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Vintage Hawaiian Muumuu Refashion

Dress to Elastic Waist Skirt DIY
Flip It! Upside-Down Dress Refashion

I have owned this sweet vintage Hawaiian Muumuu for about six years, friends.

refashionista vintage hawaiian muumuu refashion before
So comfy!

I actually bought it in Hawaii! It was purchased at the same time as the “before” piece for this refashion I wore while in Hawaii!

If you have doubts as to its authenticity, just check out the label!

hawaiian sears label from muumuu
Wait..made in Hawaii by Sun Babies? I am against child labor!

I’ve worn this muumuu around the house a few times as-is. I loved how comfortable it was, adored the neckline, and was pretty darn fond of that double fan appliqué near the bottom.

fan applique
I’m a fan of the fans!

I wondered what I would end up doing with it.

Until now!

Let’s Refashion this mummu into a cute spring/summer dress!

Step 1: Remove those sleeves!

Temps are starting to heat up here in SC. In order to get the most wear out of this dress, those sleeves had to go.

I grabbed my seam ripper and got to it!

removing sleeves of muumuu with seam ripper
Ripping off those sleeves whilst lounging in front of my beautiful luxurious pool!

As you can see, I chose to execute this part of the refashion while sitting (kiddie) poolside at my newly-refinished table! And yes, our friends who gave us their old table ended up giving us their chairs too (which got the same treatment!).

This part took about thirty minutes (aka, the halfway point of the podcast I was listening to).

When I was done, I put the sleeves aside as we’ll be using them in just a bit!

removed sleeves
Still Life with Sleeves and Incredibly Non-Tacky Patio Pool

All that seam ripping left me with armholes that looked like this:

raw armholes after sleeve removal
Messy! But don’t worry!

Step 2: Stitch down those fraying armholes!

I brought my muumuu inside and got to pinning!

pinning armholes under

You can see I’m pinning the blue part under twice and the purple part under once.

I have a couple of reasons for this. The blue part was fraying like crazy, whereas the purple part still had a serged edge that kept it from fraying. Also, the purple fabric is much thicker than the blue fabric, so folding it under twice could make it look really bulky.

After both armholes were pinned, I stitched them both down with my machine, using purple thread for the top parts, and a blue thread for the bottom parts.

I tried to keep the place where the two fabrics met as tidy as possible, but still ended up with this:

fraying edge where two fabrics meet

You can see where the two fabrics don’t quite join up properly.

Not to worry! I just tacked these parts down by hand.

hand stitching top of dress
Seriously…I’ve got alllll time in the world for attention to details right now.

The armholes are now secure!

Step 3: Take in the sides (if needed).

I tried my now-sleeveless muumuu on, and wasn’t happy with the fit. The armholes were large enough so that the bottom of my strapless bra showed (not ideal), and I thought it would look better taken in a smidge as well.

If you’re trying this at home and your muumuu fits just fine, congratulations! You get to skip a step!

I pinned each side, taking it in 1″.

pinning sides of muumuu to take it in
Just a smidgin!

Then, I ran each side through my machine!

sewing down side of muumuu

I cut off the excess fabric with my pinking shears, and just like that, Step 3 was done-zo!

Step 4: Make a Sash!

This is the final step!

Since I wanted my muumuu dress to be fitted in the waist, I needed to have something to cinch it with.

I opted for repurposing those sleeves!

First, I got to cutting!

sleeves cut into strips
Douglas is not impressed.

In order to make my sash long enough to go around my waist and be tied off, I needed to get two long strips from each sleeve.

You can see where one part of the sleeve could be folded over (since it was already on a seam, and the others needed to be stitched together, which is what I did!

I pinned them along one side of these pieces and then stitched them down.

pinning one side of sash part
I feel like I’m explaining this very very badly, but hopefully these pics help?
stitching down part of sash
Just nod and say, “Okay, Jillian.”

I unfolded all of my sleeve parts, and pinned them all together into a single strip, with right sides facing each other.

pinning sleeve fragments to make sash
See how this is working now?

Then I pinned this together lengthwise and stitched it down!

sewing length of sash for dress
It’s all coming together!

