07 June 2011

Customized

Nearly everyone asked if this dress is vintage today; no, its not but I treated it as though it might have been. I bought it almost 2 years ago at a Betsey Johnson outlet store. The buttons were hanging by threads and some were even missing, there were puffed sleeves on it big enough that Anne Shirley might have even thought them a bit much. It was on sale for $50 and it was going to need work but I just couldn't pass up the scalloped detail of the trim, the prim pleats in the front or the waist-cinching tie in the back. I plunked down the money and set to work.
I sewed the tiny floral detailed wooden buttons back on one by one, and it would be simple enough to wear a brooch in place of the missing one. Today I wore a bumblebee I found at a flea market this weekend.
Unfortunately the dress sat in the back of my closet for a long, long time. I tried it on often enough, but I just couldn't picture myself walking into work with huge 80's puffy sleeves. It just wasn't going to happen. Finally, like a giant headsmack I realized that by taking the sleeves off and I'd end up with a stunning sleeveless dress in an eye popping color. I have been altering vintage clothes by hemming, adding and removing all sorts of things for years. New clothes go to the tailor to get fitted. It never really occurred to me to mess with the actual design of a dress I bought new until now.
*EDIT: I brought it to the tailor! The extent of my sewing ends at hemming!
Customized Betsey Johnson dress, vintage bee brooch, Kork Ease sandals, Pinzon bag (on bike) and Essie Candy Apple Mint and Mod Squad, 1979 Women's Schwinn Collegiate

60 comments

  1. You look absolutely beautiful--- you'd never know that the dress was less than perfect.

    I loved the 'card', and I can't wait for my first surprise to my new address! I really do adore you!

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  2. It is a super gorgeous dress, you did well transforming it! -Hope you took before and after shots!

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  3. This dress is STUNNING! I love how you altered it, and the little bee brooch is so cute and cool looking! Beautiful photos.

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  4. the dress totally does look vintage. i guess its got that vintage feel. love the color! that shade of blue is my favorite!

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  5. This dress is lovely- all the better for having an interesting story to go along with it! I also love the setting of these pictures with the flowery garden and bike! So springtime!

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  6. your alterations made this dress perfect!
    i absolutely love the little bee brooch!

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  7. I love the little bee brooch! It is so cute and suits the dress well!

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  8. I love what you did to that dress! The color is beautiful and it looks perfect without sleeves. Such a cute bee pin too! You look great in this dress

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  9. ah, this dress is perfect, and the backstory makes me a zillion percent more impressed! you did a great job, it looks perfect on you and I love these photos. you are gorgeous!

    xoxo

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  10. That dress is absolutely gorgeous! I sooo need to get onto altering things; though my mother and grandmother seem to have skipped out on teaching me machine sewing--perhaps I'll go harrass Albert's grandma! And the bee brooch is a fantastic addition. Man, I'm actually inspired. Too bad I have to go work on my thesis now.

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  11. You look wonderful! That dress is great.

    Have a nice day!

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  12. You did an amazing job on mending the dress, it looks gorgeous - definitely worth the effort! That's the best thing about having some sewing skills - being able to rescue clothes that aren't quite right, and making them exactly how you want them to be :) x

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  13. that dress is gorgeous! I love it and the colour, your so talented with all the alterations, I know I would just end up make a huge mess. it looks so perfect on you

    http://blogoftheprettythings.blogspot.com/

    xxx

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  14. This dres is just gorgeous. Love the colour if it.

    C x
    Have you check out my current giveaway?
    http://memiorsofalittlethingcalledlife.blogspot.com/

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  15. This dress is stunning! Adore the little bug-button!
    xo

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  16. That dress is a stunner! Excellent idea with the customisation.

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  17. Youre so talented dear!! Removing sleeves is way out of my league! The dress looks divine on your - the colour - the scalloped details and of course that cute little bumble bee! x

    www.christie86.blogspot.com

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  18. Oh my, what an amazing customization! I keep trying to imagine the huge puff sleeves and this seems to much better. I adore the scallop trim and the colour and the way you put the brooch as a button! Lovely.

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  19. I love how you totally made this your own - and it looks amazing!

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

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  20. that dress and its colour is gorgeous and I can totally see why people would think it was vintage. You look amazing!

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  21. Lovely dress! It's such a nice colour and how cute is that fly/bumblebee button. Great job you did with it.
    It's an amazing skill, sewing, it makes you transform pieces you otherwise never would've bought. I can't get enough of it and it's so fulfilling :)
    X

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  22. Good eye! I can't envision that with giant sleeves, haha, but it does look gorgeous sleeveless. The brooch is such a lovely touch, too :)

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  23. I love this dress! It looks straight from the 40s. And what a gorgeous royal blue.

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  24. ooohh my god I love it. Such a good purchase even if you had to do a bunch of adjustments. It is fabulous now. the bumblebee is the most perfect touch!!

    also i got your postcard!!! it is hanging next to my computer at work. :) We totally have to hang out next time I'm in NY!! My best friend is gonna be working outside of the city in August so I'm gonna try to go down then if i can wrangle up the funds! It would be SO fun to chill!!! love xoxo

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  25. that dress is so gorgeous; I love the bee!

