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Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Before & After

Before & After | Paisley Maxi Dress Reversible Refashion

I picked up this maxi dress a while back, though I wasn’t a big fan of the shirring (i.e. rows of gathers using elasticized threads) along the bust. What had me sold was the print. Isn’t it funny how a print can greatly influence a purchase?!

Anyways, the more I wore it, the more I felt the style didn’t suit me. It just didn’t flatter my figure…more like flattened it! So when the shirring was in need of repair, that was my cue for a DIY!

Here’s what I did:

Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Tutorial

  1. First, I removed half the shirring and left the other half, to be used as the waistband for the skirt. With the dress folded in half lengthwise, I measured from the top to my desired length for the skirt and cut.
  2. The waist was a little too big so I improvised by making a pleat on either side of the skirt following the printed lines on the fabric. I then finished the waistband with elastic and stitched the hem.
  3. For the top, I took the bottom half of the dress and undid the side seams so I was left with 2 pieces. One I used for the cowl side and the other for the drawstring halter. For the cowl neck, I laid out 1 piece folded in half, with the “hem of the dress” to the top. I then placed the armhole of a tank top on the opposite side of the fold, at a slight angle. The reason for this is, when the cowl falls/drapes, the shoulder & armhole will fall in place…if that makes sense.
  4. Next I cut along the armhole and shoulder of the tank, leaving 1/2″ allowance. Since I was using straps for the top, I only needed 1 1/2″ in place of the shoulder.
  5. As for the halter, I laid out the second piece of fabric also folded in half. I then took the tank top, folding it in half lengthwise with the neck folded under. Once I did that, I placed it along the fold of the fabric and outlined the partial armhole, side seam and cut.
  6. Lastly I cut a couple strips from the leftovers and made the strap and head scarf. With all the pieces ready to go, I assembled the top by stitching the side seams, armholes and top of the halter. I then ran the strap through the halter, attached it to the cowl and finished the hem. Done!
Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Halter Top Set


Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Cowl Back Set


Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Cowl Top Set


Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Halter Back Set

Paisley Maxi Dress Refashion: Halter Top Set


I’m all for versatility, so naturally I went for an outfit that was reversible. I like the structured look that the pleats added to the skirt. I gotta admit, this was my first attempt at doing a cowl neck. I took a few shortcuts but I’m pleased with the turnout. Makes for a dramatic statement indeed.

Thoughts? Not so easy, I know. Which look is your fav?


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