Fitted blue dress remake with exposed brass zip

Fitted dress remake with exposed zip

How to remake your favourite dress

Gemma has, for some time, had a really great fitting dress that she feels really comfortable in. It’s rather unfortunate, but this dress has seen better days, so here’s where her knight in shining armour comes in….okay, hubby with a shiny Janome then!!

I had purchased some blue stretch suiting online a little while back, to make a jacket, but sadly it wasn’t quite right, so rather than it sit unused and unloved in my fabric stash I opted to use it for this dress remake. We did add a little twist, as rather than a concealed zip Gemma asked for an exposed brass one instead.


1.5m of navy suiting

Matching blue thread

22 inch exposed brass zip on navy tape

Rotary cutter & mat


This time I took a slightly easier option and rather than mapping out to pattern paper and then on to the fabric, I chose to mark it out directly on to the fabric.

For raw edges I like to use a zigzag stitch and an over-edge presser foot, this neatens the cut edge and ensures no further fraying. This is a really handy alternative if you don’t have an overlocker, like me!

1. I lay out the new fabric, right side down and place the template dress on top.

2. This bit took a little work, but essentially I trace through each of the panels with a tracing wheel. Or for some of the bits I mark out the general shape and outer points with tailors chalk.

3. Smooth out markings, add a seam allowance where required and number the panels.

4. Next I mark darts and zipper placement.

5. Cut out the panel pieces.

Body sections pinned

6. The upper front part is made up of 3 sections, they’re joined together with princess seams, this gives a great contour to the bust without needing to dart in. These are joined with a straight stitch and the raw edges finished as above.

7. The upper back part is made up of 4 sections, two on each side and an exposed brass zipper in the centre. Again these sections of twos are joined with a straight stitch along the princess seams and a neatened edge.

8. I pin these sections together and get Gemma to try it on for fit. Luckily it’s a pretty close match, so I only have to tailor the side seams in a little.

9. Ensuring the dart placements on the lowers and the princess seams on the uppers align. I go ahead and stitch the darts, both front and back and press towards centres.

10. Following this I join the upper front portions to their respective lowers.

11. I mark out how far down I’d like the end of the zipper to go. Then join the two lower skirt back sections together up until 1 inch below this point with a straight stitch, and finish by neatening the edge.

12. The side sections are then joined together. Again I straight stitch and neaten off the raw edges.

13. Next I insert the zipper, by stitching it to one side of the dress back, and then to the other side.

14. I turn the dress inside out and whilst holding the zipper out of the way, I close up the remaining gap to ensure a neat finish.

15. Now as I’m using a stretch I have the benefit that I can just roll in the neck and arm holes and stitch these up.

16. I replicated the capped sleeves by stitching 2 pieces together right sides facing along the outer edge, then clipping the curve and turning through, which gives them a good structure. I then apply these to the dress shoulders…..simple but very effective.


17. Lastly I try the dress on Gemma and mark the hem line. For this I use a stretch stitch to ensure that the hem has a bit of flexibility for getting in and out of cars etc.

I must say Gems was really chuffed with this remake, as was I. So much so that she felt happy enough to announce to her work colleagues that I’d done it for her, once again more brownie points for me.

Everyone seems to have an item that fits them just right, so why not have a little look through your wardrobe and see what you could remake.

Until next time.


The stitcher. A magnet for foolery & prankster at heart. Loves being creative, whether with some wood and a saw or with a needle and thread. Attempts to disguise his past time activities as manly pursuits, but is actually pretty handy at sewing!


  1. Gema 4 years ago

    A Great Remake! Love it, definitely going to try this with some ol’ favourites of my own!

  2. Sarah 4 years ago

    Stunning replica, really really amazing.

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      The best compliment is that Gemma now wears my replica more than the original!

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