Key-Hole Back Refashioned Knit Dress

This is my very frugally refashioned creation which I made in early summer of 2012.  I wanted another interesting, fairly easy, and fun project so I picked this longtime UFO to tackle.  The original dress had been bought YEARS ago as a spaghetti strap sundress at Target on clearance for either $3.00 or $6.00…I can’t remember anymore.  At that price, I had to buy it because rayon knit fabric is so nice, and I love the print (oatmeal background with blue fancy circles).

Back when I bought it, I knew there was potential for improvement to the original dress, but was not sure what was needed to make it more tasteful and unique.  Now, for some reason, this old project was calling me and I finally had the perfect idea!

Butterick pattern #5456 had the exact same skirt/waist seam and design as what was already on the sundress, so that work was already done for me.  The bodice for B5456 only had two basic pieces that weren’t too big and rather rectangular, which was good for what I had in mind.  Firstly, I cut the two new bodice pieces from the dress bottom’s generous length (the hem of the original was several inches on the floor for me).  Then, I cut off the two skimpy bust panels and saved the spaghetti straps for the keyhole ties – a big, big win for me.  I hate doing ties and never in a lifetime do I see myself making ties as small, or as well, as these were made.

Here’s at left is the ‘before’ dress – the ‘after’ look is so much more to my taste.  If I seem sour in the ‘before’ picture on the left, well…it’s because I can’t stand the original sundress on myself.

Both of the pattern pieces for the bodice were on the fold and fit perfectly on the bottom along the hemline.  Then I cut the same pieces out of some scrap off-white knit (this is my bodice lining) which I had on hand in my stash.  I sewed both lining knit and printed knit together, with the spaghetti straps in the seam point of the keyhole, and turned right sides out, and top-stitched.  Voila!  I was so happy this step to make the bodice was quick and easy.

Now, the skirt/waist seams had elastic sewn in already, just as I would have had to do if starting from scratch according to Butterick #5456.  However, sewing the new bodice onto this existing elastic seam while stretching it out evenly was the biggest challenge of making this refashion.  The husband was again the lifesaver for helping stretch out the elastic waistband while I pinned.  I succeeded in sewing it down well once around, checked it to make sure it looked o.k., then sewed it again closer to the seam.  I think it looks quite fine.  Finally, I reached the last step – the hemming.  A small hem was also somewhat of a challenge because of the stretchy give of the bias and the fabric.

This is really a great looking pattern.  It makes a dress which is casual, comfortable, and easy to’ dress’ up.

Important – any seamstress who does make this pattern and wants to wear…lets say regular lingerie…HAS TO do what I did, and am glad I did, with this pattern.  I added 2 inches to the bottom of the keyhole, bringing it higher so it didn’t dip so low down your back.  The keyhole opening is still plenty big and much better than a keyhole back dress I saw at Old right after I finished MY dress.  I’m sorry, but RTW commercially made clothes pale in comparison to what the Sewing Circle members make!


FABRIC:  a store bought sundress in an ultra-soft, ultra-drapey rayon spandex knit (spent about $3 to $6 quite awhile ago) and scrap cotton knit from stash for bodice lining, so let’s say my new dress is as good as free

NOTIONS: none needed: had thread on hand

PATTERN: Butterick #5456, year 2010

FIRST WORN: to our local Art Part – Laumeier Sculpture Park – where these pictures were taken.  You should go here too, if you’re in the area, ’cause you’d like it also:)  I wore my keyhole dress with my favorite hat from Louisville, Kentucky, bought during derby week which we attended during our honeymoon.

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