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!

Leave a Comment


  1. Jean wrote:

    Dark navy or gray!

    Posted 11.28.14 Reply
  2. Jean wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.28.14 Reply
  3. Jean wrote:

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

    Posted 11.28.14 Reply
  4. If you were to style this with tights, what color would you opt for? Thank you!

    Posted 11.23.14 Reply
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.21.14 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.21.14 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    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?

    Posted 11.21.14 Reply
  8. Jean wrote:

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

    Posted 11.21.14 Reply
  9. Jean wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.21.14 Reply
  10. Jean wrote:

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

    Posted 11.21.14 Reply
  11. I like your striped dress. You look beautiful!!

    New FASHION post on

    Posted 11.19.14 Reply
  12. You look gorgeous with your striped sweater dress. Find accessories that will add beauty to your outfit.

    Posted 11.18.14 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.17.14 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.16.14 Reply
  15. 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. =)

    Posted 11.15.14 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.13.14 Reply
  17. Jean wrote:

    ** 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…

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  18. abrow54 wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  19. wow I might as well try that this alterations on other sweater dress… thanks jean

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  20. Jean wrote:

    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 : )

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  21. Jean wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  22. Jean wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  23. Jean wrote:

    Hello! We used a Canon 6 D : )

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  24. 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! 🙂

    Posted 11.9.14 Reply
  25. Vale wrote:

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

    Posted 11.9.14 Reply
  26. Anna Marie wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.5.14 Reply
  27. A sweater dress like this one is a life-saver in colder days, love the ways you styled it.


    Posted 11.5.14 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.4.14 Reply
  29. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.4.14 Reply
  30. Dayle wrote:

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

    Posted 11.4.14 Reply
  31. This sweater is so good…love it…its looks great on you…love the weekend style with that cozy look so pretty…


    Posted 11.4.14 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.4.14 Reply
  33. Bostonista wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.3.14 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    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

    Posted 11.3.14 Reply
  35. Jean wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.3.14 Reply
  36. Jean wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.3.14 Reply
  37. Jean wrote:

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

    Posted 11.3.14 Reply
  38. Jean wrote:

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

    Posted 11.3.14 Reply
  39. Jean wrote:

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

    Posted 11.2.14 Reply
  40. Jean wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.2.14 Reply
  41. Jean wrote:

    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!

    Posted 11.2.14 Reply
  42. Jean wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.2.14 Reply
  43. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.2.14 Reply
  44. Looks great and yes, jersey dresses are so incredibly versatile.

    XoXo One stiletto At A Time

    Posted 11.2.14 Reply
  45. Paige Ma wrote:

    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).

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  46. Audrey Lin wrote:

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

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  47. Amanda wrote:

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

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  48. Ally Gong wrote:

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

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  49. Anonymous wrote:

    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?

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  50. Anonymous wrote:

    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.

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  51. Pru Yeo wrote:

    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!


    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  52. This dress was made for you and you've styled it perfectly!

    Red Reticule

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  53. Scarlett wrote:

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

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  54. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 11.1.14 Reply
  55. jessydust wrote:

    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. : )

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  56. 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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  57. I have sweater dress like you have in this the way you presented it here, thanks for the info again

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  58. Suzie Q wrote:

    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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  59. jannyisms wrote:

    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! 🙂

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  60. Janki wrote:

    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.

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  61. andrea wrote:

    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!


    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  62. Anonymous wrote:

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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  63. 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.

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  64. You look great! Love these two outfits. I have been eyeing that sweater dress. Never knew it would look so lovely

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  65. Sasa Zoe wrote:

    Cute! Love the two ways<3

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  66. I'm really loving that KS belt– and the different ways you styled this pretty sweater dress 🙂 So cute!

    Daisy | Simplicity Relished

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  67. Diana wrote:

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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  68. Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  69. MissLilly wrote:

    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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  70. Diana wrote:

    Super cute dress!!
    xo, Diana

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  71. I prefer the outfit with the scarf!
    Victoria | GlamFizz
    or follow on Instagram

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  72. Natalie wrote:

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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  73. 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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply
  74. Julie wrote:

    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

    Posted 10.31.14 Reply

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