I could definitely pinch more than an inch!
Here's my process of transforming the dress. Let the alterations begin!
First, cut off a few inches below the waist.
Here it is after it's cut.
Next, cut straight up the center back.
Install an invisible zipper - stopping at the waist.
I was very happy with the invisible zipper. This is before pressing - you can hardly tell where it is!
Next, pin the sides to fit and add a few tucks to the front too.
Thread trace the pin lines on the inside. This will serve as your stitching guide for the seam.
Sew the seam and serge the edges.
Try on. I needed to sew the tucks a little higher so I pinned the in place and stitched.
Next, determine how long you would like the ruffle and cut from the bottom up on the leftover piece. Cutting from the bottom up allows you to use the already stitched hemline from the original dress - one less thing to sew! Cut a straight line down the center back too - just like you did for the top portion earlier.
Next, gather the ruffle piece. I zig zag over embroidery floss to make my gathers. With a wide zig zag stitch, simply place the embroidery floss between the zigs and the zags and sew, making sure not to catch the thread as you sew.
Here's another pic of the gathering process. Be sure to knot the starting end of your floss before sewing.
Then, simply pull the floss and adjust the gathers. This method works especially well when you have alot of fabric to gather and you don't want to worry about the threads breaking with two rows of straight stitching.
Next, pin the ruffle in place and try on. Once you have it where you are happy, repin and sew right sides together.
This placement looked pretty good to me. Sew the ruffle in place, finish the zipper and you are almost done!
Next, sew on some cute ribbon above the ruffle.
Very important next step - find some cute shoes!
And Ta Dah! All done!
Here's the before and after. Quite a change!