I bought the dress at an upmarket sort of thrift store (op shop) for $15.00. I was so excited because it fit me and was almost full-length crushed silky looking fabric, with a sheer layer above. With a few alterations it would be perfect! With inspiration from here I began my transformation.
I wish I took a "before" photo, but I forgot until I was part way through cutting! This is what it looked like at that point:
You can see that the neckline was very high and plain. I cut a square neckline with my rotary cutter, and sewed over it to finish the edges. Then I sewed on top some lovely braid (given to me in a bundle of goodies by Linda). The moment I saw this braid I was hoping to use it for this purpose. It was perfect, because it meant that the dress and my bonnet from last year could coordinate - the colours of the braid matched the bonnet perfectly!
I stitched some strips of matching ribbon at the sides just under the bust and threaded through more braid, which I tied at the back to create an Empire line. I also gathered in the sleeves a little to look more "puffed". My dress was complete!
Here I am on the night of the party:
I bought a peacock feather and stitched it onto side of my bonnet, but it doesn't show in the photo. The colours of the feather matched the dress perfectly, so I ended up with coordinating bonnet and dress. I found some jewellery I already had, and my fan and shawl I used last year, plus some flat pink ballet-style shoes to complete my outfit. I actually find an Empire line dress very comfortable, and would love to wear it all the time (except I would look continually pregnant LOL!)