Elefun Dress Vol. 2!

Not Quite Red Dress
A Too Darn Hot No-Sew Refashion

Let it be known that I have a fondness for elephants.


Hey Buddy!


This is evidenced by this refashion, as well as this one.

When I found this dress with its funky elephant print, I knew I didn’t want to let any of those little guys go!


I love them.  Really...I do!

I love them. Really…I do!


Unfortunately, I knew I wanted to shorten this one.

Not to worry!  I had a plan!


Wait?  Why two chops?

“Wait! Why two chops, Mom?”


I overlocked the raw edge of that bottom scrap, then pressed it under.


Don't judge...it was my first time overlocking!

Don’t judge…it was my first time overlocking!


Then, I stitched it down.




I’ll bet you’re wondering where I’m going with this one, eh?


I put my dress on my form, and pinned that scrap onto the neckline.


Le back!

Le back!


Le front!

Le front!


If you look closely at the front, you can see where I made two pleats to compensate for the length of the bottom being longer than the length of the neckline.  I bascially just eyeballed it and folded it.  It really wasn’t very hard, just a little finicky.  :)

I stitched my new collar down…


Teal elephants on parade!

This looks almost identical to the first sewing shot…weird!


I’m almost done!  :)  I couldn’t forget to give my newly-renecked dress a nice new hem, now could I?





Almost done!!!

Almost done!!!


I am really really really proud of this one, you guys!


Save the Elephants!

Save the Elephants!


Seriously…I’m in love with this one.  I enjoyed getting lots of compliments on it all day!  :)


Even while eating a tasty vegan feast!

Even while eating a tasty vegan feast at Good Life Cafe!  


Even while being interviewed by The April Blake!  :)

Even while being interviewed by The April Blake! :)


What do you think?







  1. You are so fashion inspiring. I have so much stuff I never wear but can’t figure out what to do with it. Do you ever do other things besides dresses? I have several shirts I need inspiration for.

    • Every now and then I do shirts. Haven’t done one in while…perhaps it’s TIME! :)

    • Mwa ha ha- me too! What a great way to cover the shoulders a wee bit.

      I’m also pleased to say that I will be embarking on my first refashion soon. I have a cute polka dot blouse that is too big and just looks frumptastic on me. It’s getting short sleeves and I think I’m going to do something interesting at the back. A friend has a Gap blouse with buttons up the back. Hard to explain..

      Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. I believe this is now my favorite refashion you’ve done, to date. I too am a elephant lover and just love the collar addition featuring the elephants. Loved you on GMA too!

    Thanks for all the fashion forward ideas you just keep knocking out, you are truly a creative mind!

  3. I love it (and I love elephants too!). The collar really takes it up to the next level – well done!

  4. I think you are a genius and the elephants are so thrilled to be frolicking around your collar :)

  5. LOVE it! I would not have thought of that. This is one of my favorites.

  6. Amazing! I am inspired to do something with some of my old print skirts now! Lauren xo

  7. I think this one is my all-time favorite!!!…and I’ve read all of your posts(the winter weekends are long and cold here in WI). :-)

  8. I love following your blog! (I’ve been a fan since before that lil GMA appearance!) You’re fantastic!

  9. I love this! Great idea for saving a pattern that you like. I did something similar when I made a too-short sundress into a top appropriate for a work cookout.

  10. This is so creative! I thought you could chop off the top, add elastic, and make it a long maxi skirt. You stepped up your game on this one!

  11. So cute loved the way you incorporate more elephants in collar, genius. Now you know what to wear for a hot date to the zoo!

  12. I just had to let you know that you’ve inspired me to do my first refashion :) I turned flare jeans into skinny capris and I love the result. I have a feeling there will be many more refashions in my future!

  13. I love how all your “after pictures” seem to feature a glass of wine. :) Love your work!

  14. Love it! Slowly inspired to try something out…I did have a print that I loved but was too loud so I did “fade” it with bleach and peroxide. And I’m going to change the buttons out on a blouse. Baby steps, baby steps…Do you know if I dye something with beading- will the beads absorb the dye?

  15. Brilliant. This is one of the first of your refashions that I have genuinely appreciated. It’s so creative and the before/after shots don’t rely on poses that appear to mock outsize clothing and those who might be big enough to need to wear those sizes. It takes far more talent to refashion clothes in a similar size to your own rather than far larger sizes.

    Cute larger-sized clothes are very hard to come by – please don’t buy up and destroy what little the thrift stores have to offer in these sizes!

