The Refashioners 2018: Linen Buttondown Dress

Hello all! The theme for The Refashioners this year is ‘inspired by’ and I took a dress donated to me by Grandpa which was much too big for me and made it into the button down dress I’ve been lusting after all summer. You can see the inspiration image on pinterest here.


You can see a picture of what I started with below. It was much too big in the bodice and the waist so I decided to remove the bodice, take it apart completely, cut out a new one, take in the skirt so it fit at the waist and then reattach skirt to the bodice. Easy! A few years ago I would have instantly chopped a fair bit of length off the skirt but I love the length of the skirt as it is now.


I had just enough to cut out a strapless princess seam bodice from my existing front and back pattern pieces, then it was put together. I tried it on and made a few tweaks so that the fit was as good as I could get it. Then it was time to tackle the skirt.


The skirt was a bit more complicated to alter than it could have been because the pockets got in the way a bit. I ended up having to take them out so I could take the skirt in properly and heavily debated putting them back in, but it was well worth the extra time. I do wish that I’d made the pockets a bit bigger though because fitting my phone in them is a bit of a squeeze.


The only problem with the length of the skirt is that there’s quite a lot of fabric in it, which in turn makes it quite heavy. The weight of the skirt then dragged down the bodice, making the waist seam uneven. To battle that I added in a ribbon waist stay to stabilize the waist seam, anchoring the ribbon at each seam, fastening with a couple of hooks and eyes in the centre front.


The insides were all overlocked and the top edge bound. I think that there’s possibly too much fullness in the centre back of the skirt but I’m not worried enough about it to change it. I wonder what would have happened if I had pleated out the excess in the skirt instead of removing it at the side seams. It would have meant that I wouldn’t have had to take the pockets out and then put them back in. Oh, the gift of hindsight!


This dress premiered for a concert at the Royal Albert Hall and it was just perfect for the occasion. It’s one of those pieces of clothing that motivates me to walk a little taller and dare I say, even strut a little. The power of clothing eh!


Thanks very much for reading and to Portia for hosting the refashioners again this year!

Lauren xx