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  26. Wow that dress is beautiful. I will have to bear this post in mind next time I see sleeves that I don't really fancy :) x

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  27. Wow what a gorgeous dress - that brooch is a lovely addition x

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  28. I LOVE this! Such a pretty color! I'm glad you altered it...it sounded pretty wackadoo before! Oh Betsy.

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  29. My goodness, you did an excellent job transforming this dress into what it is now. Note to self: learn to sew!

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  30. Beautiful! Love that bee!
    I guess it never really occurred to me either to totally alter a dress. Although I am thinking about altering one (having it altered) that I bought at the flea market the other week. I had a super bad day and just bought it out of frustration and now I don't really like it that much :( It also has super puffy arms! I was thinking of taking it a apart to make a skirt and blouse out of it. I don't know...we'll see :)

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  31. awww Happy Honey. . .Bee on your dress. how cool this dress is. It does look vintage. It is very very pretty!! I love the buttons and am glad you took this dress out from the back of the closet.

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  32. Oh my, this is absolutely beautiful. I love the colour and the buttons and the collar and just everything...

    xx

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  33. Brilliant! The dress is absolutely stunning. The color is perfect on you and those buttons are just the cutest thing ever:)

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  34. Lovely dress!! I love the button down front and the colour is absolutely perfect on you =) Also I love your hair too!
    http://xrebelangelx.blogspot.com/

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  35. ohmigosh....everything.is.just.so.pretty....

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  36. Don't know if you're a Twin Peaks fan or not, but I just realized in these photos that you look so much like the Laura Palmer character. There is actually another character who comes along in, I think the second season, Madi, who is Laura's cousin, basically the dark haired version of Lara. Anyhow, had to mention it!

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  37. That dress is amazing! I love it with the little bumblebee pin :D Great nail polish too :D

    M xo

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  38. This dress is awesome <3

    missy-daisy.com

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  39. Don't know if you're a Twin Peaks fan or not, but I just realized in these photos that you look so much like the Laura Palmer character. There is actually another character who comes along in, I think the second season, Madi, who is Laura's cousin, basically the dark haired version of Lara. Anyhow, had to mention it!

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  40. Beautiful! Love that bee!
    I guess it never really occurred to me either to totally alter a dress. Although I am thinking about altering one (having it altered) that I bought at the flea market the other week. I had a super bad day and just bought it out of frustration and now I don't really like it that much :( It also has super puffy arms! I was thinking of taking it a apart to make a skirt and blouse out of it. I don't know...we'll see :)

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  41. I LOVE this! Such a pretty color! I'm glad you altered it...it sounded pretty wackadoo before! Oh Betsy.

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  42. Oh my, this is absolutely beautiful. I love the colour and the buttons and the collar and just everything...

    xx

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  43. ooohh my god I love it. Such a good purchase even if you had to do a bunch of adjustments. It is fabulous now. the bumblebee is the most perfect touch!!

    also i got your postcard!!! it is hanging next to my computer at work. :) We totally have to hang out next time I'm in NY!! My best friend is gonna be working outside of the city in August so I'm gonna try to go down then if i can wrangle up the funds! It would be SO fun to chill!!! love xoxo

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  44. I love how you totally made this your own - and it looks amazing!

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

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  45. that dress is gorgeous! I love it and the colour, your so talented with all the alterations, I know I would just end up make a huge mess. it looks so perfect on you

    http://blogoftheprettythings.blogspot.com/

    xxx

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  46. You look wonderful! That dress is great.

    Have a nice day!

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  47. ah, this dress is perfect, and the backstory makes me a zillion percent more impressed! you did a great job, it looks perfect on you and I love these photos. you are gorgeous!

    xoxo

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  48. your alterations made this dress perfect!
    i absolutely love the little bee brooch!

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  49. This dress is STUNNING! I love how you altered it, and the little bee brooch is so cute and cool looking! Beautiful photos.

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  50. You look wonderful! That dress is great.

    Have a nice day!

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  51. I love how you totally made this your own - and it looks amazing!

    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  52. that dress is gorgeous! I love it and the colour, your so talented with all the alterations, I know I would just end up make a huge mess. it looks so perfect on you

    http://blogoftheprettythings.blogspot.com/

    xxx

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  53. awww Happy Honey. . .Bee on your dress. how cool this dress is. It does look vintage. It is very very pretty!! I love the buttons and am glad you took this dress out from the back of the closet.

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  54. I LOVE this! Such a pretty color! I'm glad you altered it...it sounded pretty wackadoo before! Oh Betsy.

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  55. that dress is so gorgeous; I love the bee!

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  56. Good eye! I can't envision that with giant sleeves, haha, but it does look gorgeous sleeveless. The brooch is such a lovely touch, too :)

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  57. You look wonderful! That dress is great.

    Have a nice day!

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  58. You look absolutely beautiful--- you'd never know that the dress was less than perfect.

    I loved the 'card', and I can't wait for my first surprise to my new address! I really do adore you!

    ReplyDelete

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