Remake: Black and White Dress

May 12, 2014 | 22 Comments

Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend, including a most lovely Mother’s Day!

You got a little teaser of today’s dress last week…

New Dress A Day - DIY - vintage black and white dress - thrift store shopping

I’m workin’ on this lovely piece!

…and now you get to see how it turned out!

To be completely honest, it looks pretty good as is, however, the length is a bit off…

New Dress A Day - DIY - vintage black and white dress - thrift store shopping

Just eh…not in love with the length

…and there were some not so pretty spots on the top portion. The ivory was slightly discolored. Definitely not something that I’d be able to wear as is.

New Dress A Day - DIY - vintage black and white dress - thrift store shopping

Spotty times

I thought a bit of dye would do the trick to create a super cool color blocked dress!

I loved this mustard/black ensemble from Petra Karlsson’s blog

New Dress A Day - DIY - dyed vintage dress

Mustard/black combo c/o Petra Karlsson

…so I decided to go this route on the color palette. I matched my dye (RIT’s Sunshine Orange) and got to work!

New Dress A Day - DIY - Rit Dye - Sunshine Yellow

Dye time!

I created a dye bath on the stove (boiled water, added salt, turned off the heat and added the dye), wet the top of the dress completely, and then added it into the bath.

New Dress A Day - DIY - Rit Dye - Sunshine Yellow

Time to marinate.

I let the top of the dress sit in the bath for an hour to fully soak in the dye. Now a portion of the black skirt went into the dye as well, but I didn’t think that would be a problem as just the top portion would take to the color.

New Dress A Day - DIY - Rit Dye - Sunshine Yellow

Ring and let dry!

Yeah, I was completely wrong about that. The black didn’t take to the color, but some of the black ended up touching and bleeding onto the dress in the dye bath. It had an interesting tie dye-esque effect so I let it dry before trying to re-dye it a darker color. I immediately thought this was going to be an upcycle fail!

New Dress A Day - DIY - Rit Dye - vintage dress


But alas, after it dried, I was kind of digging the look! It wasn’t my original intention, but it might have turned out better than I had expected. I trimmed the skirt portion shorter, pinned it in place…

New Dress A Day - DIY - vintage dress

Cut and pinned

…and stitched a new hem before putting it on to wear.

New Dress A Day - DIY - vintage dress

Stitched and hemmed

Check out my unintentional after look…

New Dress A Day - DIY - dyed vintage dress

Happy Accident

Instead of taking it in, which would have made it completely fitted up top, I opted to use a vintage bamboo belt to cinch the waist. Plus it brought out the awesome mustardy-orange color that the top had become!

New Dress A Day - DIY - dyed vintage dress


This is such a great lesson – even when things don’t go the way you planned, there’s always room to make adjustments to “make it work”! Accidental cuts, dye mishaps, or removing too much of a seam, just allow you to be open to a new creative route.

New Dress A Day - DIY - dyed vintage dress

Short and sweet

I really love this new look! I was told it had a slight Game of Thrones-esque vibe to it which couldn’t have made me happier. Maybe I just look like a gal who needs a trio of dragons on her side.

New Dress A Day - DIY - dyed vintage dress

Dress happiness

Unplanned final look of a dress = new favorite mistake.

New Dress A Day - DIY - dyed vintage dress

Me and my shadow

Have you guys had any of these “mistakes” pop up in your crafting/upcycling/DIY-ing/daily lives? Would love to hear stories of your crafting fouls and how you overcame them…or tried!!

  • Paula Waters

    Love the sort of camo look. It turned out great.

  • Diana

    Halloween camoflague! Cool!

  • Susan

    Nice discovery! I do think accidents often lead to great things, which is why I favor freedom over rigidity. You look so pretty in that now!

  • Martha

    I think the “accident” looks better than your original idea. Very chic.

  • Sarah_H.

    Most of my “mistakes” turn out to be wadders. But you made this one work! I like it as well or better than your original idea.

  • victoria s andrews

    Love it! I thought the dye job was deliberate till you said it was a lucky mistake. Great look.

  • I think it looks like an abstract floral–awesome!

  • LinB

    We don’t call those “mistakes,” dear M! We call them “design decisions,” to make ourselves seem so much smarter and more organized than we are in real life.

  • Barbara

    What a fabulous “design element”! Love it!

  • Eileen Laurette

    Serendipity. It looks like a softened, out-of-focus foliage print. Nice!

  • Becky

    I love it! It turned out fantastic. I also must have a mustard shirt and black skirt now.

  • A Patel

    Way to MIW! Love this makeover.

  • Mary Garrett

    I like the term happy accident . . . hmm, which is also the case with penicillin, right? You are in good company!

  • michele theriot

    Yes very nice

  • brenda

    I must say that I think the happy accident turned out to be a much more flattering look than the solid color would have been. great retrieve.

  • Steph D.

    Beautiful swirling on those colors!!! Such a happy accident : )

  • ARick64

    How Beautiful!!

  • SkyeF

    I love how it did(n’t) work but is totally awesome.

  • Sue

    Love, love it.

    Am in the southwest enjoying family, warm weather, sunshine and mountains. Happy dance time.

  • Elizabeth Helen Chadwick

    The sandals really make it.

  • Jody Wallace



    Perfect happy accent!I think I like it more than the original plan!!!