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DIY Peplum Top from Frumpy Dress

Graduating to New Levels of Lame
Corduroy Dress to Jacket Refashion

While digging through my closet trying to find something to wear for work, I realized something…I have very few tops and almost only dresses.  

This makes days when I feel like wearing jeans a bit trickier than they should be.

When I plucked this black sweater dress off my refashion rack, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to keep it as a dress or not.

jillian in diy peplum top before
Oh Pinot Noir…guide me in this decision!

I liked the neckline of this dress, as well as how soft, warm, and cozy the fabric was.  But…dress or top?  I really wasn’t sure which way I was going to go.

Let’s turn this frumpy dress into a DIY Peplum Top!

I got started by resizing the dress with the help of my dress form.

pinned dress. on dress form
Let the tailoring begin!

Then, I ran each side of the dress through my machine.

sewing side seam of dress

I chopped off the extra fabric from the sides…

cutting of extra fabric from side of dress
Choppy choppy!

…and now for the step that would take this dress into peplum top territory!

I cut off some of the fabric from the bottom of this dress. The leftover skirt part will be my new peplum!

cutting off bottom of dress
I regret nothing!

To complete this refashion, I ran the bottom raw edge of my new top through my serger.  

I could have just hemmed it, but I wanted my new top to have a more funky/edgy look to it. I think it looks pretty nifty now!  🙂

serging bottom hem of top
Edgy, no?

What do you think?

DIY Peplum top after
I think I made the right decision!
DIY Peplum top after full length
Fitted & Warm!

On a side note:  I was thinking about how when I first started this blog, it wasn’t so odd for someone to be snapping pics with an actual camera all the time.  

But now, when everyone pretty much just uses their phones, I tend to stand out a bit with my clunky Nikon…;)

refashionista taking selfie in mirror
It ain’t no big thing!

I don’t mind!  I want to take the best pics I can for you guys, even if selfies are a bit weird…

Mark Cox Columbia SC and Jillian
We do what we can!

My new top was perfect for an evening celebrating a good friend of mine starting his new job/celebrating a great week!

Jillian and friends
Eh… phone pics are okay too…on occasion! 🙂
jillian and friends
We’re so happy for Phillip! 🙂
Mark Cox, Jillian, David, Erin, Phillip and Jamie in Columbia SC


refashionista DIY Peplum Top refashion before and after
Graduating to New Levels of Lame
Corduroy Dress to Jacket Refashion

60 thoughts on “DIY Peplum Top from Frumpy Dress”

  1. Hi! I just found your blog and I love it!! You make awesome stuff and I love that you are recycling old clothing, saving money, and being creative in the process! I just wanted to share some information with you that really made my life better.. because this GORGEOUS top that you made is so form fitting, I sort of noticed your bra line under the shirt. I recently found this subreddit called ABraThatFits and it blew my mind. I realized that after so many years of being uncomfortable in all of my bras that I was actually just wearing the wrong size! Mind was BLOWN. Here’s the guide:

    Im SO much more comfortable and happy now. I can literally wear my bra all day where before it would start to hurt after just an hour or two. The sucky part is that because my size is SO different from before (34B to a 30D!) that it’s a bit trickier to find the size and can be a bit more expensive. But it’s soo worth it.

    I know this sounds sort of sales-y but I just really want to share this info with every woman I meet because it really, really was valuable to me. I hope you read the guide with an open mind and find your TRUE bra size. Most women are uneducated about this including me! Thanks for your awesome blog!

  2. I LOVE this remake! Talk about revolutionary change for the good!

    My only wish is that you had made it a smidge less form-fitting. I think it would have been more becoming if it skimmed your figure rather than clung to it.

  3. I, too, have been reading you for quite awhile, including binging on your blog when you were doing a new piece every day for a year. I’ve been so inspired to try refashioning something myself, and yesterday was finally the day! I turned an old bridesmaid dress into a cute spring skirt, and blogged it here:

    Thanks for the inspiration and sharing of your process!

  4. This is very eye opening for me. This isn’t your most daring re-fashion but it’s made me re-think ‘basics’ which I never think of as a re-fashion item. I’ll keep an eye out for good fabrics in ugly styles to refashion something as versatile as this! Thanks!

  5. So, I’ve been reading you for a few years now, possibly since you were making a new outfit a day for a year. My friend who is also into thrifting and consignment shops just loaned me a book called Overdressed and I got so excited when I saw you mentioned in there. Between you and the book, I’ve been inspired to buy a sewing machine so I can start altering my own second-hand clothes.

  6. Wow! What i learned today is that frumpy clothing makes me look huge! You are clearly a very height/weight proportional woman with classic curves but when you put on those frumpy cloths they make you look not so much those things. I now have to wonder how awful the things in my closet must make me look because i think they are hiding my flaws…scary…i own something that looks very much one of the items in your photos…i doubt ill ever wear it again.

    guess its time to haul out the old sewing machine

  7. Just once, I’d like to see photos of you staying at home with your dog on the couch watching tv, like us normal people, the bag of chips and the glass of wine on the coffee table in front of you. Nice job, though!

  8. I love your work! You probably get this a lot but do you sell your old refashes to make room for new ones? I have a bunch of things I’ve refashed and I’m running out of room.

  9. I love your stuff! I make my own clothes and I always wish I could do what you do to refashion some of my other stuff (I suck at refashioning… but I’m great with altering a pattern! haha)… just wanted to let you know though, your serger tension is quite off. They can be a tricky beast to get right… tension… the bane of all sewers existance!

  10. I like your “real camera” pics much better than your phone pics! Top looks great, but I would say it is a fitted top, not so much a peplum. Looks great and very versatile with many looks. Great job as always!

  11. Love it! but the white thread it´s a don´t for me, maybe u can ran the bottom raw edge through the serger with a different colors of each threads. Anyway I love your work

  12. Cute new top I like the sergey hem. Thanks for carrying around the bulky camera so we can have good pics. You do a great job of photographing & blogging your work. Thanks!!

    • Give it a go – buy cheap thrift shop stuff so it doesn’t matter if you wreck it and you already have a ‘pattern’ to follow. i had cupboards full of rags before I got something I was prepared to actually wear but now love sewing. Even made my daughters’ blazer and slacks for college

  13. LOve it. I need to do this. You make it look so easy. Whats the worst that can happen? A thrift shop item gets messed up 🙂 Looks fantastic.


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