The sincerest form of flattery

Altering RTW, clothes-hacking and upcycling; whilst I have dabbled in all of these, they tend to be a little outside of my comfort zone. Whilst many discover a passion for sewing through altering op-shop finds, I have always preferred to sew from scratch, as it were. However, as I’ve been lucky enough to receive a few windfalls of pre-loved clothes from friends and family over the last year or two, I’ve slowly been building up my alteration skills in adapting clothes to my shape and style. Whilst I’ve now successfully reworked a few pieces with basic fixes, this time I took on a slightly more ambitious project!


I received this dress from my auntie a couple of years ago as she’d bought it online but didn’t fit. It didn’t fit me either, but she thought I might like to see if I could do something with it. I loved the fabric but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, so it’s been lurking in my sewing cupboard ever since. Flash forward to just a few months ago, when I saw the fabulous Nora Finds wearing this Stop Staring dress on Instagram. My second thought (after, my god, I need this dress) was I’VE SEEN THAT FABRIC BEFORE. And, lo and behold…I’m convinced it’s almost an exact match!


The before!

The first step was obviously to compare the elements of both the dress I had and the dress I wanted to emulate: my dress was longer and sleeveless, and was also extremely short and tight in the bodice on me (as you may be able to see in the photos!). However in my favour was that the skirt was already gathered and full, and I established that it was full enough to sit well over a petticoat. I decided that I could use the extra length I would remove from the skirt to make sleeves similar to the one on the TopVintage dress, after cutting along the shoulder seam to allow the bodice to drop and sit properly on my body. I also removed the strings used in the decorative side ties and cut the loops off.


These alterations went quite smoothly, for all that they weren’t much more than roughly hacking away at the dress with fabric scissors. I also had to remove the lining in the skirt portion of the dress as the way it was attached to the zip prevented a petticoat from sitting over it and the lining was too narrow to have a petticoat under it. Although this left the lower part of the dress completely sheer, I wasn’t fussed as I figured I’d always be wearing either a petticoat or a slip underneath anyway. The sleeves were just gathered rectangles of the leftover skirt fabric – I couldn’t figure out how to shape them to get them closer to the other dress, so if anyone can point me in the right direction I may re-do them! But overall I’m super happy with how it turned out, I think it definitely captures the look of the TopVintage dress 😀


I still have some of the floral mesh fabric leftover, so I’m thinking hard about how I could incorporate it – maybe add a twist feature over the bust, or perhaps an accessory? Any suggestions appreciated!

Anyone else successfully altered a piece of RTW into a different RTW garment? 😛

Miss Maddy xx



  1. Michelle · July 22

    Maddy, that is lovely! What a beautiful dress. It is so much more flattering on you than the first dress. Just lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. reganlouise17 · July 22

    Super cute! Refashioning wins are always great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ooobop · July 23

    Great work. It’s gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Miss Kitty Heart · July 23

    Super cute dress!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great upcycle/refashion! Perhaps a matching headpiece with the left over fabric? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miss Maddy · August 18

      Great idea! I was thinking something along those lines and I just borrowed a book on millinery from the library…watch this space!


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