When I first procured this Kathie Lee dress from the thrift store for a mere $1, I was afraid.
There are some pieces that intimidate even me, folks. And this was one of them.
There’s a lot to be afraid of. Like so many other Kathie Lee creations, it’s suuuuper matronly. :/ Those shoulder pads! That prissy collar! Those sleeves!
*takes several deep breaths*
When I’m confronted with a dress as unflattering and unlikable as this one, I find it’s best to step back and identify what I like about it, rather than just what I hate.
For instance, I like that front waist detail. It’s super fancy and has some potential. I also kind of like the collar, but would prefer to have less of it. The bodice fits in a loose-but-not-too-loose way that I like as well.
In other words, I got this!
Refashion Step 1: Get Chopping!
To get this refashion rolling, I first snipped out the skirt from the dress.
Another nice thing about that waist detail is that it overlaps the skirt of the dress. This means I can chop off the skirt without worrying about adding a new hem, since the raw edge will be totally covered! Sweet!
Next, I pulled out my seam ripper and got to work on those sleeves.
This was a two-part process, as part of each sleeve was covered by that lacy collar. So, I simply trimmed around the lace after picking the rest of the sleeves out (Don’t worry…we’ll be cleaning up those raw edges in a bit!).
Now we’re getting somewhere!
As I said before, I don’t like how high up the collar of this dress sits and would prefer more of a boatneck for what will end up being a more preppy-style top.
So, I cut it down a bit.
Refashion Step 2: Clean up those raw edges!
All this chopping left me with a lot of raw edges to deal with, as well as the remains of that back zipper (the thing that looks like a tail in the above pic).
Since the zipper is plastic, and largely covered by that waist detail, I simply snipped it off.
“But wait! What’s to keep the zipper pull from just sliding off?!?”, you’re undoubtedly yelling at your screen.
Since the zipper is plastic, you can sew over it to shorten it! I stitched over the bottom part several times, like so:
Now for those armholes!
I pinned and then stitched the navy parts down first.
Then, I swapped out the thread in my machine from navy to white and stitched down the top armholes & new neckline!
After I gave my new top a good press, it was complete!
And here’s what it looks like from the back!
While this top is a little preppier than my usual style, I still really like it, and look forward to wearing it out & about soon! 🙂
I styled my new top with a pair of ripped jeans and matching navy Sperry boat shoes (If you’re going preppy, go all in I say)!
Sidenote: Since I can’t get my hair cut right now, it’s now officially long enough to fit in a sock bun!
I hope you’re all hanging in there & finding creative ways to occupy your time, friends. Things are tough right now, but good times will return. Let’s make sure to have some fabulous refashions to trot out when they do!
45 thoughts on “’90s Kathie Lee Dress to Top Refashion”
So Do excited you are posting again. You always have such great ideas and are creative to the max. Stay safe and keep refashioning. Lol in my youth I had a dress very much like that, except it was your fav color(Pink). I was a girly girl back in the day. Now I am just a crazy grandmother.
Your face in those pics is great. They make me chuckle. I always like seeing your refashions, so inspiring!
I think a pair of “dress” shorts, a la Rachel Bilson in the first season of “Hart of Dixie” would be divine!
She should watch Pretty In Pink for more inspiration! Learn to sew as soon as you can, and then start experimenting. 🙂
You are back!!! I missed your post so much!!!!!
It’s amazing how you can see in your mind’s eye the potential and the end result, which is magnificent!
This preppy style is so cute on your petite frame. You should consider more preppy for the wardrobe 🙂
You never fail to impress! I know you save extra material. Can’t wait to see what you do with the shirt part.
I love your fashion vision, your amazing. Thanks so much for sharing your recreations.
Nice job as usual and you’re rocking that up-do!
I wish I could share pics here because I just took a screen shot of the “related products on amazon”. First one was a seam ripper (which is fine). The second one was for shoulder pads!!! (Not so fine).
So happy your blog is back and updating so regularly!
Another win! Nice work, thanks for the inspiration 🙂
Love what you did
Love what you did. I’m curious, was there enough fabric left over from the dress to make a pencil skirt of slacks?
Love it! You look great and have the skillzz. 🙂
Love it!…and, as a sewer for many decades, I have to say, “Yeah!, for seam rippers!”
Each refashion is better than the last. I love them!! This one is particularly amazing.
Fantastic… You made a beautiful top!! Love the detailing…
I love the waist detail!
This was a very nice transformation and well worth the effort!
It would work as a dressy/casual top with other types of pants.
I want to have your refashion skills when I grow up…. It’s AWESOME!!!!!!!!
Who says you have to grow up to make fun refashions?
The back is just as cute as the front.
Love this. But with the leftover skirt and sleeves, why not make a pair of capris that you could wear with the top ? That would be awesome, too.
Good vision. That came out super cute. I would have preferred it with some nice fitted slacks over the ripped jeans though. I am curious about what you do with all these great clothes after your refashions. How many times do you actually wear them? Do you gift them to someone else? Or? How about a segment on the ‘Afterlife of a Re Fashion’?
this is so cute it kind of makes me want to slap you. why can’t i have amazing sewing skills?!
The front: sweet. The back: SWEE-ee-EE-eeT!!!!!!!!
that is super cute
That’s a good one! Nice job!
I think you knocked that one out of the park! I like the way you described what you did like about the dress………great way to hone in on those details and not get distracted form the rest. I will be looking at dresses in the thrift store (when the reopen) in a whole new way!
Would never have had that vision that you do. Cute!
Please keep your ideas coming during this stressful time. Many others, I’m sure, are like me and look forward to hearing from you. I am searching my closet for projects and have a few in mind thanks to you. Keep it up, girl!
When you stitch under sleeves, aren’t the arm holes too big sometimes?
Sometimes they are! When that happens, I just take in the sides a smidge after the armholes’ edges are fixed. 🙂
So cute! I’m impressed by how much potential you see in everything. I would’ve seen that dress and kept on walking.
Love it! Love it! Changing the collar to blue was genius. I have a question, what will you do with the skirt? Would love to see what you come up with.
Thanks! The collar’s color wasn’t changed though! It just looks bluer due to the different lighting! 🙂
Love the transformation! The change you made to the collar makes such a difference. My husband says “it went from frumpy to hip”!
Your hubs has good taste! 😉
HI, I think you should send this link to Kathie Lee Gifford. I will bet that she would love it and all the recycling styles that you produce and share. How about it?
The before pic made me want to come up to your desk and give you an apple – or ask you to dust the furniture 🙂
Looks fab now!! Well done.
Love that Brussels lace collar!