Change the ‘N’ to a ‘D’
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“Change the ‘N’ to a ‘D’” New Era, Apr. 1972, 28

Change the “N” to a “D”

How do I make a mini into a midi? Change the “n” to a “d”? Sure, but the length remains the same. What do I do now?

Here are a few tricks on how to make the switch—also some other pointers on what to do when extra snacks make too many bulges in the silhouette, how to delicately disguise the fathomless “v” of a neckline, or how to conceal an exposed midriff.

1. If the dress has lace at the neck and sleeve, it’s a natural to add lace at the bottom.

2. One more lengthener that totally changes and dresses up these culottes—fabric added to the bottom. Tie it together by repeating the fabric on the sleeves and neck; then add a belt and you’ve got it.

3. Here’s another that helps tie it all together. Split the too-tight dress down the side seam, insert fabric behind, make eyelets, and lace it up!

4. This skirt has two rows of braid added to the bottom with a narrow gold trim added just above to disguise a line left by the old hem.

5. A piece of grosgrain in the side seam helped ease the wash-day shrinks on this one.

6. Try this: Slice off the dress below the bust and add a wide braid or tapestry fabric that extends to the waist. Loosely gather the rest of the dress to fit at the waist and attach it to the braid; add another piece of braid at the bottom and you have a great looking midi.

7. Modify your two-piece swim suit by gathering a piece of fabric round it. Add lace to the bottom, and maybe a repeat at the neck. You may choose a flowered fabric and want to take some of the flowers and appliqué them on to other parts of your suit.

8. Back to the mini problem … solved by a flock of butterflies. Pluck one out and appliqué it to a belt to give your ensemble continuity and flow.

9. What do you add to a bulky knit? A bunch of yarn. (Slip a piece of fabric under it for coverage.) Some people will go to any lengths.

10. Try opening the seam of snug pants and sewing in a piece of braid. Presto—you have comfort.

11. This one is a great disguise. With red stripes running all around, why not add one more to the bottom? And this year of growing lengths calls for another blue strip followed by a red. Why stop?

12. How’s this for a coverup that takes you all the way back to the Gibson girls?

13. Get out a pattern and fit it to this cropped top; then throw in a couple of belt loops and you have a new blouse.

14. The neckline was low, so black fabric was sewn in, and two rows of black fringe were strung round the neck.

Add a ruffle here or cut this one six inches above the hem and insert braid. The ideas go on and on; there are a hundred great solutions. Even without great artistic skills you can get a better idea of what a dress will look like by making lots of sketches, finding many alternatives before applying the scissors. It’s much easier to change your mind on paper.

Mod, modest, modify—fun with words by adding endings. Changing dresses can be even more fun because you’re adding not only bits of fabric but lots of yourself.

Illustrated by Peggy Hawkins

Photos by Eldon Linschoten