Once Upon A Nerdy Eater

A place for all kinds of food, crafts and general nerdery

The Dress That Didn’t Fit

Hi All,

I’ve been a naughty blogger and not posted anything for ages. Unfortunately, that’s because lots of stuff was happening but not enough to bother you guys with 🙂 However, I have now finally finished one project so I can actually post pictures for it 🙂

As you may remember, I am due to be a bridesmaid for my best mate. Unfortunately when we got the dresses, they didn’t fit. As I know she really loved the dress, I decided to take on a craft challenge and turn it from a zipper-back to a corset-back. Biggest sewing project to date and major panic factor to get it right for such a big day.

Now, I had absolutely no idea how to go about this. I knew I would need to create holes/loops for the ribbon and a bit to hide the part of my back that could be seen. Other than that? Nope. No idea. No frame of reference for this. So I used that wonderful tool that is the World Wide Web. I came across this amazing blog by 365days2simplicity and it gives you a brilliant tutorial on how to do it. That is the PROPER way of doing it. But here’s my journey 🙂


Tape Measure
Dress that doesn’t fit
Needle and Thread (or if you are snazzier than I am, a sewing machine)
Eye and Eyelet.


I know in this picture, there is a mini-sewing machine. I tried it on a few and realised I was too scared and rubbish to trust myself with it. Therefore, I reverted to hand-sewing everything.

Stage 1 – The Back Panel
Measure the size of the gap to fill. I entrusted the man-one to help me here. He zipped me up as much as possible and then measured the width of the gap from the top of the dress. After that, he measured the length of the gap from the top of the dress to the top of the zip.



I then added 2 inches to the width, and 1 inch to the length. The original tutorial called for a triangle to be sewn. I admit, I was too scared in case it came loose, so I took the coward’s way out and sewed a rectangle lol. To do this, I doubled the width measurement and made one long rectangle. Folding it over on the halfway mark so that the shiny sides of the fabric were together, I pinned it in place. This is known as “right-sides together”. I then began to sew with a simple backstitch. Whilst I know other people would have used an alternative stitch, it felt strongest and the most comfortable for me 🙂


Here is the fabric pinned. Sorry about the quality of the pictures. The light kept changing on me lol. I left a hole at the far edge so I could then turn the fabric “right-sides out” so that the shiny sides were on the outside.

Stage 2 – Ribbon Loops

This was honestly the most irritating and fiddly part of the whole process. It was here I thought I would try and speed things up with the sewing machine. Apart from annoying the man-one whilst he was trying to watch TV with the droning noise, I ended up having to re-sew them all by hand. Rage and grr.

I took the measurement for the length of the gap and made 1 loop of fabric for every inch of length. As I needed the same number of loops on both sides, I had to double the number. As the length was about 14 inches, this was a LOT of loops to sew. In hindsight, I didn’t need that many lol.

I started by measuring rectangles of fabric, 2 inches wide (so they would be 1 inch when folded in half) and 4 inches long. After cutting all of these pieces, I pinned them “Right-sides together” by the shortest edge.



Here’s a pile of them pinned. So many loops lol!


Here’s the attempt at sewing them by machine. I added another row handsewn to strengthen them. So pleased I did. Wouldn’t have trusted their strength otherwise. I then had to turn these all “right-sides out”. This was the fiddly part. I ended up taking them on the train to work with me so I could work on them whilst I was commuting.

Stage 3 – Taking the zip out – EEP!

This is terrifying but it’s the sign you’re getting to the end. I got the man-one to zip me up again and stick a safety pin to mark it off. I then made a number of stitches over the point on both sides of the zipper so the zip wouldn’t come off. At this point, I started to take the zip out.

Once the zip was completely out, I sewed the rough edges of the fabric together. The original tutorial said that this is where the edges of the loops were going to go, but I was honestly terrified that the dress was going to fall apart that I just sewed it close to be on the safe side. I admit, I am the world’s biggest coward.

I then sewed the eye and eyelet into place at the top of the remaining zip.

As you can see from the picture below, I pinned the loops in place. I ended up only using 6 on either side. So much for 14 lol! I had put the backing in for this picture, just so I could see how it would all look together.

When I sewed them into place, I made sure to stop before I came through the outer fabric of the dress. That way, the stitches won’t show on the back of the dress.

Once the loops were sewn, I thread the ribbon through. Below is the finishes product.



I popped the backing in again, for the full effect 🙂

Hope you guys like.

I’m rather proud of this, if I do say so myself 😀

Cheers for now,



2 comments on “The Dress That Didn’t Fit

  1. Bethany

    That looks magnificent. Well done you!! X

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This entry was posted on 03/13/2014 by in Crafts, diy, fashion and tagged , , , , , , , .
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