It’s not that there is anything ‘wrong’ with my DKNY dress purchased four years ago,

photo-17 but if I was shopping today I doubt I would buy it. Notice the long arms, below the knee hem and extra ease in the skirt.

I noticed none of these issues when I bought the dress. The wool jersey dress fit well enough and $200 seemed reasonable.

B u t   t h a t   w a s   i n   2 0 0 9 ! !


Do you know that I have not bought ONE dress since I finished my Ready-to-Wear fast on August 31, 2012?

I suppose I might buy another dress one of these days, but for now the education I am receiving from sewing dresses for myself continues in full force.

If a dress doesn’t fit it’s not attractive.

I wore this dress for two years and put it away when I saw a picture of myself in the dress. I looked unstylish and dowdy.


 Now I know that this dress simply needed a gentle refashion.


I began by removing 1½ inches from each side of the skirt to reduce the ease. I did this by running the dress through the serger.

Three inches were cut off of the sleeves, then turned and hemmed on the machine.

The length of the dress was shortened by 2 ½ inches. I machine hemmed the dress using a double needle.

 Now I have a new dress. My new hairstyle is compliments of the wind ;)


 I think it’s a perfect dress to wear to a literary luncheon as well as my book club tomorrow.


It’s hard to believe that such an easy lesson took so long to learn, but it’s one I won’t forget.

An inch of fabric can equal a mile of style :)


Until soon :)

PS…. MIF = Make It Fit

About these ads
This entry was posted in clothing designers, Easy Sewing, Ready to Wear Fast, Refashioning Clothes, remaking clothes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

103 Responses to DKNY – RTW – MIF

  1. Julie Starr says:

    Another great closet save by Sarah! Love the shot of your windy ‘do, too (you should use a fan for your photo shoots!) I also have book club tomorrow, although we’re reading Don Quixote-ugh. Yours sounds much more fun.

  2. Kathie Bennett says:

    Classic and sophisticated

  3. Cissie Wellons says:

    Terrific refashion. Not that I think it would be possible for you to look dowdy or frumpy ever, but you really MIW this time!

  4. The dress looks much better now. I hope you enjoyed your book!

  5. Andrea says:

    Your alterations make your dress fabulous, Sarah. Love it. Also I’m curious of your thoughts on ‘Lean In’. It’s on my reading list.

    • Thank you, Andrea! I’m enjoying the book but have not finished it. I appreciate smart women encouraging others to succeed. She has a unique perspective and is in a position to encourage and inspire women to live to their highest potential. Hope you’ll get to read it soon :)

  6. Elena says:

    Oh my — after my year fast (thanks to your inspiration) the first things I bought were workout clothes, a sweater, and jeans. Now that I think about it, still no dresses. I need to get back to that machine! Thanks for the motivation.

    You look like the editor of a fashion magazine or something in your sleek new do thanks to the wind. Definitely power hair. The refashion makes a world of difference.

  7. The dress became much better after your little “intervention”, sometimes even small changes make a big difference. You look great in the dress!

  8. Peggy Morrison says:

    Sarah…you are something else…and make me smile every time I read your posts!! And, you look fabulous!!

    Peggy :)

    Sent from my iPhone


  9. Cindy C. says:

    Beautiful refashion! You achieved a sensational fit and the new length is very flattering on you, not to mention right on trend. Lead the way, Maestro!

  10. Tereza says:

    That is amazing. I bought a button up shirt recently and until I looked at the back I thought I had a good shirt. The back waist length is so long! Now I have to decided how to fix it. I used to think a belt hid this problem just fine. Little did I know!

  11. gingermakes says:

    Wow! This looks fabulous! Man, aren’t you glad you know how to sew?!

  12. Ruth says:

    You look hot in your “new” dress!

  13. Laura Casey says:

    Oh yes, the changes are terrific! I think you learn a whole bunch about yourself when you sew for yourself….your body type, creating a unique look with fashion and fabric….”you can have anything if you sew for yourself…..” my Nana used to tell me… sister and I still sew, had big time careers and when we retired we went right back to sewing for ourselves…..still love it to this day! Wearing a new top tomorrow, Maci Tilton pattern, with my basic slacks out of ponte knit. LOVETHE CHANGES YOU MADE…..
    Laura @ Waechters

  14. Amanda S. says:

    You are the queen of refashioning! I have all this stuff bought second hand that I have great hopes of turning into something awesome, but I never get around to it because I hate alterations. Anyway, the dress looks great!

  15. Becky says:

    Fabulous as always!

  16. Sherry says:

    Ever so much improved. I haven’t bought ready to wear anything in years. Get a much better fit sewing my own.

  17. Myra says:

    Beautiful transformation Sarah! This dress is a perfect fit now! I know you purchased this dress but I believe I have seen this pattern out there too! I love it so much on you, I may have to go through my pattern stash to see if I can find it!

  18. Alethia says:

    Beautiful changes! And, Ilove that saying, “An inch of fabric can equal a mile of style” .

  19. seweverythingblog says:

    Just goes to show — everyone should learn to sew :). I have refrained from buying RTW since January 2010…..
    You looked good in the pre-adjustment picture, too. But post-adjustment is fabulous.

  20. Cheryl T Lemmons says:

    Looks like a new dress. When you serged the side seams, did you taper down to the waistline?

  21. Judy Smith says:

    I love how you reconstructed that dress and accessoried it! You are one classy lady!

  22. Angela says:

    I love your refashioning posts — so inspiring!

