college now, so there was no prom this year. :)

  72. Gorgeous! And love the heels, too. Great job on giving the dress your own style.

  73. I found this as I was sifting through all of DIY Dreamer’s pins on her features board and was blown away! Then I find out your daughter did it herself!! Amazing! I could never have tackled something like this at her age. She’s talented AND beautiful! XO

    • Betsy says:

      Aw, thanks for the sweet comment! She learned a lot on that project. It was fun to see how beautiful she looked on prom night, especially knowing how hard she worked to make the dress her own style.

  74. Lacy says:

    This is precious! I am so impressed! And your daughter is lovely :)

  75. […] Prom dress to new Prom dress. A refashioned bodice and some layering makes this dress no longer something that my mom would have worn to […]

  76. […] Prom dress to new Prom dress. A refashioned bodice and some layering makes this dress no longer something that my mom would have worn to […]

  77. Judith Graves says:

    Wow, what a doll, such a sweet smile, and so clever.

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