I snatched up this lovely polka dot number on Yerdle a couple months ago when I had a free shipping credit, meaning I got it for a whopping $0! It fit fairly well, except that the sleeves were a bit tight. The length was also a little dowdy.
Step one was to cut off the sleeves, leaving about an inch of fabric attached to the dress. Then I folded that inch under as a facing to finish the armhole edges.
There was one remaining belt loop on one side of the dress, the other having been torn out of its seam at some point. I re-stitched the torn seam and snipped the remaining belt loop off as close to the dress as possible. There were also a few small holes around the skirt, but they were near enough to the bottom that they would all be removed when I trimmed the length.
So away went the extra length and the skirt got a new hem.
At this point, I thought I was finished. I even wore it once before realizing the buttons, especially those around my rather ample bosom, had a habit of popping open. Perhaps the buttons were a bit too small for their holes, or maybe the fabric was a little too slippery, or a combination of the two. Regardless, it was lucky I wore the dress with a sweater over it so there was no flashing of strangers. I decided to fix this by sewing the button band closed and adding a zipper in one side seam. I didn't have a brown zipper on hand, so I took a quick trip to the fabric store. Then I ripped out the serging in the side seam for the length of the zipper. Once I could open up the seam allowances, I attached the zipper.
Next, from the outside, I carefully seam ripped the original side seam to expose the zipper and added some reinforcing stitches at the top and bottom of the zipper, just in case. I buttoned up the dress, unzipped the zipper, and tried it on to make sure I could get it on and off without the use of the buttons. The experiment was successful, so I stitched closed the button band along the inner edge. Leaving the outer edge of the button band un-attached will give the illusion that it's still functional.
And done! One more polka dot garment to add to my collection!