Re-design With Lace And Crochet: A Summer Dress Makeover – Eco Fashion Sewing

Re-design With Lace And Crochet: A Summer Dress Makeover

By Mariana Kirova

This article includes a video tutorial and explains how to re-design with lace & crochet and make fabulous summer dress makeover. The re-styling has never been more fun with so wonderful outcome at the end!

Why To Re-design?

The dress from this project is a teal dress with white accent mainly the straps and on the empire line under the bust, with some embroidery at the top centre part. This casual frock is very comfortable to wear, from soft cotton material. Definitely valuable summer piece in the wardrobe.

Because the general design is very good, there's no need to change its features, cut or redo. The white accent looks lovely against the teal colour, the empire line creates very flattering feminine silhouette. So, all this won't be changed.

However, the dress looks boring and too ordinary. It needs something to appear more stylish and interesting. The best for this dress is to re-design it by adding some embellishment.


The dress BEFORE the makeover


There is only one issue that needs to be resolved when re-designing. The dress doesn't fit well at the back on the empire line.

Because the elastic at the back is too loose, it doesn't look good when it's on the body. Not a problem! This can be fixed, hopefully, without much fuss;)

Check if your dress also needs some small adjustments that needs to be done and include them when considering what to change.

Enhancing the look of our clothing with embellishment is one of the best and easiest way to love it & wear it again!

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3 Steps For This Summer Dress Makeover

There are 3 simple steps to do this transformation:

1. Find a dress you love, yet you avoiding wearing it because it’s too "basic" or “something is missing in the design”;

2. Look around for crochet or lace materials to enrich the look of the dress (or any other decoration, if you don't like these). Then play with the options how to re-style it until you find exactly what you want to do;

3. Make it happen - sew your re-design with lace and crochet and end up with a new beautiful outfit this summer!

Below is the entire video, including the design and sewing phases (this time I was lucky with quite windy day here in Western Australia ;).

Re-designing The Dress

The Materials

For this particular project, when I looked through my stash I found materials that match very well the accent white colour (probably, the only plus of a good full of stuff stash;). I found white crochet table cover, already cut for another project. Also, some crochet alike ribbons and a fine lace, real vintage beauty.

Some of this materials I'll use to make some of the lines bolder, other to add and enrich the look. Looks really easy summer dress makeover, without cutting or redoing anything on the garment itself. It is great because all this re-design with lace and crochet is so much in trend (no wonder, looks really romantic, feminine and beautiful!).

What Elements And Lines To Re-design

The top embroidery over the bust is very good feature. A white accent there enlarges the bust (lucky who doesn't need that;). There I'm adding a piece from the crochet cover. I'm also adding some flowers from the crochet on the skirt. That will make the skirt more interesting, but also will integrate the design. Adding here and there similar type of embellishment will give the impression of "completeness" of the look.

The white crochet type of ribbon is going under the bust over the empire line. Stitched at the front up to the side seams, but loose at the back (to fit different body measurement, which is the idea of the sheering at the back of the dress). When the ribbon is tied up the issue with the loose fit at the back will be fixed. Easy. The ribbon will go over the looser elastic and the dress would be able fit perfectly on different body measurements. Fantastic!


The enhanced look and added new embellishment

Finally, from the empire line I'm adding some laces to hang on the skirt. Because of the gather and the light cotton material, the dress tend to create quite a volume around waist and hip area. The white vertical lines will create the illusion of taller body, which is exactly what all of us want, isn't it (especially the shorty ones, like myself;)?

Tips When Attaching The Embellishment

  • To understand in what order to attach the embellishment, look which lace will lay first on the dress and stitch that one first. Then add the others on top of that.
  • To avoid contrasting thread to appear inside or out of the dress, find the best colour coordinating threads for the top and for the bobbin. For my project I'm using white for the top (matches the white re-design with lace and crochet materials) and grey for the bobbin (matches the teal colour of the dress very well).
  • Make sure that the tension of the top thread and the bobbin is balanced. This will prevent having the "wrong" colour thread to appear on the opposite side.

Check the video to see the entire sewing process.

Now It's Your Turn

You can see how easy a garment can be transformed by adding just few laces and trims. It was really nice how my dress turned out at the end, anyway. And I'm sure you have some dull pieces waiting in your wardrobe too! It's real shame to keep unworn clothing that otherwise fits well and is comfortable to wear. Wouldn't it be great to give them second chance to shine?

Sometimes just tiny bit of re-design (with lace and crochet or other material of your choice) can transform those pieces for new, second life, much loved, because YOU will be the one who's re-working them following your own taste and style! If you need more information about reworking and upcycling clothes, check the offer below.

I hope this video will give you some ideas and inspire you to make a summer dress makeover of your own, hence creating one new adorable fashion piece for the upcoming summer (and many more in future)!

To your passion for refashion,


Mariana Kirova

Mariana is passionate about garment upcycling and helping others making their own upcycled clothing. Graduated with Award in garment construction from WAIFT, Perth WA, Mariana is not a main stream eco fashion designer. She makes unique eco-friendly garments from unwanted clothes and materials and believes that small fashion professionals and DIY sewers can embrace sustainability in garment creation, thus changing the fashion world for good.

  • Betty says:

    Had not thought about anything like this before. Very nice. Thank you

  • Mariana I am definitely a video tutorial learner. I like to see, listen and be inspired. A sweet refashion for beginners to upcycling. I would love for you to do an asymmetrical style refashion on video at some point. Your sewing machine looks amazing. Please introduce it to your followers at some stage. Do you have a sewing studio to keep it in?

    Also, I must take this opportunity to congratulate you for publishing your e-guide to eco-sewing. Inspirational.

    Warm thoughts

    RUDE Girl

    • Hi Karen,

      I will surely take on board your suggestions.
      That sewing machine is my main, an industrial straight stitch Juki. I have a domestic that offers more versatility, but at the expense of stitching quality. My sewing room is big enough to accommodate all things I use, but needs to be constantly sorted out and requires organising for some space whenever’s time for my next project;)

      Thanks for the awesome words about the eGuide! I hope to be in some help. I must say, the inspiration is mutual;)! Thank you for the lovely comment!

      Have a great day,

  • Agatha says:

    I love videos too. Haven’t had time to make my own but yours are an inspiration!

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