Petite Lookbook: DIY Inspired Nautical Dress

A few weeks ago, I fell in love with a See by Chloe dress worn by Tiffany at I-am-stylish. It was a short-sleeved shift dress with nautical stripes and feminine ruffles…simple, but perfect. The price however was a bit outside my budget. Inspired, I dusted off my sewing machine and set out to create a DIY version.

Dress: DIY from H&M; sz 2 tees
Ankle-Strap Wedges: BCBG 5.5
Bangles: H&M; sz XS/S w/2.5″ diameter

Above Left: The inspiration – See by Chloe nautical dress, $267 (photo credit

Above Right: “Before” shot of my raw material. Bought two of these oversized 100% cotton tees at H&M; for a grand total of $8. I tried on numerous striped tees before finding these perfectly airy and lightweight ones.

 This dress is so easy to wear under cardigans or blazers. Khaki jacket: Theory sz 00
Also goes well with my nude pumps from Target, sz 5.5 (sold here – now on sale!)
The back (I love the slouchy fit for hot summer days), and ruffle detailing:

All I did was use the second tee to make a ruffled bib, as well as add a few inches of length to the original tee shirt. Since I haven’t sewn for years, I had several trial-and-errors on what should have been a simple project. Overall, though, I was quite pleased with the results…so the time spent was worth it!

***Addendum – posted step by step pics here***
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  1. Justine wrote:

    OH now I really want to make one for myself..

    Just Better Together

    Posted 1.9.11 Reply
  2. raven wrote:

    I know I'm really late, but you are a lady after my own diy heart 🙂 Simple + stunning on ya. But who can really argue with ruffles + stripes?

    Nice work + lovely blog!


    Posted 7.16.10 Reply
  3. Kristy wrote:

    Holy smokes, this is the best DIY I've seen so far! They look so much alike 😀 I'll try this at home for sure! Now off I'm go to your next post for the instructions 😉

    Posted 6.14.10 Reply
  4. lil_budoy wrote:

    cute…that's good that u can sew.. i wish i could 🙁

    Posted 6.13.10 Reply
  5. Eva wrote:


    Posted 6.10.10 Reply
  6. wrote:


    Posted 6.9.10 Reply
  7. Lisa wrote: looks fabulous! plz post process on how u made the beautiful dress. i would love to try to make one like urs. or can u make one for us? hee hee.

    Posted 6.9.10 Reply
  8. nicole wrote:

    I LOVE THIS! You are so talented. Your DIY looks amazing! You could've labeled that dress as See by Chloe and I wouldn't have been able to tell the difference! I love those ankle strap wedges from BCBG as well.

    Posted 6.9.10 Reply
  9. I wish I was this talented. If I could do this, I'd buy plain shirts for now on & make designs on it lol. You paired it with nice shoes as well =]

    Posted 6.8.10 Reply
  10. Oh wow. You did such a good job! Have you thought about adding some elastic to the sleeves to get a gathered effect? Either way, it's very cute. Perfect for summer. Good job!!!

    Posted 6.8.10 Reply
  11. MsHark wrote:

    WOW THIS IS AMAZING! I can't believe you did it yourself, I think it looks better than the Chloe, and practically identical.

    LOVE those BCBG wedges like crazy, I wish they were still available!! I need those!!!

    Posted 6.8.10 Reply
  12. Love how you paired with the nude jacket. Good job!

    Posted 6.8.10 Reply
  13. Jessica wrote:

    This is so creative of you! How did you get the nice white piping or border for the ruffles in the middle?

    My mom used to design/make bridal gowns and the closest i got to a DIY thing was when I cut up my mom's most expensive lace to make myself a veil =X I was 6 and she was NOT happy haha

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    i just came across this blog and i am in love. thank you for posting all these great finds for petite girls. i'm so happy to know i'm not the only one!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  15. Wow! That's amazing!

    Please show us some photo's of how you did this, though, I'm not sure I could even cut a straight line – I will try, if there is a minute chance my project could even come close 🙂

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    i would love to see those "in process" pictures!! 🙂

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  17. Sonic wrote:

    That is some MAD skillz! Process pictures please! I couldn't sew if my life depended on it. I cannot even see where you added the extra inches on. Lovely dress to pick to make 🙂

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  18. maybegirl wrote:

    What an awesome DIY project! The t-shirt looks so much better after your improvements. You can barely tell where you added the length and the bib looks seamless. I would love to see some in-process photos to see how you made the bib.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  19. chung wrote:

    You did a great job and I I think it looks even better than the Chloe! The white piping on the neckline and centre part of the ruffle piece really stands out and gives it a more marine feel to dress overall.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  20. anna wrote:

    This is such a great idea! ^^ You look so pretty in that dress!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  21. This is so cool! You are so creative! Great job! I liked how you made the dress longer. It looks so comfy!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  22. Beautiful project. I can barely sew a straight line the last time when I tried using the sewing machine heh.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  23. sophia wrote:

    PAG you are so amazingly talented! I absolutely LOVE this post, b/c you replicated a super (overpriced IMO) expensive piece, and I think it looks better than the Chloe!!!

