The thigh’s the limit! How to easily transform a 1970s maxi into a vintage-style mini dress

It’s been a while since I shared a DIY refashion with you all.

Being parted from my in-house ‘tog and refashion guru (Mama Vintage) a good portion of my vintage stash, my sewing machine and endless supplies of wonderweb made doing more of these regularly pretty tricky.

In between scoffing mouthfuls of Easter egg, not to mention having put away a sizeable Sunday roast, yesterday I convinced mum to forgo a couple of hours in front of the TV watching Carry On re-runs and instead help me turn this maxi dress into a more versatile wardrobe piece.

I picked this Sandy Shaw-esque dress up from the ‘Beside The Seaside’ vintage fair at Haigh Hall last July for the princely sum of £5.

1970s maxi dress refashion floral crown

FLOWER GIRL: More dippy than hippy

Regular readers will know my love of taking the over-sized and ugly and transform them into chic numbers.

Remember the Twiggy dress and paisley mini?

The difference with this one is that it fit like a dream in the bodice and was a pretty amazing piece as it stood.

My only concern was the fact that I wouldn’t get much out of it in its current state and instead treated it as a fancy dress piece that I wouldn’t feel confident wearing.

1970s maxi dress refashion side

FULL LENGTH AND FABULOUS? Nice, but not my style

Some could easily have chucked it on as it was and feel and look amazing (Vix of Vintage Vixen springs to mind!) but if it’s not something I’d feel confident wearing it’s no good to me.

Instead I felt like I was raiding the dressing-up box and looked more dippy than hippy.

1970s maxi dress refashion jumping

JUMPING FOR JOY! I knew this was going to be good ‘un

In a bid to make it a more versatile piece I decided to lose a decent chunk from the length while maintaining those uh-mazing sleeves.

1970s maxi dress refashion going for the chop

THE FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST: First some length had to go

In terms of a DIY it’s fairly straightforward:

  • Identify where you want your new hemline, add a couple of inches as hem allowance, pin and then cut off the excess material.
  • Sew or wonderweb your new hemline.
  • Press all over.
  • Wear with pride and pose for a ridiculous number of pictures!
1970s maxi dress refashion cutting fabric

ACTION SHOT: Mama Vintage marking the new hem

Within a couple of hours I was left with this:

1970s mini dress refashion hip

WHAT’S RED AND WHITE ALL OVER? Me in this dress!

It’s still got the impact but is a statement piece I’d be happy to throw on when meeting the girls for cocktails without thinking that people were wondering why they’d let a hippy druid into the place.

1970s mini dress refashion sunglasses

SPECTACULAR SLEEVES: There’s no way they were getting the chop

I’m a big fan of red and white colour combinations but it’s even more fitting given that cherry and white are Wigan Warriors’ colours… though I can imagine getting a few looks if I rocked up to the rugby in this!

1970s mini dress refashion arm

GROWN-UP HIPPY: Where’s my cocktail?

I’m even co-ordinating with the 30mph speed limit sign…

1970s mini dress refashion dance

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Vertiginous heels + mini = go-to outfit

For me this dress works much better as a mini, and I know I’ll get heaps more wear out of it now than in its former state.

1970s mini dress refashion front

COLOUR CLASH: Sunglasses-inducing shades in one outfit

Striking a pose….!

1970s mini dress refashion strike a pose

HAPPY BUNNY: Easter eggs and a new-to-me dress

1970s mini dress refashion back

COCKTAIL READY: Now I just need to take this number on a night ou

And if a nifty refashion like this wasn’t enough I topped off the day with pizza, prosecco and BBC’s Poldark. Bliss!

prosecco poldark

What did you get up to over Easter? Any refashioning plans of your own this Bank Holiday Monday?


1970s dress: Vibrant Vintage at Haigh Hall, £5

Suglasses: New York gift shop, $6

Heels: Aldo, £35

6 Responses to The thigh’s the limit! How to easily transform a 1970s maxi into a vintage-style mini dress

  1. Ohh I love how you’ve restyled this in to something more you, looking stunning!

  2. Vix says:

    I was doing that to a few yesterday – for resale not any of mine! Easy, innit?
    Love the sleeves on yours, it looks perfect on you.
    Haven’t seen Poldark, I’m obsessed with Indian Summers on the other side. xxx

    • manc_vintage says:

      So easy – and so effective too!

      Poldark is well worth a watch… might give that Indian Summers programme a whirl too! x

  3. Porcelina says:

    Super job on that, well done! I think it looks very cute as a mini, and if you’ll wear it more then that’s just perfect for you. x

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