    • Oh go away you troll. She has as much right to buy clothes as anyone else and she’s not mocking anyone. Those clothes are never “cute” when she starts off with them, they are gross and frumpy it’s her refashions that make them cute!

      • Vegan diet will get you fitting in the small clothes, Im serious. And she is talented and she is thrifty. We buy from charity shops because it’s eco friendly not just because it’s cheap

      • This x100. I have volunteered at thrift stores in the past and most plus-sized 80s dresses and muu-muus would get send to landfill because they were unsellable. Nobody wants them! They sit in the store for years collecting dust, fading in the sun, falling apart due to age, and generally taking up store space. Thrift stores receive more clothes than they sell, so if anyone thinks there is a limited supply of plus-sized clothing – they just aren’t looking hard enough!

  16. I am elephant obsessed. This one is very cute. I am a fluffy woman so most of your refashes would not fit but you are beast when it comes to turning eyesores into beautiful garments. I wish we had a Goodwill warehouse here so I could experiment.

  17. I especially like this one because the neckline covers the bra straps. It’s great that you could make the pattern work another way; patterns are tricky! Well done!

  18. I have a cute little elephant pin to send you ( that I thrifted) What is your mailing address. My thanks for your wonderful blog!!

  19. Ingenious!!….ignore the dolts who think their lack of choices in plus size clothing has anything to do with you!! As if it could!!!

  20. So beautiful! I really love the silhouette of the “after” dress. It’s so vivid with its colours. Thank you for all the inspiration. Denitsa from Bulgaria.

    • Just click on the pic in editor mode. A pencil thingy will come up and then you can type a caption.

  21. I’m pretty sure this is my first comment! I LOVE this refash!! I’m surprised too because on all of the photos of your work in progress I wasn’t seeing it, then in the finale photo I was amazed :) great job!

  22. Very nice re-fash! Always enjoy your posts. Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to all of us!

  23. You are brilliant. Every time I look at your blog, I think, why didn’t I think of that. Brilliant!

  24. U really could have ur own show! Keep it up. Only been following u a short time but love what I’ve seen so far. Very creative n entertaining!

  25. I thought that the neckline was fine the way it was, but then you went ahead and made it even better! Way to go!

  26. WOW! This might be my favorite of yours, and there is a lot of competition for that! Excellent!! Thank you!!

  27. Oh man, another fun one! Can you please just move into my house and refashion every piece of clothing we own? Thanks. New Mexico is fun! :-)

    • Sure! Your household wine & cheese budget is about to skyrocket though! ;)

  28. So much fun! I love it! I’m a fan of fluttery sleeves and necklines like that- I will certainly use this method in some of my own refashions! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  29. I’ve been a faithful reader for a long time, and this is my favorite refash yet! I love the way you added a bit of coverage at the shoulders…I can’t always wear sleeveless. I know a lot of your readers will appreciate this!

  30. This is fantastic! Makes me wish here were more thrift places in NH! Guess we don’t throw away/donate so much. I love to refashion and though this is my first ever comment here, I love this blog. And I love you, Jillian, for being so creative, brave and just loveable!! -Brittany

  31. WHAT! This is amazing. I thought you were just going to take out the middle and reattach the elephants to the bottom. This is above and beyond – gorgeous!

  32. Absolutely my favorite piece so for! I have a soft spot for elephants. Love those giant creatures. The collar of elephants is very cute! Enjoy your creativity.

  33. Best ever, and so nice to see Douglas getting in on the fun! You are inspiring!

  34. Love this! Can you give a little explanation about the over lock stitch? I am a novice sewer ( I only make stuff for my daughters) and have noticed in past posts that you use pinking shears before you hem. This time you did an over lock which I’m not exactly sure what that is but can look it up. Wondering in what situations you use the shears and when you over lock?
    Guess it is pretty obvious that I am a novice;)
    I’m a fellow Cola gal and can’t believe I didn’t hear about you until you were on GMA!

  35. Well, be sure to leave a detailed list of every thrift store you have the capability to get to in a timely manner, and we’ll be sure to set aside every “larger-sized” piece of clothing that comes in, whatever exactly that entails, lest a HORRIBLE THINNER PERSON – *GASP* – get ahold of something NOT IN THEIR SIZE before you have access to it.

    With love,
    A plus-sized woman who wishes people like you would stop making the rest of us look bad with your petty nonsense.

  36. Wow, you blew me away again! Love elephants too. Years ago my father gave me a crystal elephant and that started my collection. Design, Wine, and ellies, we are long lost sisters!