  23. laurahoj says:

    I love the refashion. I don’t think RTW will fit most people without a little fixing. I am so glad that Claire featured you over at

  24. sewexhausted says:

    Wow… amazing to SEE the difference- and that was NOT a cheap dress in my opinion! Nice save! ~Laurie

    • LOL! It wasn’t a cheap dress in my opinion either – just showing how my entire concept of buying RTW has changed. If I’m going to spend $$$$ on a garment the fit must be spot on and flattering :) Many thanks for your comment, Laurie!

  25. Night and day difference! It’s amazing how much a few little changes make in how something looks on you. You’ve improved your DVF immensely! (Now how many people can say THAT?!)

    Well done!

  26. Amanda says:

    Yes, I liked it originally though until I saw your alterations! So much better! You look great. You are always so stylish!

    • Thank you, Amanda! Funny how a nip and tuck can make a huge difference. I enjoyed looking at your 2013 dresses – very pretty indeed :) :)

      • Amanda says:

        Thanks, I love dresses too! I have some fabric to make another one! I have seen one on burdastyle so am planning my own version. You have such elegance in your creations. I tend to be sticking to shifts at the minute with variations. You are more adventurous with yours. I think that may be your expertise with fitting!

  27. CherryPix says:

    I am definitely going to get MIF-fed with some of RTW (and early me-mades)…I bet MIF becomes another sewing blog iconic term!

  28. Louisam says:

    Love it! I have many dresses from Anthropology that need some MIF… inspired me to look in my closet. Is funny, but since I got back to sewing full time, I continuously wear the dresses I have made this past 3 months rather than the dresses that are in my closet.
    You look favulous

    • Thank you, Louisa! I did the same thing when I started sewing again. I even forgot about some of my RTW clothes for a while. It’s a great feeling to comfortably wear clothes you have made, huh?

  29. sharon says:

    Well like they say, what’s old is new. Good job on the refashion.

  30. Roberta says:

    Great job! I love that you were willing to make it work and now it is better than the original.

  31. blare says:

    The wrap-dress silhouette is also my go-to style. I think it is most flattering for my curvy shape. I was inspired with your project that I went and picked out three blouses from my closet that I think could use some touching-up in fit. MIW – I love it. That will be my new mantra. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  32. Karla Bruno says:

    Vouge 1257 — same DKNY dress, if you ever want to make it yourself in some faboo fabric.

  33. Great job! You look great in this refashioned dress.
    This is alwasy what make me not buying RTW garments…. too many alterations… It is cheaper to
    make a new one.

  34. velosewer says:

    I little slicing here, a little hemming there and you have another brand new dress that look divine. What a lovely refashioning you’d done Sarah. And your sewing skills are increasing in leaps and bounds.

  35. sewdooley says:

    Wow, the dress looks so much better with your alterations. It’s amazing how much you learn about fit and proportion when you make your own garments. Pity those who don’t sew.

    • Thank you! I agree…. not everyone has an interest or the time to sew, but I too pity those who could benefit from sewing and for some reason think they can’t sew. I seem to constantly meet people who cannot move beyond their first unpleasant sewing experience as a teenager.

      • B says:

        Unpleasant teenage sewing experiences, or some kind of societal atmosphere that places “sewing” as a pre-feminist and thus anti-feminist. It has always puzzled me when I encounter women my age who are PROUD they can’t sew (or cook), when some of the more powerful and accomplished women I know do one or both.

  36. Emily O'Brien says:

    GIRL. You are killin’ it!

  37. Sharon says:

    How true is “An inch of fabric can equal a mile of style” love your new dress. I purchased my first dress late last year as the fit was perfect and so was the colour which is so rare for me when I was only shopping for ideas.

  38. Jean says:

    Lovely to see you putting your sewing skills to work to save this dress. Frumpy to fabulous. You have inspired me to go and see if I can rescue anything in the back of my wardrobe.

  39. Joen says:

    Looks great! Now

  40. Lori says:

    Perfect transformation. I made a jacket recently and knew I would never wear it, so using you as my inspiration and motivation, I unstitched the jacket and made myself a Datura top that I know I will wear and love.

  41. Sheree says:

    Once you sew, it certainly spoils you on getting a good fit. I think we all put up with fitting issues on RTW that we would never accept on our own “makes”. I also find that I now notice more faults on RTW like stripes and prints not matching up at the seams!

  42. Maggie Edger says:

    And, you are styling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A Maggie

  43. angela says:

    Beautiful! The alterations make the dress look stunning on you. I have been pulling things from the back of my closet and altering them lately. I wonder what took me so long. It makes a world of difference. If I can’t alter it, and it doesn’t fit right, it’s out of here.

  44. Catherine says:

    Ha, I’ve got a muslin of that dress cut out and ready to go

  45. justine says:

    What a.great save.I went looking for a dress at the outlets today and was shocked at the bad quality of DKNY. What happened? Sewing for myself.

    • Thank you, Justine :) Outlet clothes are made by a different factory with cheaper fabric than what you find in a department store. A Nordstrom DKNY is a completely different product than the outlet DKNY even if the style is the same. ;)

  46. what a great refashion Sarah – I’m sure you’ll get at least another $200 of wear out of it now :-)

  47. Beckie says:

    I loooooove your shoes!! (and the dress!!)

  48. Alex Carr says:

    Wind swept hair and dark glass. You look like a woman of mystery. Like you could be a man stealer.

  49. Carol says:

    This is a really telling post…. the dress as you bought it would be acceptable to most, but when restyled is really comes alive as a design. Looks oh so sophisticated! I so often think this when I look at the Vogue licensed versions of runway designs… when you see the original it is wonderful, but often on the envelope the Vogue version looks quite pedestrian. The difference is in the proportions, and of course it helps to be modelled on someone who is very tall and slender. Your remake of the RTW version has inspired me for the pattern.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s