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Dress to Skirt & Top Refashion: Refashionista in Denver!

Rosé Festival Dress Refashion
The Best Thrift Stores in Austin, TX!

Last week, Mr. Refashionista and I took a nice little trip to Denver, Colorado!

Neither of us had been before. We found a cheap flight. Mr. R has a bajillion PTO days stocked up. In other words, the stars aligned to grant us a wonderful getaway…the first we’ve had together since having to flee Ireland on Day 3 of what was supposed to be our honeymoon as the world began to shut down.

While there, we did a lot of hiking, eating, beer-ing, and yes…thrifting!

I found a few thrift stores that had $1 clearance racks, which is basically a siren’s song for me.

While at one such store, Mr. Refashionista picked out this dress for me to refashion because it “looks like R2D2”.

refashionista Dress to Skirt & Top Refashion: Refashionista in Denver before
I don’t see it?


Maybe R2D2’s distant cousin?

This dress isn’t bad. I love the print & colors!

I also loved these buttons along the shoulders:

buttons on shoulder of dress
Aren’t they sweet?

I didn’t, however like how shapeless this dress was.

After one glance, I knew exactly how I wanted to refashion it. I would turn this dress into a skirt and matching top!

First, I made two chops!

cutting dress into two parts
Chop & Chop!

You can see how I’ve cut my dress into two parts, but also that I left a tiny middle scrap too.

This is because I didn’t bring any elastic or closures (think: zippers or anything like that) in my travel sewing stash. The only way I’d be able to make the skirt work would be to add a drawstring and the only source I had available for said drawstring was the dress itself.

Next, I pinned the top part of my dress at the top where I wanted to take it in.

My biggest priority was closing up those super-gapey armholes a bit.

taking in side of top
Just a little at the top!

I wanted my top to be a little boxy for the overall look I was planning, so I took it in more at the top and then tapered down to the bottom.

Then, I stitched each side of the top down!

sewing side of top
Wait…where did this lil machine come from?

But wait! What machine is this?

janome sew mini
My prodigal sewing machine has returned (sort of)!

One of you anonymously sent this to me when I mentioned I regretted getting rid of my Janome Sew Mini, which is no longer in production (they found it on eBay). Which was incredibly sweet & kind. Thank you (whoever you are)! I hope you’re happy to see it in action!

Once each side was stitched down, I cut off the excess fabric with my pinking shears (I checked my bag at the airport this time).

cutting off side of top with pinking shears

I folded the bottom of my top under twice and pinned it into place.

pinning bottom of top
A teeeeeeny hem!

I had to be careful not to make my new top too short (as I didn’t want my stomach to show), so I made my bottom hem just as teensy as I could!

I sewed my hem down.

sewing hem of top
My new-to-me-machine is doing a great job, eh?

I was really happy my new-to-me machine didn’t experience any of the needle clamp issues that plagued me with the Janome New Home in my recent Austin, TX refashion.

So, my top was finished, but what about my skirt?

Since I wanted to add a drawstring closure, I needed to give my skirt a place for the drawstring to go in the front.

I decided to use the zigzag stitch on my machine to make a sort of buttonhole that would allow me to thread the drawstring through and not fray.

zigzag stitch selected on machine
This stitch. Right here.

To do this, I first marked the front center of my skirt, leaving enough room to add a casing behind the buttonhole-ish thing.

pinned front of skirt
It’ll go right above this safety pin!

You can see I also pressed the top in place to make this part a little easier.

I stitched my buttonhole-ish thing by sewing to side-by-side zigzag stitches followed by a small stitch at the top and bottom.

sewn buttonhole
It ain’t pretty, but it’ll work! OMG…SAME!

After it was sewn in place, I carefully snipped out the middle.

snipping buttonhole open
Baby Snip….dodododododoooo!

If you’re following along at home, I recommend coating the opening with fray check to further reinforce it.

Time to make that casing!

I pinned the top part, folding it over the buttonhole thing, and sewed it down.

sewing casing on skirt
The final whirrrr of this refashion, party people!

Next, I pinned a safety pin to the end of my (primitive) drawstring and threaded it through.

drawstring with safety pin attached
Time for an adventure, little guy!

I know…this drawstring looks pretty shabby right? Don’t worry! It’s only temporary! I’m going to replace it with a long white shoestring, but this’ll work as a placeholder for now. I

I don’t recommend using fabric cut against the grain (horizontal instead of vertical, if that makes sense) of the fabric like I’ve done here, as it won’t be as strong. But, like I said, this was the best option I could come up with given my limited setup & materials.

When my (slightly janky) drawstring was threaded through, I slipped into my swell new 2-piecer!

refashionista Dress to Skirt & Top Refashion after
*R2D2 noises*

I’ve gotta say, I like this SO much better as a top & skirt set!

refashionista dress to top and skirt refashion after 2
I think it’s super cute!

Of course, temps in Denver were quite a bit lower than Columbia. Luckily, I came prepared with my trusty denim jacket I’ve had since college!

jillian in denim jacket holding sandwich
My muffaletta sustained me in this chillier clime!

Mr Refashionista thought my new outfit was cute too!

Brian in vintage western shirt
He thrifted this shirt during our trip! The ridiculous hat is new. *sigh*

We had the best time exploring this remarkably chill city.

Jillian in "mountains please" hat
Mountains, Please! *snap snap*

I’ll be posting more pics of our Colorado trip on my Patreon Page!

selfie of Jillian
Enjoying one of their “300 Days of Sun”!

I like that I can now either wear my new top and skirt together or separately, as I have a ton of dresses, but not so many tops or skirts!

dress turned into skirt and top
It doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy all the time!
jillian drinking beer
My hair is coming in so curly!


refashionista Dress to Skirt & Top Refashion: Refashionista in Denver before and after

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Rosé Festival Dress Refashion
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