  37. I love your creations. Would so love to have a dress form. Would make sewing so much easier.

  38. Hi Jillian I totally love your cool blog and have become addicted to it :) SO creative and I love your lifestyle too! I have actually worked in 2 sewing factories and I can definitely verify that the working conditions are horrendous – it was not unusual for the forelady to throw things at us or even hit us when we made mistakes. And it was considered a rite of passage when a sewer accidently would sew through her own finger. And all this was in the US; I am sure it’s much worse in other countries. So thank you for everything you do to encourage people not to support that kind of workplace.

  39. Im new on your blog but checking out all the fabulous redos you have done on some very challenging articles of clothing in my opinion. Have you considered refashioning clothing for other women, maybe your friends so we scan see various body types and sizes. Of course you’re adorable and tiny and everything looks good on you. Just o suggestion. Keep up the good work. You got me to get my sewing machine out of the closet.

  40. I love this refashion!! This is one of my favorites. Looks like something you could wear summer after summer with a wooden beaded bracelet containing the same colors! Wow, you really outdid yourself.

  41. I really enjoy what you are doing. You have inspired me to get the dust off of my sewing machine. Keep up with your redesign of clothing.

  42. Very cute idea! I wasn’t sure where you were heading when you cut that piece off, what a great use of that print!

    To the supposed “Plus Sized” persons who keep criticizing this blog–I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–you are full of crap. I don’t want to hear about how you can’t find anything in your size in thrift stores. While the selection may not be as large as it is for regular sizes, I have found PLENTY! At the moment my closet is SO full that I’m getting ready to do a purge, I can’t move the stuff around easily, and I have a double sized closet! Quit using your sorry assed excuses as a reason to criticize someone who is creative. We don’t want to hear it here. Go somewhere else and leave Jillian alone.

  43. Wonderful dress!
    I wanted you to know that I opened up our local Sunday paper today and there you are on the fashion page! Congratulations on your success and well-deserved recognition!

  44. You did it again! That collar looks so good and the print is amazing! I haven’t touched my sewing machine in a while now, I think is time to unpack it and finish some of the things I started ages ago -:)

  45. So fun, J and I see you got a serger! You will love it and it is SO GREAT with knits…they just run right through and it is the best stitch ever. I loved your GMA segment and I don’t know anyone that hears themselves on TV and says, “I have an awesome voice!” We ALL do that and it is so funny how critical we are of ourselves but the whole segment was amazing! Love it!

  46. So cute! The thrift stores I go to here in New Orleans very rarely have anything in my size, so it’s nice to get some tips on how I can size down things to make them fit.

  47. It’s adorable, would never find that in the shops and that is one of the joys of refashioning! PS Love that you mentioned the vegan place :D promo eco friendly all round!

      • Looking forward to see how you do it. I have a few jeans my belly “outgrow”. I need your inspiration.

  48. Loved it, I really enjoy your creativity it really is a gift !! Looking forward for the next one !!!!

  49. I found your blog via pinterest. I have just finished stalking through your blog from the very start to finish in about a week or so. I’ve told my friends about you. I’m hooked! I used to sew quite a lot about a decade ago (I fall in the same age box that you do) but somehow it just tapered off. NOW my living room looks like I’ve been mugged since when I started reading your blog I got out all my clothes that needed something to be done and there’s a lot of them. So far I have changed 2 dresses into skirts, added sleeves to one of my own creations, changed buttons on a few things to make them pop, made a shirt fit better and changed a shirt into a top, fixed a skirt I thrifted but then discovered that someone had butchered and my first ever batch of a dye job just finished in my washer! These things have wanted doing for a looong time (like years for some of the things) and they’ve just been hanging around my closet waiting to get out and be worn. Reading all that you have done really inspired me to get up and instead of pinteresting fun things to do actually make them happen! Keep up the awesome!

    • Yay! You’ve been one busy gal! :) Soooooo excited for all your fun projects!

  50. Hello! I LOVE this dress, and I’m fairly sure I looked at it in person a few months ago… Did you find it at Kitschy Kitsch at the Sleepy Poet? Beautiful redesign, by the way!

    • Thank ya. Nope. Found it for $1 at one of my fave thrifty places! :)

  51. I do enjoy your refashionistas and am intrigued with your ingenuity. I like the collar you put on this dress, but I’m OVER the belt with every outfit look. This dress would have looked very nice with no belt–judging from the original photo of you wearing it. I cannot wear belts due to a completely straight figure (no hour glass what so ever) and am discouraged with most of your designs requiring a belt.

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