Bean Refashioning: Spaghetti Straps to Ruffled Cap Sleeves

Look who's back with a refashioning of her very own (I used to do lots of these, check out the Snips & Tucks section here)!  I found this dress, originally sold at Target, for $6 at Dirt Cheap last year.  I know, steal of a deal.  I love how different it is, with the pleats on one side and color-blocking all over - u to the n to the i to the q to the u to the e.

But as much as I loved it, it never once left our house on me because the spaghetti straps held me back.  It's probably the mom in me or my old age but if I'm wearing a dress like this, I'm usually going to a wedding or church or something like that and I like to cover up my shoulders.  This dress is a hard one to pair with a cardigan and it would have to have the right color scarf.  So, never worn...   

...until this past weekend.  

I spent maybe an hour last week adding ruffle cap sleeves!  I don't know about where you live, but here in the south big ruffled or puffed up sleeves are somewhat of a thing right now (along with Lululemon and pleated tennis skirts...I can see it but I hear it most from my very astute sixth grade girls.)  I don't usually gravite to some"thing" that's trending but this just seemed like a match made in fashion heaven.

Here's how I did it:

First, I grabbed some "special occasion" fabric that is the same color as the pleats on the dress from JoAnn Fabrics.  Either one of the three colors would have worked but this is the color I found that most closely matched.  One third of a yard was plenty for some big 'ole ruffles.

I cut that third of a yard in half length-wise. 

Then I serged the ends of the two strips (a zig-zag stitch along each end would also work)... that I could wash them both (I washed them by hand in a bucket) to pre-shrink them lest they shrink after I had them on the dress and we just had ourselves a conundrum.

I don't know if this fabric shrank at all but I just wanted to ride the safe side.

Once the fabric was washed a dried, I ironed each piece.

Next, I sewed a small hem on each side of my fabric to finish it and hide my serged edges.  I didn't iron the hems at all but just rolled them - once over and then over again - then sewed in place.  You can see how it ended up verses how it was going into the machine below:

Once I had my two strips of fabric hemmed on all sides, I used a fork to create pleats along one side.  You can watch a video of Sarah Tyau showing this ingenious pleating method here.  So that the pleats would cascade backwards along each shoulder, I had to pay attention to which side I was sewing because they were mirror images of each other - not sewn exactly the same way.

Now I had the two ruffled strips I needed to sew onto my dress, which I did next.

To attach the new sleeves to the dress, I simply held them onto the existing spaghetti straps and sewed right along.


The straps cross in the back giving me my very own set of petite butterfly wings.  I heart the back.  

But wait, there's more!  I scrounged up a bunch of the same exact dress for sale on the www in case you're in the market.  It's a fun dress and it comes in blue/green too!

I found a few on eBay as well but they were priced very close to or even over the $60 price tag the dress sported at Target.  I even found one listed for $1000.  I don't want to say someone out there is delusional...but someone out there is delusional.

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Happy mid-week!


  1. This is fantastic! I love the ruffle across the back. You did such a great job!

  2. you are so talented

  3. I’m obsessed with the back!!! <3

    1. Ps this is Rock :)

    2. Me too. <3 I'll have to hand this one down to all of our girls when I'm too old and gray to wear cap sleeves. Haha!