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DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress

How to Refashion a Sweater: 24+ Sweater Refashion Tutorials
Turtleneck to Crew Neck Sweater Refashion

I always think I like free-waisted dresses like this one when I see them hanging on the rack at the thrift store.

“Oh, that will be comfy and cute on me!” I say.

But then I put one on and discover that while I may like them, they don’t especially like my pear-shaped figure.

refashionista DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress before
What’s up with these neck tie thingies?

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This jersey-knit dress is incredibly comfy and made of some of the softest jersey fabric I’ve ever encountered.

Unfortunately, what it possesses in comfort, it completely lacks in style.

refashionista DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress before 2
Womp. Womp.

But what can I do about it?

After a moment of contemplation, I decided I would turn this frumpy dress into a cute DIY tunic top! It was super easy too!

First, I needed to deal with that weird neck lacing thing.

close up of neck tie detail
This detail makes no sense on this dress.

I pulled it out and set it aside.

removed neck tie
Don’t worry! You’ll come in handy in just a moment!

Then, I chopped off everything below the armpits of this dress.

cutting off everything below the armpits of dress
Byeeee!

This left me with a good bit of fabric to work with.

removed bottom of dress
Plenty of fabric to create my new top!

This also left me with a raw edge, which would normally need to be hemmed. But since this dress is made of a jersey knit, all I had to do was tug at it to make it curl.

curled raw edge
Worked like a charm yo.

That curled edge is now going to be the bottom of my new top and the original hemmed bottom is going to be the top!

I took my fabric scrap and pinned the original hem where I wanted my neck to begin and end.

If you’re following along with this tutorial at home, feel free to slip this over your head if you’re unsure as to whether or not you’ve given your neck enough (or too much!) room!

pinning where I want neck to be
See?

If you look closely at the pic above, you can see the front middle has a little more fabric than the back.

This is a feature, not a bug! 😉 The front of the original dress had a little more fabric than the back (to leave room for things like boobs).

To make this top, I knew I needed everything from the side seams to the neck hole to be flat and even, so I just let the neck drape a little.

I grabbed my amazing sewing clips that I love love love and clipped everything from the edge of the neck to the side seams.

clipping shoulders of new top
Don’t be like me. Don’t wait over decade before you discover these.

Seriously. Go get you some sewing clips. They are awesome.

Next, I sewed along the edges of my clipped fabric.

These are going to be the shoulders of my new top!

sewing shoulder of top
Just pull the clips off as you come to them!

But wait! Where are your arms gonna go?!?!!! you’re likely thinking,

I’m so glad you asked (or perhaps screamed in your mind).

I grabbed my scissors and snipped about 5″ or so carefully riiiiight along the side seams below my newly-sewn shoulders.

cutting out arm hole
Carrrrreful!

Remember how I said it was important to keep the side seams flat and even? That’s because I’m cutting riiiiiight along that serged edge.

When I was done snipping, I tossed my new top on and cinched the waist with that leftover neck tie thing!

DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress after
Cute and comfy!

If you want to try this with a dress that doesn’t have a neck tie thingy (as it most certainly should not), you can cut a scrap from the leftover fabric that resulted from removing the top and use it instead. Or you could leave it free-waisted and french tuck it.

I styled my new top with a ripped pair of jeans, black sandals, and silver accessories.

I love my new tunic top and am so happy I didn’t leave this piece as a dress!

DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress after closer
I’m a fan!

Here’s what it looks like from the side!

DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress after side view
Le side!

I think that slightly draped neckline works just fine, and am glad I didn’t make it any wider.

jillian owens selfie
Lookit my little hairs sprouting!
DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress after closeup
So simple!

I wish I could say I had a lovely relaxing day in my new top, but sadly, that wasn’t the case. :/ Baby Benson has an odd growth coming out of his foot, so I took him to the vet to get it looked at.

benson in back seat of car
Poor Benson!

They’re not sure what it is, but gave him antibiotics for now. He might need surgery next week, so please keep this little guy in your thoughts! He’s had a couple of random maladies over the past few months, so it would be nice for him to get a break from medical issues for a while!

Pin this refashion tutorial for how to upcycle a jersey dress into a tunic using this link!

Cheers!

refashionista DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress before and after
Yield: 1 Tunic Top

DIY Tunic Top from Jersey Knit Dress

refashionista DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress before and after

Learn how to make a simple tunic top from a jersey-knit dress from the thrift store. No sewing pattern needed for this simple diy upcycle tutorial. Start refashioning dresses into tops today!

Active Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • 1 Jersey Knit Dress (free waisted)

Tools

  • Fabric Scissors
  • Sewing Clips
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread

Instructions

  1. Cut off everything below the armpits of your dress.cutting off everything below the armpits of dress
  2. Cut an additional 1" scrap from the top of the bottom scrap to repurpose as a tie to cinch the waist (if desired). Pull it so it curls. removed neck tie
  3. Tug at the resulting raw edge to make it curl. curled raw edge
  4. Flip the bottom scrap upside down. The bottom hem will now be the top of your new tunic top. removed bottom of dress
  5. Pin the original hem where you want the neck of your tunic top to begin and end. Slip this over your head if you’re unsure as to whether or not you’ve given your neck enough (or too much!) room! pinning where I want neck to be
  6. Use your sewing clips to clip everything from the edge of the neck to the side seams.clipping shoulders of new top
  7. Sew along the edges of the clipped fabric, pulling the clips off as you come to them. This will be the shoulders of your new top.sewing shoulder of top
  8. Cut 4-5" slits right below the top of your top along the side seams.cutting out arm hole
  9. Put your new tunic top on and cinch the waist with the scrap from Step 2.DIY Tunic Top from Sleeveless Jersey Midi Dress after closeup

Notes

The front of your dress may have more fabric than the back. Since you want everything from the side seams to the neck hole to be flat and even, just let the front side of the neck hole drape a little.

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Turtleneck to Crew Neck Sweater Refashion
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