Restyle: Laura Ashley Redcurrant Dress

When I made the Me Made June 'pledge' I also stated that I would restyle 2 items during the month. The first was my Sorbetto top from a vintage tablecloth. The second is this, a Laura Ashley dress.


I should state that I do have some reservations about 'restyling'. I personally found this dress hideous, but who's to say that history will not judge that I have destroyed a masterpiece? The 1950s haven't always been seen as the go-to decade for style and glamour, but were at one time considered kitsch. Anyway, I digress and the deed is done.

For the restyle I chose a Laura Ashley dress with a pink and red redcurrant print on a navy background, purchased from a charity shop for £3. I had been looking for something to restyle and this appealed to me because of the name, and because it is made of cotton rather than polyester. It was in my size, and turned out to be a perfect fit. I think it must date to the 1990s and is in as-new condition. Here's a close up of the bodice, which features covered buttons. although they are only for show, as it closes with a side zip.

 So what did I do?

  1. Took up the length by about 6 1/2 inches to be more flattering, and sit on the knee
  2. Shortened the sleeves and picked apart the top of the sleeves to get rid of the full, puffed effect. This was a little tricky as the sleeves had been serged onto the armholes, but I only unpicked the top part for ease. Here's a close up of before:

And unpicked:

First of all I tried  to consolidate the fullness into just one pleat, but this looked just as bad:

In the end I turned the sleeve inside out and cut away all the excess fabric to create a smooth line, then put a seam down the middle of the sleeve that wasn't there before, trying to match the seam at the bodice shoulder. This was a little wonky, but the pattern is pretty forgiving as it is so busy:

3. I changed the covered buttons for plain red ones. I felt the covered ones got so lost in the pattern that there was no point in being there. Why design a dress with a button bodice as a feature when you can't tell the buttons are there? The red also acts as an accent colour.

4. A paired the dress with a red belt. Like the buttons, this provides a focus. There is so much going on with this dress pattern wise that I think it needs an accent colour.
So here is the finished dress:


What do you think?

I'm really pleased with how it turned out. In total the cost was £3.50, to include the 5 new buttons I bought. Not bad eh?

The great thing about doing this restyle was that it challenged me and made me try something I wouldn't have before. Navy and pinks are not colours I would normally choose but I've grown quite attached to this dress after tailoring it to suit my needs. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for some more potential restyle projects as I scour the charity shops.

K x


  1. That's a great transformation! It looks great on you. I do like Laura Ashely as the quality is always excellent.

  2. It looks great - the length, colours and the style really suit you. You're so right about the fabric buttons, and as a bonus you now have lovely Laura Ashley covered buttons for another project!

  3. I really need to do some of these restyles. What a bargain and what a transformation. It looks lovely and the red buttons really make this dress.

  4. FANTASTIC! I love this so much!! Great job!

  5. Ooh yes, fantastic improvement with the red buttons and belt. And it suits you so well knee length, very flattering. x

  6. Excellent job! The Before photos are the epitome of Laura Ashley in my head but I do love their prints xx

  7. Love what you did! Great idea about removing fullness from the sleeves and changing out buttons.

  8. I really love this! It looks fab on you!

    Also, thanks so much for the suggestion re the SBA for the Sencha - I'll definitely give it a go!

  9. You did a great job. It looks so much better now.

  10. Thank you everyone! I definitely feel inspired to do it again, if I find the right item to work from.

    1. Hi i agree that the sleves do look good and bring the dress back to life but am sad that it was shortend i beleave it was more beaurtifull at its original leanth a shame it was sortend

  11. Amazing transformation, it looks a million times better. Great work.

  12. Fabulous job! Love, love love!!

  13. You did an amazing job ! I think you were right to meddle - the dress looks so much better now :-) And I think its good to re-use and continue to wear rather than not wear the dress at all ! Great job :-)

  14. Ok after seeing the dress close up I'm in love, it looks great, perfect fit! :)


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