Refashioning a Vintage Shirt-Dress

This is a dress that I found at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago:  

 

 

Aside from it's awkward length (mid-calf) and overall frumpiness, there were some things I really liked!

1. it's 100% Silk

2. it was made in Milan in the 1970's

3. get a load of these flowers!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yes, it may be a frumpy old lady dress, but I still see something in it that can be awesome. I'm not the most experienced at sewing, so this is going to be a bit of an adventure for me. My plan is to hem the bottom to a more modern length (without losing the flower detail at the bottom), lose the sleeves (to make layering easier) and do something with the waist to make the fit more flattering. Here's another picture of the dress hanging up, do you see the potential???

 

 

 

 

 

So to start out, I decided to tackle the hemline. The way I determined what length I wanted was to carefully pin the bottom of the dress while wearing it, just to mark where I would like the hemline to hit. After carefully removing the dress, I used the pin as a mark and folded the hemline up onto it's self so that the existing bottom of the dress was in line with the new pin. Where the fold was it where I decided to cut. There ended up being about a 4-5 inch band of fabric leftover, so I'll have to think about how I'm going to use that. This is what the dress looked like after cutting:

 

 

 

 

 

I got as far as sewing the entire hem before I realized that I had pinned the two pieces together wrong, and while the wrong/right sides were matching up, the seam was on the outside of the dress versus tucked neatly on the inside where no one can see it... That's about as far as I got. I spent the next couple days working away with my seam ripper, both on the hem and the sleeves, but now that we are moving in t-8 days, it's going to have to be boxed up for a while. I figured posting a teaser of this project would give me more motivation once we are all settled into our new place to get back to work!

 

What do you guys think? Does this dress have potential or am I just crazy?

 

 

I promise to post "after" pictures, maybe even some styled/model-y type ones once I am finished! I've never done that before either, so here's to trying new things!