From work to weekend: striped sweater dress

sweater dress

Old Navy sweater dress (altered, in 2 colors and regular/petite/tall) – 25% off w/ SAVE
Weekend: ASOS scarf c/o (sold out – similar for $13!), BP boots, Coach bag (buy new)

I’m not sure how I’ve gone so many fall/winters without the ultimate cozy piece – the sweater dress – but I made it my job this season to try a few. On frigid mornings when I can’t bear to crawl out from under the covers, the thought of slipping into a soft knit dress does mitigate the pain a bit.stripe sweater dress boots1

This cute sweater dress from Old Navy is a recent keeper, but needed alterations. I got petite XS online, and the fit of the torso (see original fit photo below) is roomy and straight cut with no waist definition. Normally I’d be tempted to throw it into a machine washer/dryer to shrink it down, but the sleeves were comfortably fitted in contrast to the torso, and I didn’t want them to get more snug. I thought the torso-slimming alteration was easy enough to do at home in about 15 minutes. Even factoring in professional alteration costs, I thought the adorable overall style + softness of this was a keep.
sweater dress
Here’s the original fit of size petite xs off the rack. For alterations, I turned this inside-out and put it on, then marked with fabric chalk on both sides how much to take in all the way down to the bottom leg opening. I did one stitch down each side and didn’t make the fit too snug, in order to layer tees underneath. I did leave the excess material on both sides untrimmed on the interior to keep it from fraying or unraveling (since I don’t have a serger machine).

Please note that the petite length on me hits about an inch above the knees, which was perfect for work. For casualwear I folded a little fabric over the belt (similar to what I did with this shift dress) which shortened the length, creating a more balanced look against tall boots. 
stripe sweater dress boots2

^ Closeup of the ribbing on the bottom. The weight of this knit is on the thinner / light side. I haven’t washed this yet so can’t speak to how it’d hold up over time. With sweaters and knit pieces, I try to always wear an under layer to prolong the number of wears between washing in hopes of slowing down any pilling or fading. Here I wore a long sleeve tee shirt + slip skirt, also to manage any potential sheerness at the legs.

stripe sweater dress boots petite fashion2
With the current ON sale going on, I also ordered the dot print sweater dress to try but am fully expecting it to be similarly roomy in the torso. I also noticed that one is 100% cotton which may be a little thinner, given past experiences with the brand. Will report back on that once it arrives. I hope you guys have a fabulous weekend!


75 thoughts on “From work to weekend: striped sweater dress

  • Julie October 31, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Sweater dresses are my jam in the winter–I've got way too many. You're right–they mitigate the pain of a cold winter (or fall, or spring) morning. I like Loft for my sweater dresses, but I also hit up Target for them and sometimes Victoria's Secret as well. I really like this one on you, though, so I may have to start looking at Old Navy as well!

    Style by Joules

  • Dressed with soul October 31, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Perfect transformation! I adore both outfits and your style in general and I thank you that I learn so much from each post from you <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Natalie October 31, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Awesome, I know nothing about alterations and didn't know you could take sweaters in. My wishlist just grew about 10x!

  • Victoria GlamFizz October 31, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I prefer the outfit with the scarf!
    Victoria | GlamFizz
    or follow on Instagram

  • Diana October 31, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Super cute dress!!
    xo, Diana

  • MissLilly October 31, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    love all of it! Your working look is perfect, love the necklace, love the little belt, love the blazer and loveeeee coach! Your weekend look perfect scarf

  • Mei Fleming October 31, 2014 at 12:30 pm
  • Diana October 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    gosh i love that black coach bag you have! yours looks so much bigger than mine!

  • Daisy @ Simplicity Relished October 31, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I'm really loving that KS belt– and the different ways you styled this pretty sweater dress 🙂 So cute!

    Daisy | Simplicity Relished

  • Sasa Zoe October 31, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Cute! Love the two ways<3

  • Terese aRobin October 31, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    You look great! Love these two outfits. I have been eyeing that sweater dress. Never knew it would look so lovely

  • Champagne Star October 31, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Great outfit variations! I love sweater dresses because they are so versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. I have been thinking of updating my sweater dress collection this winter, so I may have to check out Old Navy.

  • Anonymous October 31, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Lovely styling your new boots with high socks! The sweater dress/scarf/socks combo work so well together. Everything just says "comfy chic!"

  • andrea October 31, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I love the fact that you aren't afraid to try budget friendly pieces from Old Navy/Target/etc…one main reasons you're one of my favorite blogs! I love a good bargain and it's so refreshing to see that you are too! Love this finished version of this dress on you Jean…perfectly styled in both photos!


  • Janki October 31, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Do you use a special needle when dealing with knits? In my beginning sewing classes, they talked about a ball point needle. I have yet to work on knits– I'm too afraid of stiches popping.

  • jannyisms October 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    The simple alteration you did makes such a great difference!– did you do a single straight stitch down each side of the dress, or is the stitch curved a little bit to follow the natural curves of your torso? I'm not much of a sewer, so simple alterations like this still just confuse me. Thanks! 🙂

  • Suzie Q October 31, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I feel like I live in sweater dresses in the winter time, they're so easy to slip into and so warm! I adore this striped one and how you styled it for work and weekend! Your DIY alterations look great!!

