The first dress still had a store tag on it when I got it. It's a nice rayon fabric that seems to have had a nude mesh in the open space on the front. Someone had cut the mesh out, and also torn out the whole back zipper:
I couldn't try this on or even figure out how the ties went with the zipper looking like this. For the price, I said "what the hell" and took the chance that it might not fit me.
Put in a new zipper, trimmed the mesh neatly, and that was it! I couldn't find any other damage to the dress, though it just barely fits. The back isn't lined up perfectly due to how the fabric was torn out (I had very little to work with around the zipper) and I didn't want to chance ripping it out and re-inserting because the fabric is a loose weave.
I really like the shape of the back on this. I have narrow shoulders, so this narrow back lays very well on me. I might have to try copying it.
The second dress seems to be vintage. I think it's made of velveteen (It has a lower pile and isn't as bristly as velvet) with machine embroidery. The collar caught my eye since it's not a common style anymore. I don't have a before picture (I know, useless) but when I got it, it was chopped off at the bottom. It was a clean cut and even, going through the zipper, but luckily the zipper pull was still there. The dress was a slight A-line with side bust darts. It was a little big on me.
I started by sewing a tack at the end of the zipper so I wouldn't rip the slider off. I found some matching bias tape and added that to the bottom to finish the cut edge. It's not the exact same color as on the sleeves and collar, but it's pretty close. Please excuse the non-matching thread - I wasn't too particular about fixing this neatly since it was so cheap.
Since it was a little too big, I added darts in the front and back.
(Of course I'm standing in a way that bunches up the back in my only back photo.)
You can clearly see the darts here. They really shape the front well.