I made a dress!

Well, altered it anyway.

I’m pretty POed that I didn’t take a ‘before’ picture, but I found this blousy plaid thing at the thrift store and thought I’d monkey around. It looked like a nightgown, but itchier. Kind of like this:

But plaid. And with dolman sleeves.
I don’t think it was a nightshirt originally intended for a fat body because my boobs made the front hem hike up
like 7 inches. I thought hemming the back to make it even would be a disaster because the stripes would make the whole fiasco completely obvious and just wearing a belt looked weird too.

I was just going to sew down the sides and make it a little more fitted, but it had pockets! I didn’t want to hack those out, so I decided to make a whole bunch of little pleats.

There were pleats at the shoulders already, so I just ironed them flat and pinned them at the waist where I wanted the thing smaller. The plaid was kind of helpful at that point because I just had to start sewing at the red stripe and end a little above the white ones.

I think I broke my sewing machine, so I just sat down with a needle and thread and had at it while I watched 5 or 6 episodes of Intervention on YouTube.

I made like 5 pleats (or “pintucks” apparently) under each boob and then 10 more across the back. And magically the back hem shrank up. Now there’s only like a 2 inch difference between front and back hems. And that’s close enough for me!

Galloping away from the self timer. Why is this the only photo that’s in focus?

It’s clearly not perfect and I intend to wear it only in dimly lit locations, but I am also pretty damn proud of myself and my little needle and thread.

Me and my duct tape dressform with the next experiment.


27 Responses to “I made a dress!”

  1. 1 April D December 2, 2008 at 4:20 am

    Congrats! Any sewing achievement deserves accolades in my eyes. A few more steps and you’ll be crafting your own patterns 😀

  2. 2 Michele December 2, 2008 at 8:06 am

    That’s impressive!

  3. 3 Eva December 2, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I really like the dress–you did a great job. And I’m glad you mentioned your duct tape dressform. I’ve been thinking about making one of those but wasn’t sure how well it would work. Obviously it works pretty well. What did you use for the base?

  4. 4 labibliotecaria December 2, 2008 at 8:40 am

    That looks really cute on you. Nice work.

  5. 5 iidly December 2, 2008 at 9:51 am

    You have the prettiest legs and of course you are drop dead gorgeous:) Love the dress:)

  6. 6 Michelle December 2, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Snazzy and fun! Thrifting and modifying is the best, isn’t it?

  7. 7 Marshmallow December 3, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Oh MAN, I love what you did to it, it’s so adorable!

    Now… if you could make one in my size and flick it across to New Zealand for me, that’d be great kthx 😉

  8. 8 dr aletta December 4, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    You did a great job! Inspiring! Now where did I put that sewing machine?

  9. 9 Tomoko December 4, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Oh wow, you did a gorgeous job! It makes a lovely Christmas dress!

  10. 10 jasievangesen December 6, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Very cute! I almost never find dresses that don’t need some sort of altering (short bodied, short in general, and WHOA gonzagas!)… you did a great job on this!

  11. 11 Mari December 8, 2008 at 6:20 am

    That’s really cute. I’m going to have to learn how to sew. It’s inspiring to know you can find cute, retro, plus-size clothes at a thrift store.

  12. 12 Robin Hayes December 10, 2008 at 10:17 am

    With the way it shows curves after the alteration, it’s *definitely* not a nightshirt! And it doesn’t have to be a “professional job” to look really cute. You go, girl!

  13. 13 Julie Drzewiecki, RD December 18, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Dear Joyce, I am a Registered Dietitian, and a PLUS SIZED one at that! You are my hero! You are absolutely right when you say on your video that fat people do not eat any more than thin people. I should know…I have been looking at food diaries for almost 20 years. Anyway, I would love to order your fat rant DVD. Could you please send me an order form? By the way, I am giving a talk to my fellow Registered Dietitians in January on Health At Every Size. I am also going to present the evidence that obesity is not the death sentence that everyone thinks it is. Keep up the GREAT WORK!!! Best Wishes, Julie Drzewiecki

  14. 14 Abby January 3, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    That dress is adorable! And it looks super comfy which is always a plus when it comes to dresses. Hand made dresses are 100x better than professional jobs since they fit like a glove and you have complete control over every part of it 🙂

  15. 15 Ronda January 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    I never knew there were crazy people like me who would buy something just to experimentally hack it up and alter it into something that actually looks good! Like everyone here says, it looks great on you and you are absolutely beautiful.

    Treebelly 🙂

  16. 16 Luscious Lips January 10, 2009 at 12:54 am


    I weigh 211 lbs. I have always been proud of myself and have fallen in love with myself and other FAT people all the more after watching your videos.

    You look gorgeous and I completely love your dress.


  17. 17 saracorine January 26, 2009 at 12:41 am

    can i borrow this dress? it’s super hot. great to see you today- wanna get together next week? xo

  18. 18 Ameroux February 6, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Hi Joy, I love the dress. All the more impressive that you did the work by hand: I’m far to ADD-challenged to attempt such a thing.

    Also I want to say that your name suits you perfectly: Joy! You are joyful. The world needs more joy, for sure.

    I feel so empowered by your work. I love the blend of funny, smart, sarcastic, warm and advocacy that you exude. It makes me like myself better and feel free to be who I am.

    I wish you great success in your career; you have great acting chops and comedic timing.

    Rock on, sister!

  19. 19 Kat March 2, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    What a lovely dress!

    I realize that I’m a bit late with this comment, but I was just introduced to your YouTube videos–the Fat Rants. WOW! Thank goodness for people like you. I’m so happy that there are more people standing up against fat prejudice. Watching those videos gave me a much-needed self-esteem boost; although I’m really okay with my size, overall, I’ve been feeling really awful about it of late (spending too much time with negative people!). So thanks again, and keep up the amazing work. Yay! 🙂

  20. 20 MorgnsGrl March 21, 2009 at 6:57 am

    What a great dress! You did a good job with the altering, it looks fantastic and so do you. 🙂

  21. 21 Carriage Clocks March 26, 2009 at 9:11 am

    What a wonderful looking dress! You’re inspiring me to get out my sewing machine and start making my own plaid dress. you look great!

  22. 22 Laura April 15, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Oh, the dress reconstruction came out really cute! 🙂 I love to see old things become new again. 🙂

  23. 23 Apple May 27, 2009 at 4:27 am

    You did a good job on that dress. it’s really cute on you!!!

  24. 24 Andrea Staats June 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    It turned out really cute! I’m impressed with your mad sewing skills.

  25. 25 pinsanneedles July 27, 2009 at 10:15 am

    It looks fantastic! Great job, plaid is suuuuch a pain to work with.

  26. 26 Zik Ukaeje August 8, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I love that dress and well done on it.

    BODacious Inc.

  27. 27 whothehelliscely October 20, 2009 at 9:16 am

    You’re gourgeous baby!

    That looks fantastic.


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