A Notable No-Sew Dress!

Q&A Monday: How to Refashion without a Dress Form
ReFashionista: Porch Edition

During my 366 (It was a leap year!) day project, I did quite a few no-sew refashions, but I’ve really stayed away from those as of late.  I’ve gotten a few emails asking for refashion ideas for those of you who don’t have/don’t want/are violently fearful of a sewing machine. Well…this refash is for you!  :)

I started off with this $1 thrifted little old ladyish dress right here:

Oh the possibilities!

Oh the possibilities!

I love the paisly pattern, but the fit/style is just plain off.

I didn’t feel like sewing, so I did this:



…which was quickly followed by this:

Tied up in knots!

Tied up in knots!

I tied the sleeves into what I call a “bathrobe knot”.  Not a full bow, just half of one (I really hate bows, which is why you don’t ever see them here.  Go ahead…try and find one.  I dare ya!).

Check that dress out now!

Seriously...does it get any easier than this?

Seriously…does it get any easier than this?

I added on a colorful belt to cinch the waist, and tossed on some turquoise sandals (there’s a bit of turquoise in the print of the dress, but it’s hard to see here).

I think it looks rather nice, but Douglas seems unimpressed.  :/



Meh.  Everyone’s a critic!  :/

Oh you know...just settling in to read a depressing play...

Oh you know…just settling in to read a depressing play…




Q&A Monday: How to Refashion without a Dress Form
ReFashionista: Porch Edition

48 Comments on A Notable No-Sew Dress!

  1. Biocadence
    April 26, 2013 at 10:47 am (2 years ago)

    I never would have thought to try this. You look adorable! Good thinking! Hmmm… you have me thinking about how I could refresh a look I have in my closet;)!

  2. Diane
    April 26, 2013 at 10:50 am (2 years ago)

    I’m a sucker for anything paisley – love this!

  3. mephaela
    April 26, 2013 at 11:00 am (2 years ago)

    I always wondering how creative you are!

  4. jennbecca
    April 26, 2013 at 11:03 am (2 years ago)

    Love IT!!!!!! Super Cute dress….new dress!!!

  5. vjstracener
    April 26, 2013 at 11:08 am (2 years ago)

    That turned out really well. I would never have expected it to look so cute.

  6. Courtney
    April 26, 2013 at 11:12 am (2 years ago)

    So cute! Granted you could probably make a trash bag look adorable :)

  7. Laura Detmer
    April 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm (2 years ago)

    I’d like to see what the back looks like… very cute though!

  8. Ms. Yang Blogs
    April 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi- question: what did you do with the shirt collar portion? What does the back look like? I really want to try this idea!

    • ReFashionista
      April 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm (2 years ago)

      I’m a total goober for not taking a pic of the back! The collar just gets tucked in so it lays flat. I’ll try to remember to put this dress on again soon to get a pic of the back for you guys. :)

  9. Natalie
    April 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I really like this idea but it only seems suited to a few body-types, which is unfortunate for me having one of those not-well-suited-types. I like the idea though!

  10. Sarah
    April 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm (2 years ago)

    I love following your refashions, and am interested to know if you have any advice for a larger woman’s refashioning projects. I am a 16W right now, and trying to make and salvage more clothing for ethical reasons, but am having trouble finding sizes large enough to work with. Any words of wisdom to offer? Thanks!

    • Jennifer
      April 27, 2013 at 9:57 am (2 years ago)

      I’m not Jillian, but hopefully I can help. IMHO, it’s tougher to find things for upcycling if one is either taller than 5’8″ (count me in that!) or over a size 12 US (count me in that, too – size 14 or 16 depending on the designer!).

      The mens department is an amazing place to look. I’ve found so many high-quality cashmere sweaters in the mens department that can easily be tweaked to look and fit more feminine. Even men’s trousers and jeans work great for upcycling foundations. Based on what I’ve found, the menswear is often made of better quality fabrics, and there’s a larger selection of clothing that’s big enough to work with. There are a number of great tutorials out there on the internet on how to convert trousers into skirts. There is also a nice tutorial on resizing men’s trousers for a woman’s body. Here’s a link to one – http://ofdreamsandseams.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-turn-mens-suit-pants-into-womens.html

      Don’t be afraid to pick something that may be a little too snug. Another trick that you can do is adding fabric. If you find something that’s in a misses 16, you can look into adding panels. I’ve also converted dresses that may have been too short or a little too small into different clothing pieces all together. I had a shift dress that fit great on my top but was too snug on my bottom. I cut the bottom, added fabric in a print that had the color of the shift dress in it, and made a cute baby doll top that always gets compliments.

      • Sarah
        May 9, 2013 at 11:35 am (2 years ago)

        Thank you very much for that advice! So useful!!!

  11. mindilee
    April 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm (2 years ago)

    i would love to see this dress again. what an awesome pattern and color combo! score and a half.

  12. Darlene Nudy
    April 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm (2 years ago)

    You are so freakin funny! I always get excited when I see your email!! This is awesome but I don’t think I could put it off!!


  13. MrsAlwaysForever
    April 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm (2 years ago)

    Genius! It looks completely different. Very cute!

  14. Willow
    April 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm (2 years ago)

    Woop! 100% cooler : )

  15. Jennifer
    April 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm (2 years ago)

    I really like the print of the dress. Personally, the “after” is not my style. However, I do like the concept of being able to do something different without having to cut and sew, and I like the styling with the shoes and belt.

  16. Robin Anderson
    April 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Unrelated, but I love that you know how to properly hold a dachshund (from one doxie lover to another)…cheers!

