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Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: Before & After

Before & After | Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion

This refashion has got to be one of my faves so far! My intention was to do a high-low dropwaist dress much like this one from Camellia. To pull it off, all I needed to do was remove the sleeves, take in the sides and shorten the front hem. At least, so I thought!

I completely overlooked the gathered shoulders along with the gigantic armholes. It would’ve been nearly impossible to take apart the shoulder seams, without undoing the gathers completely.

To avoid this, I did what is known as an oversized or drop armhole instead. This is where the dress took on a form of it’s own and became what I call a high-low drop waist hybrid. I say this because the dress has a basque waist in front and a dropped waist in back, tied together with a high-low look. That’s the best way I can describe it. Hehe!


Here’s what I did:

I was so caught up in the process, that I forgot to take photos (sigh) so here’s a basic outline:

Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: Tutorial

  1. I first removed the dropped-waist portion of the dress.
  2. With that out the way, I removed a couple inches from the side seams, including the sleeves. I then finished the raw edges by turning them under twice and securing with a straight stitch.
  3. Afterwards, I overlapped the ends of the side seams and tacked them in place for the next step.
  4. Next was reattaching the drop-waist. It was now almost twice the width of the bodice, so I had to ease in the fullness. I started by folding the raw edge under 1/2 inch and pressed it in place. I then divided it into 4 equal parts (center back, center front and sides), pinning the sides together with the bodice. For the front, I took in the fullness by making an inverted pleat at the center to form a V-shaped basque waist. I then pinned it in placed (onto the right side of the bodice) and finished with a straight stitch a 1/4″ from the edge, stopping at the sides. As a finishing touch, I stitched a piece of ribbon over the stitch line.
  5. For the back, I made a gathering stitch on the drop-waist by sewing a straight stitch (with a long stitch length) 1/4 inch from the fold, from one side to the other. Pulling on the bobbin thread, I gathered the fabric until it was the same width as the back bodice. I then pinned it to the right side of the bodice, forming a slight U-shape to create the high-low effect. Lastly, I secured it with a straight stitch following the gathering stitch and done!


Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: Front

Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: Side


Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: Back

Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: Drop-Waist


Checkered High-Low Dress Refashion: High-Low Dress


It’s funny how shortcuts can often lead to new discoveries in that I didn’t have to alter the hem, following my technique for the high-low effect.

I also wanted to mention how easy it is to transition from day to night. A simple tying or untying of the waist ribbon and/or switching out my boots for heels and I’m ready to go!

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