Subscribe to updates via email!

Allagash Dress to Top Refashion

A New Years' Eve 1970s Formal Dress Refashion
Scrap-Busting DIY Infinity Scarf

As I’ve mentioned before, I have far more dresses than I do separates. This becomes a problem when I have a hankering to wear pants, but don’t want to look like a toddler by wearing a dress over them. 😉

This means it’s time to show a little restraint and make a few tops for the colder weather.

On this slightly chilly evening, I chose this dress.

dress to top refashion before

It’s about time I got to this one, as it’s been languishing on that rack for over a year!

I thought it would look dated if I kept it as a dress, so without much thought, I gave it a chop!

cutting off bottom of dress

Usually, I don’t make a chop before the taking-in process, as the end result pretty much always ends up being way shorter than you intended. But this was a very conservative chop just to keep me from dealing with taking in the entire thing. I anticipated having to make a smaller chop in the future.

I took my soon-to-be top in on my dress form…

Allagash Dress to Top Refashion 2

I cut off the excess fabric from the sides, then tried on my top. As predicted, another chop would need to happen.

cutting a little more off top
Just a lil chop!

I gave my new top a quick hem…

pinned hem
Pin & Stitch!

And that’s it! Now my shirt-to-dress ratio is ever so slightly more balanced. I wore my new top to Keg Cowboy for an Allagash vs. Founders beer tasting.

Wait...where am I?
Wait…where am I?

If I look like I’m in a bathroom for this “after” photo, it’s because I am. Sometimes any excuse for a tripod will have to do.

This. is sad.
This. is sad.
Allagash Dress to Top Refashion after
What can ya do?

In times of bad lighting, you sometimes have to get creative, folks.

Jillian and Paris
Cool ladies. Bad lighting.
Allagash Vs. Founders sign
Who shall emerge victorious?
Outside of Keg Cowboy
They have a fire pit too!
Beer in Allagash glass
Duck Confit SOS
This is their version of SOS…with Duck Confit!
Allagash Dress to Top Refashion before and after
A New Years' Eve 1970s Formal Dress Refashion
Scrap-Busting DIY Infinity Scarf

82 thoughts on “Allagash Dress to Top Refashion”

  1. Oooooo I love this one! Our Goodwill is kinda pricey (I mean, for a Goodwill) and it’s small and crammed full of stuff. BUT…my husband told me they are building a BIG, NEW one much, much closer to where we live. Yay!!! I mean, if that’s not a reason to really celebrate this NYE I don’t know what is! Keep the refashions coming. I’m addicted!

  2. Super creative! I love everything I’ve seen so far. I’ve fine similar rehashing for my daughter but not for an adult. My question is, what do you wash them in first to remove that “thrift store ” smell? Sometimes my regular detergent won’t cut it. I’ve used white vinegar, but wonder what you do?

  3. Where are you, Miss Jillian? Are you well? I, for one, miss your fab designs and witty commentary. Please come back ASAP!

  4. I’m from Italy. Love your posts. You are a great source of inspiration for me. I would like to have your brillant constructive talent.