I turned my sash right-side-out…

turning sash right side out

…and closed off the ends!

closing off end of sash for dress
Last step!

And that’s it! Check out my fahhhhbulous vintage muumuu dress now!

refashionista vintage muumuu dress after

Is that neckline not TO DIE FOR?!?!!!!

refashionista vintage muumuu dress after close up
I mean, I wouldn’t literally die for it, but it IS really cool!

Even the back looks great!

back of vintage muumuu dress refashion
FYI: That back zipper closure is why I was able to take it in as much as I did!

I look forward to wearing this dress a lot this spring and summer, and I’m so glad I finally got around to refashioning it!


Vintage Hawaiian Muumuu Refashion | Refashionista
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Flip It! Upside-Down Dress Refashion

46 thoughts on “Vintage Hawaiian Muumuu Refashion”

  1. Jillian, this is an absolutely fabulous refashion and you look amazing in it! It’s perfect for hot weather. I’m in Texas so I understand the importance of light fabrics and sleeveless. Congratulations on another inspiring refashion.

  2. Oh, this is such a great refashion! Those colours are great and I just love the slim silhouette and the neckline..

  3. Lovely . I will have to find mine. It is that color blue. I have had it since I was pregnant in 1986. Muumuu redo.

  4. I have never been a fan of the Muumuu, but I think this is my fav refashion yet! Those bright beautiful colors are cheerful and an instant mood lifter!

  5. Yes please! Do you have a vision before you start, because I think you’re a “creative flow” kind of artist and I’d love to know your thought process and how much time do you invest in your projects and when do you throw in the towel, so to speak. In fact, maybe add to your posts the average time it took to do each piece?

  6. Wow–that was a much bigger transformation than I expected! Congratulations on owning such a sweet frock. 🙂

  7. I think this is one of the best! I am in awe of how just taking off those sleeves makes that neckline go from a mumu to amazing! That is just beautiful on you too! I have been sewing lots of things from scratch but I do have a few thrift finds that need an upcycle around here as well and should remake some of the favorites. I but things a lot because I love the fabric and if you buy it in the plus sizes there is plenty to work with to remake some really cool things.

  8. Looks great, and I love the neckline! And if you ever want it shorter, you could cut it at the same angle of the purple/blue seam for an assymetrical look.

  9. Love this Refashion! You always make such awesome stuff out of not so awesome stuff!
    Enjoy your day

  10. absolutely love this refashion and the purple looks stunning on you. I am now beginning to look at ugly castoffs in a whole new way and can´t wait to get back out to explore the charity shops in my home town. Thanks for all the inspiration.

  11. I’m so jealous of your foresight that keeps reimagining these castaways. You look fabulous in that turquoise color!

  12. Turquoise and purple are my favorite color combination. Love this refashion fitted. Well done !
    You are obviously creative, but how long does it take you to have the total vision for what you want to do with a garment ? Will you give some insight into this thought process for us ?

  13. Fabulous!!! Love, love, love the new neckline, you are so creative! Thanks for continuing to keep us entertained and inspired during our shelter in place! I can’t wait to go thrifting!

  14. Absolutely love it! Looks great! Maybe one if these days I’ll get to try some refashioning myself!

  15. Midi dresses are back this one fits right in, what a fantastic refashion, do you ever slow down? just kidding in these times we need to keep busy.
    You are amazing.
    Stay healthy


  16. This is a gorgeous dress. Have you tried making a wide elastic belt with a buckle that you can use with any dress? Contrasting color? That is my quick fix for making defined waists on everything.

  17. You must be itching to get some more items on your Refashionista rack. I remember how it used to be in the background of your before/after shots. I always wanted the opportunity to shop that rack. Haha.

  18. This dress is SO. COOL. Absolutely love these vivid colors and can’t believe how you transformed it! Well done! BTW, Am truly enjoying seeing your transformations back in my inbox!

  19. I love the colors on this one!
    I also like that you put how long the seam-ripping took you, because I always feel like the majority of my sewing time is seam ripping and/or threading my machine lol. I’ve always wondered if it takes everyone that long to do it!


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