    • ReFashionista
      April 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep! Gotta support their spine! :)

  17. Lauren
    April 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm (2 years ago)

    One. Douglas is getting big! Two. Your facial expressions in the pictures was probably my favorite part of this refashion. lol Cute idea, but your, “See?! Reinventing things isn’t hard you buttheads!” facial expressions were pretty amusing. hahha

  18. dramaqueenseams
    April 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Love it! I never would have thought to do something like this! Very creative…

  19. Danica
    April 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm (2 years ago)

    You are so amazingly creative! I love your blog.

  20. Angelfairydust
    April 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm (2 years ago)

    I love it!! The pattern is absolutely gorgeous. I have finally got my craft room yay! Which happens to also be my bedroom but my boyfriend destroyed my other desk which wa made out if an old canvas wardrobe so I made him build me another because he is a joiner carpenter after all!! And oh boy I have soooooooo much space I love it. I bought my daughter a few new clothes the other day and I gathered all her old crappy ones to start refashioning! I’m going to be losing a tremendous amount if weight soon like 90lb so I am going to refashion things for my kiddos to start with :) a refashion a day keeps the dr away! ( I have chronic pain and I’m on morphine patches so this would e a great distraction if I can stay awake)!!! Lots a love xx

  21. eranfaraway
    April 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Impressive transformation! You look so adorable! I think Douglas is just jealous ;)

  22. jenny_o
    April 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm (2 years ago)

    Amazing! You are a magician :)

  23. Hanna from Sweden
    April 27, 2013 at 4:12 am (2 years ago)

    Hi. I found your blog a whilw ago and have since started every morning with reading a few posts an today i actually got to the end! You have great ideas and have inspired me not only to a few refashions i’ve already made but to rethink why and when i by clothes.
    I will, thanks to you, try to keep my shopping to a minimum and only basics while iI get the rest of my stuff from thrift stores and/or redesigning stuff. =)
    Thank you for all the inspiration!

    • Danallyn
      April 27, 2013 at 4:21 pm (2 years ago)

      Woah, Hanna- what are the odds- I did THE EXACT SAME THING TOO! As in, read through past posts and finally caught up to the current posts today too! Love your work, Jillian, and I also used to live in Cola, so it’s fun to see some familiar places in the background too!

  24. Gladmum
    April 27, 2013 at 5:03 am (2 years ago)

    Have you tried twisting the sleeves really tightly and tying a halter neck?
    Thank you for a blog that makes me laugh, cry and remember what the important things in life are.

  25. Melissa
    April 27, 2013 at 10:38 am (2 years ago)

    I just love all of this..! :)

  26. Joan
    April 27, 2013 at 11:23 am (2 years ago)


  27. Devora Manier
    April 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Just wanted to tell you thank you for your blog. I’ve spent the last 4 1/2 years taking care of seriously ill family members (my Dad, my husband, and now my Mom), so I haven’t had much time or inspiration to be creative. I also have two growing kids and haven’t had a lot of money to spend on fashionable clothes (kind of hard to do when they go through 3-4 sizes each year). Your blog has not only inspired my creativity, but it has given me a ton of ideas to make sure my little girl has really cute clothes! Thanks so much!!!!

  28. buttonsandbirdcages
    April 28, 2013 at 8:04 am (2 years ago)

    You’re SO creative! Your new sew refashions are 10 million times better than my sewn ones! So inspirational!

  29. Jessica
    April 28, 2013 at 11:28 am (2 years ago)

    Love your blog! I spent all last week reading through those 366 posts and have been feeling inspired again to sew! So far I have refashioned one dress from a maxi to a shorter sundress with sleeves, given up (for now) on a project that needed way too much hemming, and thoroughly botched a top….so much so that even the seam ripper couldn’t save me. Thanks for all your tips and ideas!

  30. Allyson
    April 28, 2013 at 12:57 pm (2 years ago)

    Love this idea, can’t wait to try it!

  31. omlair
    April 28, 2013 at 10:00 pm (2 years ago)

    bah, so simple yet I would never have thought of it. great refash!

    I tried machine dying yesterday and it went amazingly! I find you so inspiring!

  32. Angela
    April 28, 2013 at 11:06 pm (2 years ago)

    I just found your blog and I have to say that you are amazing! I am completely inspired! I have been looking for a way to get some new clothes as I have just lost a lot of weight, but I still love my old stuff that I can’t wear. I’ll be retreiving my sewing machine back from my mom now. Thank you!

    • ReFashionista
      April 29, 2013 at 10:24 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks so much! And thanks for the shout out!

  33. mindilee
    May 2, 2013 at 10:06 am (2 years ago)

    I FOUND A BOW!!!! tee hee. I went back to the beginning, because I have a lot of down time at work. It wasn’t my intent to bust you out, I just get inspired by your refashes. Made by Me March day 20. 2011.

    • mindilee
      May 2, 2013 at 10:10 am (2 years ago)

      I should note, that it is on an abso adorb halter. heheeh.

  34. ellonello
    May 5, 2013 at 2:26 pm (2 years ago)

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOVEEEEE THIS. Had a dress that looked just like this (shape-wise)…tried my hand at refashioning it with the sewing machine….got a little scissor crazy….and now its a skirt! Not bad, but I sure wish I saw this post before!


2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on A Notable No-Sew Dress!

  1. […] 5) Who would’ve thought an over-sized, elderly dress can turn into quite the sexy number? And you don’t even need to learn how to use the sewing machine for this paisley summer dress ! […]

  2. […] 5) Who would’ve thought an over-sized, elderly dress can turn into quite the sexy number? And you don’t even need to learn how to use the sewing machine for this paisley summer dress ! […]

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