How to Customize a Cheap Dress

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There's no need to spend a lot of money on expensive designer clothes to look great. Design a one-of-a-kind outfit by buying a cheap dress and customizing it with simple accents and stitching. Express your personality and fashion sense by creating an assortment of looks with these techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Decorative trim
  • Needle and thread
  • Gems or studs
  • Fabric paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Foam stamps
  • Embroidery floss
  • Accessories
  • Stitch a row of decorative trim around the neckline, hemline, waistline or sleeves. Try lace, textured ribbon, colorful twill or beaded trim that coordinates with the dress or provides an eye-catching contrast. Sew it on straight or gather and tuck it under every few inches for added dimension. You can also use trim to add length or cover the cut hem if you shorten the dress.

  • Add glamour to a plain neckline with a row of gems or small metal studs. You can even use them to create a pretty pattern along the bottom of the skirt (see Resources).

  • Use fabric paint to add a design on the sleeves or skirt. Use thin brushes to paint a few dainty flowers on one side or use a wide, dry brush to create an artsy stripe or colorblocked design around the bottom of the dress. Find foam stamps with subtle leaf or geometric patterns to press along the bottom or sides.

  • Embroider a beautiful design around the neckline if embroidery is one of your hobbies. If you've got time, repeat the design in a triangular pattern that starts at the dress' waistline and expands to encompass the front of the skirt.

  • Customize the dress in an instant with interchangeable accents. If your dress was cheap, you should have enough left in the budget for an assortment of accessories like scarves, a sweater or shirt for layering, a large brooch to pin in the center of the chest or a handful of long necklaces.

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