  5. Jilly may not be aiming for accomplished seamstresses, which is fine, but we all need to be open to improving.ourselves. Without being willing to change, we stop growing. I mean no disrespect to any of you here, especially Jilly, but I hope before you take on these kinds of projects you would at least take, or have had, basic sewing and finishing techniques.This was my first visit here and have been here hours looking at all you’ve done. I like your style Jilly, and encourage your creativity. Envisioning an idea in our mind and seeing it through to the imagined finish is very rewarding. I’m a designer, too, and I can tell you your self-confidence has probably grown immensely when you compare where you started from to where you are now, especially with the following you’ve garnered.Talents only grow when we are willing to risk using them. And you do it in front of all of us! Keep going. It is surprising the offers you may receive. I submitted items five times to a magazine and about fell over in shock when the assoc. editor called and offered me a contributing editor position, which I did for 7 years. She was asking me to sew and then critique other artists’ doll patterns! Others can often see our potential when we haven’t taken an objective look at our own talents and abilities. As someone who’s over 35 now (cough, cough) I would ask you to leave out the critical remarks about “old lady” dresses, asking about anyone actually buying “upholstery looking” fabric. If it’s so bad why did you buy it then, plus go on to make something out of it for yourself?? To me sarcasm just detracts from your fun blog. And, yes, I’m the mom who teaches sarcasm is an inappropriate form of humor because no one wins. The target of the remark is embarrased having been ridiculed and the jokester looks stupid for ridiculing another person and saying it was just a joke. Really?? Who’s laughing? Ask yourselves if it’s good humor or bullying. The dresses you bought were designers’ ideas of “fashion” that women went along with, at the time, just as women are following your ideas now. Someday, we will ALL turn into one of those old ladies and will wear what to someone younger, looks old ladyish. lol They, too, will wonder about the things we wear now. Life happens providing we get to live that long. Congrats on your achievements, keep going and growing! The best of luck to you! And everyone, have fun with your upcycling. It’s so fun and I’m currently working on a gorgeous skirt to be made from an extremely large but gorgeous ladies thrifted (but not Jilly’s $2, sigh) sweater I’m thinking of as ‘yardage’ and trying to figure out how to use the short sleeves that on me, are down to my wrists, as well as the sides that will be cut off. Not quite enough for a top, drat. Any ideas, anyone? Happy sewing! (Maybe a scarf, or a beret, or handbag….) And I’m off again. LOL

  6. Would you consider posting the full refashions to tumblr in addition to the website? I use tumblr everyday and get notifications for when my favorite blogs post–I don’t always check the site frequently because the refashions aren’t on a set schedule so I miss the new ones when I finally check back in every few months…please? I’d be so grateful. I love this blog but it’s the only one I follow off of tumblr.

  7. Par peur d’écrire des bêtises, je choisis le français : j’apprécie ton blog que je trouve créatif et joyeux !!! C’est toujours avec plaisir que je découvre tes transformations! Parfois, je trouve des idées que j’essaie de reproduire… Mais certainement pas avec le talent! Bonne continuation !

    • I think Jillian’s refashes are intended to be approachable for the masses. Accomplished seamstresses may not be her primary target audience, as she probably wouldn’t bring more upcyclers into the fold by doing complex tailoring. I must warn you that her fans are legion, and we are utterly devoted to her. You won’t win friends here by criticizing her work for not being what it is never intended to be. . But if you have a blog on how to do the type of re-stying you describe, let me know. Have a wonderful day! Or, as our beloved Jilly would say, Cheers!! 🙂

  8. I rarely comment on things but I consider you a crazy (in a good way) virtual friend. Totally LOVE this one! Tunic (or long shirt-either way it’s damn cute) is certainly the way to go. Love the upside down V. Super job as always. Btw, nice grab bars!

  9. I notice when you are taking in the seams, your pins are put in in the direction of the seam instead of horizontal to the seam. Does your machine sew over them that way?

    • Some of it depends on your machine – I have an ancient Singer that goes around pins beautifully! To be safe, though, I try to be careful and pull mine out as I go through. I’ve never had a needle break but you never know!

      Great Refash! I love it!


  10. I have so many clothes that are getting big on me as I’m losing weight and it would be nice to be able to take them in so I can wear them again. My question is: Do I need a dress form in order form me to be able to pin correctly or is there another way to do it? I think I’m also afraid of the long sleeve and I have lots of them as I live in cold weather Canada haha. Thank you 🙂

    • Look at my older posts from before I had a dress form. It CAN be done! 🙂 Just take your sleeves in from around the armpit in a big arch (does that make sense?).

    • I will turn my garment inside out and put it on. Then using a mirror I pin along the seams where I need to take it in. That’s how I tailor most items to fit me without a dress form. Good luck!

  11. stay super cute blouse transforming it into that dress, you have much talent, I love to have your own opportunity, a Venezuelan Greetings from Col

  12. I so enjoy reading your blog! You have such insight into the future destiny of a forgotten piece of clothing. So nice to see people recycle things instead of waste : )

  13. I love this blog! Two questions : 1. When you take in the sides of a dress do you do same to arms/armholes? 2. Do you have any tricks (or maybe posts planned) regarding refashioning a too small item to fit a larger size??? Xoxo

    • I sure do!

      I’ve done a couple of too-small to bigger posts, but it’s a much tougher thing to do and have it look right. :/ Usually it just involves adding gussets to the sides.


What do you think?