    I get so annoyed when ppl equate brand name and expensive price tag with "it must look good" or "well made". I've seen many many cheap material pieces (hello acrylic and polyester) made by high end designers.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  24. This is just so gorgeous. I'm a little inspired myself…but afraid of the sewing machine!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  25. Sara wrote:

    WOW it looks awesome! Nice job 🙂

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  26. Ping wrote:

    omg you are crafty! i got a sewing machine as a present years ago and i haven't even opened the box. you did a great job and it looks very professionally done.

    btw its such a coincidence…i just bought a juicy nautical t-shirt with ruffleson the sleeves and its the exact color as your dress. i need to get it altered though 🙁

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  27. Irene wrote:

    It looks PROFESSIONAL girl…I would love to see how you made it 🙂 You have major talent…and you saved yourself A TON. It looks fabulous – major props!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  28. Jimin wrote:

    ahhhhh amazing! I can't imagine how long this would take me if I tried it… probably days.. -_- but this is seriously amazing! it looks better than the inspiration and it looks great on you paired with all those cute nude accessories 🙂


    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  29. Angie wrote:

    i would love to see in process photos! you are so talented 😀 i only sew by hand so the going is slow and crooked but it makes me feel rugged and proud. should really learn your skills someday!

    the ruffles are perfect and i like the look best under your fitted blazer. amazing job!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  30. Tisha wrote:

    Good job! You're quite handy with that sewing machine. If only I had the talent. And the patience. And the time!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  31. Anonymous wrote:

    That IS an amazing job. You got the ruffle spot on! I'm especially impressed that I can't tell you lengthened the dress.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  32. locke wrote:

    wow, amazing! i love DIYs 🙂 you're so talented! yeah, please do post the "in process" photos.thank you 🙂 xoxo

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  33. MizzJ wrote:

    That's awesome! I wish I had the patience to learn sewing skills haha. You did a great job on this, it looks super close to the inspiration!

    Do you want fabulous hair? Who doesn't! Then enter my Misikko Hana Elite giveaway to win a free fantastic flat iron!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  34. Tiffany wrote:

    fabulous job girl! that dress is one of my favorites. You have got some mad sewing skills!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  35. Dang girl, you've got skillz! My little sewing machine is sitting lonely and un-used because I'm too impatient to learn how to sew a straight hem…sigh…maybe this summer will be the summer I finally learn! =)

    PS. I've now got that Beastie Boys song in my head…"She's crafty!"

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  36. mich LA wrote:

    Omg! You did such a great job! I really love how it turned out. I wish I had some sewing skills. Beyond tying extra straps here and there, I fail.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  37. April wrote:

    Looks great on you! I think it could be a bit tighter, but overall you are soo talented. I sew too! 🙂

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  38. libys11 wrote:

    wow.. you really outdid yourself with that diy dress!! 😀 great blazer and shoes partnered with it!!! gorgeous look overall! 😀

    Animated Confessions

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  39. Nina wrote:

    WOW! You've got talent! I couldn't even tell which was the original and which you DIY! Good job!

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  40. Cynthia wrote:

    Oh wow, good job with the DIY! It looks so much like the real thing.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  41. Bella wrote:

    You're so talented! And clever too 🙂 I was wondering how the shirt looked so long on you when I got to the part about how you used the 2nd shirt. Love how you paired it with the wedges and nude pumps.

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply
  42. PetiteXXS wrote:

    That's pretty cool! And for only $8! Sewing skills are definitely great to have! I'm curious to see how you added the length to the tee since I can't tell where the seam (or interruption in the stripes) is. The ruffled bib is probably way beyond my definitely amateur skills with the sewing machine, but I really like the way it looks underneath the blazer. I love it when DIY projects work out!

    Oh and your hair kind of reminds me of those bump-its! If it looks like that naturally, then you're lucky! 🙂

    Posted 6.7.10 Reply

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