    Suzie Q

  • rodelma lopez October 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I have sweater dress like you have in this the way you presented it here, thanks for the info again

  • Amanda Hawkins October 31, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I adore this dress and I'm going to buy it and try to mimic your alterations because I love how you've transformed the fit! Also, pairing with the plaid scarf is brilliant!

    – Amanda | The Chic Counsel

  • jessydust October 31, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Love this on you! I can see it being worn in the spring or summer too. You might like this black & white striped one I posted earlier this year ( Although it's short-sleeved, it's very thick and you can easily layer with a blazer or cardigan on top. It fit me perfectly without alterations, but I think I'm slightly bigger than you. You should check it out! It's one of my favourite (thick) dresses to date. : )

  • Anonymous November 1, 2014 at 12:12 am

    May I ask- are you wearing dark socks with your boots or are they liners of some sort?

  • Scarlett November 1, 2014 at 1:14 am

    How did you do your hair! It looked so perfect!

  • Rick Robillard November 1, 2014 at 4:13 am

    This dress was made for you and you've styled it perfectly!

    Red Reticule

  • Pru Yeo November 1, 2014 at 5:54 am

    A classic and lovely sweater dress that could be style for both work or play, perfect! Really like the look of this versatile piece with tall boots, so chic!


  • Anonymous November 1, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Can show you us a picture of the stitching that you did? I would imagine that without trimming the excess material, the sides would end up looking bulky, but yours doesn't.

  • Anonymous November 1, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I just bought the same dress based on your blog pics. Too cute to pass up and $25 after sale is also an amazing bargain. Ditto to JANKI and JANNYISMS questions on sewing. What SIZE of stitch and did you use a special needle. Also, did you start from the armpit seam and go straight down with more of a curve in the middle?

  • Ally Gong November 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Awesome post!! I love the first look 😀
    -Ally Gong

  • Amanda November 1, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I have been swooning over that ASOS scarf and love the way you paired it with the sweater dress.

  • Audrey Lin November 1, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I love the bow-ed belt and the scarf! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

  • Paige Ma November 1, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Love both of the outfits! I purchased last year's Old Navy version of this sweater dress, and can attest that it does hold up well with washing (I just wash on gentle and lay it flat to dry).

  • One Stiletto At A Time November 2, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Looks great and yes, jersey dresses are so incredibly versatile.

    XoXo One stiletto At A Time

  • Anonymous November 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Can I ask where you get your pearl necklace from? Thanks,

  • Jean November 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I don't know if many tailors will do it actually because to do it completely properly (which I definitely did not), the tailor would need to have skills in knitwear.

  • Jean November 2, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Janki and Anon below – I did not as I only have one needle, and my skills are very far from that of a professional or even a good sewer. I didn't show any "tutorial" here because I wouldn't want to mislead any readers into thinking this is the proper way to take in knit wear! I have never heard of a ball point needle and am curious about the benefits of using one!

  • Jean November 2, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Hi ladies – curved stitch, measuring more to be taken in at the waist when the dress was inside out. Yes I started at the armpit and wen't all the way down to the bottom opening. Am out of town today but will try to post a photo in response to anon below which will show it but please note it is not the proper way to alter knitwear!

  • Jean November 2, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I remember that one, Jessy – looks amazing on you! Too bad so many ppl have had complaints about Sheinside.

  • Jean November 3, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Hello – they were a pair of old sweater tights which I snipped the top and bottoms off to make legwarmers.

  • Jean November 3, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Hi Scarlett – Thank you! I just used a 1" curling iron and curled outwards in 6 sections.

  • Jean November 3, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Sure – I'll snap a pic the next time I'm at home. It's not bulky because I didn't make it too fitted but it's also not smooth due to the excess material. I was thinking of having my tailor serge the seams for me (which trims off the excess) next time I visit him for other stuff. Please note, as always, my sewing is not professional and oftentimes not the proper way of doing things – I didn't do a tutorial because I don't want to mis-instruct anyone.

  • Jean November 3, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Hi there – it was a gift from a brand called Accessories Concierge but they sold out of it. I wasn't able to find a similar style, but will keep my eyes peeled.

  • Anonymous November 3, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Just picked up this sweater dress today at the SF Old Navy store, love the soft feel of this piece. Would you consider the other black color of this dress too? ~Danielle

  • Bostonista November 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Um that scarf is SO perfect- no wonder it's already sold out! Really gorgeous!


    PS: BTW congrats on being in the October Top 10 on RewardStyle!

  • Anonymous November 4, 2014 at 12:30 am

    Jean, did you buy the BP boots online? I tried them on in store and they were not as brown as pictured on your blog or on the Nordstrom website. They were lighter, more of an ashy gray — didn't like it. I don't want to buy online if it's going to be the same gray color rather than brown.

