Those sleeves are just terrible. The collar is awkwardly stiffly open... there's no shape going up to the bust and that tie belt is not cute.
But I remade it!
This remake took me seriously less than 20 minutes. I knew I wanted those sleeves gone, and I figured that making it sleeveless and finishing the armscyes with contrast bias tape would be the easiest way to finish them.
I first very carefully removed the sleeves... this was a little tricky because the puffs were only sewn onto half of the armscye; the underarm was finished with a bias facing. But I used my tiny thread scissors around those parts, and carefully dissected the sleeves. I also cut away a liiiiiiiittle tiny bit at the shoulder, to open up it up a little more and maybe make a more flattering, curved, open arm opening than the straight line that was there.
I used 1/2" double fold bias tape, in black. (There are tons of tutorials on sewing on bias tape. Here's one.)
I figured it'd be nice to tie in the black trim edge a little on another part of the dress, so rather than sew it all the way around the hem or something, I took apart the collar a little and sewed it all the way around. I trimmed just a few stitches at the collar opening and was able to wrap the bias tape around all the way into the collar seam. Then I switched to blue thread and sewed it back together.
Obviously I solved the belt issue by just removing it. But it's also cute with my fave wide black belt!
Sweet, right?! Saved that one from the Goodwill pile, made my $8 or whatever I paid in 2010 worth it, and hopefully found something to wear to work in these summer months. I highly recommend you try it out if you have any boring shirt dresses sitting around! ;)
P.S. Speaking of thrifting, have you heard of Twice? Nicer brands second-hand, online. I haven't ordered anything yet but am sending in some items to trade! Check it out if you like thrifting as much as I do!