Retro Remix Twin Dresses

Today we have a two-fer. That’s right, dear readers, I adopted twins.

Before- My disheveled hair really adds to the homeliness that these dresses give off. 😛

These dresses appear to have been handmade. I can say with almost complete certainty that they were birthed in the ‘60s, because of several indicators: the dolman sleeves, the textures of the fabrics, and the fabric colors. Each of these things is characteristic of the ‘60s.  The skirt fabric was also cut on the bias, so the embossed patterns of the fabrics meet in the middle in a chevron shape.

Textured fabrics

I adore the little fabric flowers at the shoulders. Brooches were popular at the time. So, perhaps, these were added to prevent the wearer from having to put a brooch on every day.

Fabric flowers

The colors would not show up correctly, no matter how many times I tried. The purple dress looks blue, but I assure you that it is a deep, yet vibrant purple.

The two colors look almost exactly the same as Joan Holloway’s dress in the picture below, from season 1 of Mad Men.  This dress of Joan’s is the first thing I thought of when I saw these dresses (Solely because of the colors, as the majority of her clothes are much more form-fitting).

Joan Holloway and Roger Sterling in Season 1 of Mad Men. I love watching this show, simply to look at and be inspired by all of the clothing!

I think these dress were made using this exact Simplicity pattern from the ‘60s.

Many things about the dresses and this pattern are the same: the set in, square armholes, the high round neck, the below elbow length, dolman sleeves. With a little skirt alteration, we’ve got a match!

I wasn’t feelin’ the blousiness of these dresses, and they seem to have been made for a fairly tall person. So, I thought, and thought about how to tackle this problem.

Finally, I came to the conclusion that I should take out the zippers in the back.

Sometimes it just feels really good to rip things out. I literally ripped the zippers from these dresses (no seam ripper involved). If you’ve never tried it, you should try ripping a zipper from something. There’s something indescribable about the way it feels—something empowering.

I then separated the bodices and the skirts of the dresses.

The results of the demolition

The plan was to cut off the excess material on the bodices, and reattach the skirts and bodices. I really wanted to put the dresses back together without having to deal with the zippers (Meaning I’d use elastic instead, for convenience sake), but the tops of the skirts were too tight…

I forged on, not allowing that to impede my vision for the dresses. Since the skirts were a-line and too long, I cut the tops of the skirts down to a wider part. That way, the elastic at the bodice-skirt seam would work.

Shortening the skirt from the top

The batwing sleeves weren’t doing it for me. I separated them from the bodice.

De-winging the dress

When everything was separated, I decided I wanted to make it interesting by mixing and matching pieces of the dresses.

I still wanted the dresses to be sleeveless and I also didn’t like the high necklines (the fabric was just too thick and stuffy). So, I trimmed down each bodice to one shoulder strap.

Neckline trimmage

In order to make the fabric flowers stand out more, I wanted to place them on the opposite colored dress. It would have taken forever to separate them from their respective dresses with a seam ripper. Since I had cut the straps containing the flowers off of the dresses, it gave me the option of simply cutting the flowers off of the straps.

Cutting the flower off

I used part of one of the sleeves in the opposite color to create a strap for the other side of the bodice.

Creating the strap

I took the bodices in about an inch on each side, sewed the raw edges of the neckline and armholes, and added the straps.

The pieces of the bodices placed together, pre-sewing.

Finally, I sewed the bodices and skirts together, and prepared to attach the elastic. However, I liked the babydoll look the dresses allowed for without the elastic. With the addition of a belt, the fit could be changed. Therefore, two types of looks would be possible.

I remembered that I needed to affix the flowers to the dresses.

Re-attaching the flower

And this is the result of the twins’ makeover. The results aren’t exactly Joan Holloway-esque, but the colors are. Maybe if she had a modern twin, she would wear these. 🙂

Double your sentiment, your merriment, double your moment of fun… Double your pleasure, double your fun… *Today’s twin makeover brought to you by Double Mint Gum*

We’re ready for our close-ups!

LOVE these dresses!

Here are some individual pics of the front and back.

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About Becca

I am a self-taught seamstress, and I love to create unique women’s clothing. This blog is a record of the hodgepodge of sewing projects that occupy my time. Reconstruction projects are my favorite, but I also create clothing from my own designs using both recycled and new materials.
This entry was posted in clothing, diy, dress, indie, recycled, retro, sewing, thrifted, upcycled, vintage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Retro Remix Twin Dresses

  1. Sarah Lewis says:

    You are simply amazing! You might want to consider adding the cost of your project to your blog. That might inspire some other folk to get to the thrift store and find something to ‘make over’!! Love it!!

  2. Laurie Laffoon says:

    Really cute!! I love them!

  3. Aunt Anne says:

    You, my dear girl, are quite talented to say the least!!! I’m admiring your creativity and ability to envision results!

  4. Trudy Callan says:

    Wow! Quite impressive and very cute.

    Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.

    Trudy
    http://www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

  5. laura says:

    Hi, I’m from Romania and I just discovered your blog. I love it that you pay so much attention to details and all your dresses fit like a glove. It’s a pleasure to see that you take the time to make everything just perfect, with a touch of your personality (kind of like a signature). Keep up the good work, I’ll certainly be watching you!

  6. Brittany Laffoon says:

    I love them!!! Becca you are so talented at reviving things. I wish I had skill such amazing skill!! Love you sis!

  7. Mona says:

    I think the twin dresses are fabulous and flirty and I love the way they fit you! Congrats!

  8. Wendy in Portland says:

    LOVE what you did with these 80s dresses. You are so creative!! I can’t imagine looking at those originals and ending up with such fun versions! You inspire me.

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