An Old Dress Made New

I stumbled upon this film on the BFI National Archive YouTube channel and found it really amusing. This silent short from 1926 teaches a woman how to create an evening dress out of a morning frock with a few homemade modifications.

This kind of economization was quite common until ready-to-wear clothing became so cheap and ubiquitous in the second half of the 20th century. Women frequently updated last season’s garments with new trims and simple alterations of the neckline, sleeves, or hem.

Do you restyle your garments like this? If not, maybe this video will inspire you to make a few adaptations yourself instead of buying something new. Think about it — do you have any pieces from last spring you can modify to fit this spring’s trends?


  1. Erika says:

    Fabulous video! I’m not one for making over styles, I like fashions that aren’t as trendy and have a longer life than just one season. However, I have been known to cut up clothing to make OTHER things!

    • jacqueline says:

      I think making something new out of the old is exactly what we should be inspired to do. We don’t need to do this sort of thing for trends alone. We can reuse for our own personal style and needs in order to cut down on consumption.

  2. Amanda says:

    Hahaha, my favorite part was “Now just watch mother get to work”. Except my mom is not here., You know at first I thought the dress looked kind of like an apron, with the lace. But with the final details it really looks different.
    I did restyle a black jumper-dress and made it colorful with a million colored buttons, you cansee it here. I was kind of shocked that at the end of the video they kiss on the lips, was that common back then? I don’t believe it is still done or is it?

    • Trillium says:

      I really like your button dress. Looks like something that would be joyful to wear. The information was interesting about the ants and the pics were so colorful.

      • Amanda says:

        Oh thank you! I definitely wanted to add some happy to the dress, I tend to wear lots of stuff with color or color details and I have trouble learning to wear black. And yes, those ants are amazing !

    • jacqueline says:

      Love your use of the buttons. I like how you scattered them in a whimsical way.

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