  • A Golden Tulip November 4, 2014 at 12:59 am

    This sweater is so good…love it…its looks great on you…love the weekend style with that cozy look so pretty…


  • Dayle November 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    It almost transitions into an all new look, Love it!

  • Anonymous November 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Jean, may I ask you which camera was used to shoot this set of photos?

  • Anonymous November 4, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Jean, do you know how to shrink a sweater dress properly?

  • November 5, 2014 at 6:34 am

    A sweater dress like this one is a life-saver in colder days, love the ways you styled it.


  • Anna Marie November 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I was at Old Navy the other week and I did not see this dress there. I don't know if it's because the closest one near me is so small. I will have to keep my eyes peeled next time. I wish I knew how to alter things.

  • Vale November 9, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Hi!! Hi love this look!!! And your blog!!!! Cute dress!!! Follow me if you want!!! Kiss
    Indtagram @mybluesjeans87_official

  • Ria Manyari November 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Jean, love your blog and style! my best friend who always had a hard time on finding petite shoes and clothing recommended me your blog. I would love to send you a pair of shoes so you can give us your feedback… We will carry shoes starting in size 4, so you can have a better idea on how they look, please check We look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

  • Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Hello! We used a Canon 6 D : )

  • Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:48 am

    Hi there – tricky question since there is no "proper" way because most professionals would advise against shrinking anything since it's altering the material fibers. Usually for items with cotton content, I wash on a gentle cycle and then simply dry on medium or high heat, checking the item every 10 minutes or so because sometimes materials can shrink aggressively then become too small. Please note though that machine drying items that are not labeled machine dryable will ALWAYS come with a chance of the item become mis-shapen, faded, and ovelry shrunken so please do so at your own risk!

  • Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Hi there – yes I bought them online, and they do have an ashy gray tint which I think my photos reflect. I liked that a lot since it gives it a 'weathered' look, but yes I would not suggest purchasing online if you didn't like it in-store because it is the same color!

  • Jean November 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Hi Danielle! So glad you liked it! I try to avoid buying duplicates unless I really love both color options. The black seems nice but I love the blue and white a lot more : )

  • rodelma lopez November 10, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    wow I might as well try that this alterations on other sweater dress… thanks jean

  • abrow54 November 10, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    Hi Jean! Just bought the BP boots, and I absolutely love them! You were spot on… the perfect boot fit for petites! I had question though: what kind of socks are you wearing with the boots in your weekend look? Thanks!

  • Jean November 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    ** I actually JUST noticed these boots come in 3 colors online. Black, chocolate brown, and grey. I wonder whether you tried on grey or brown in-store…

  • Anonymous November 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

    I ordered this dress and it fits great! I also ordered this one and it is also great.;=3&pid;=257346002

    I'm 5 ft tall and 100 lbs and ordered XSP in both!

  • searchingforsubstance November 15, 2014 at 2:58 am

    wow, you really transform this sweater dress! i rarely buy anything from old navy, but i may browse more regularly after seeing how you styled this! love your style, very elegant and sophisticated. =)

  • Anonymous November 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I love your pearl necklace!!! It completely changes the outfit to so chic!! Love it! Can you tell me where I can find one?

  • Anonymous November 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I adore your chunky plaid scarf, perfect for Christmas and looks so warm!

  • Elisha Kelly November 18, 2014 at 6:00 am

    You look gorgeous with your striped sweater dress. Find accessories that will add beauty to your outfit.

  • Princess Elisha November 19, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I like your striped dress. You look beautiful!!

    New FASHION post on

  • Jean November 21, 2014 at 12:50 am

    It looks super comfy! thanks for sharing the recommendation : )

  • Jean November 21, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Hi there – I'm wearing "legwarmers" that I cut out of old sweater tights! So glad to hear that you love the BP boots as well!

  • Jean November 21, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Sorry for the late reply, but here's photos of the interior with a close up of the waist area:

  • Anonymous November 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Thank you so much Jean for finding this one for me!!! You are so nice! I want to purchase it but I'm a little hesitant because I haven't heard of this retailer before. Have you had any experience ordering from them before?

  • Anonymous November 21, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I also found this good looking one ( Do you think it will also work?

  • Anonymous November 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Thank you Jean for doing such an educational post! I learned a lot from you! I also got the same old navy sweater dress and I have the same loose torso problem as you did. So I want to take it in myself like you. Did you take it all the way from armpit to the bottom? And I don't understand what "I did one stitch down each side" mean… I am totally new at doing alternations myself at home! But your blog inspired me to start doing it.

  • Jill Kohnke November 23, 2014 at 9:38 am

    If you were to style this with tights, what color would you opt for? Thank you!

  • Jean November 28, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Hello – I think I've seen that one in-person at the factory store before and it's unfortunately on the yellowish side…

  • Jean November 28, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Hi there – I posted some photos for others who asked…I did take it in from the armpit down to the bottom. Turned it inside-out first and put it on, and then used fabric chalk to mark where to sew.

  • Jean November 28, 2014 at 4:00 am

    Dark navy or gray!

Comments are closed.