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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

Want more refashions in your life (and inbox)?

Rosé Festival Dress Refashion
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28 thoughts on “Dress to Skirt & Top Refashion: Refashionista in Denver!”

  1. Hear, hear, Meg! Exactly what I was thinking! Whoever did that – I love them with you!

    The Refashionista does so much to make all our lives better and brighter. I think the person who went out of their way to make HER life better is super swell!

    Plus, I love this refashion — as usual. You make me think maybe, in some universe, I can stop being afraid of learning to sew. By hand, I already do a little here and there. The big stuff intimidates me, but you make it seem possible. Goals for 2021…

    A friendly hello to awesome Mr. Refash, too!

  2. I am jealous !!! I love Denver and wish I could move back there. What thrift stores did you shop at and which did you like the most !!! I love this post !!

  3. I didn’t think I’d see much of a difference when it was split into a set but I did!!! Watching you take in gape-y armholes made me think-you could do whole posts on how to alter specific things like that. I have an issue with 90% of the sleeves things out there showing my “under the armpit” part of my bra, would love tutorials on that sort of thing!

  4. Another timely save… the skirt and top look amazing… and definitely an improvement from the R2D2 look of the dress! Can’t say I loved the colour of the dress… love it as separates tho! You… looking good… love your hair!

  5. You made the right call. It totally overwhelmed you as a dress, but as a top and skirt it’s almost as cute as you. 🙂

  6. Hi. My husband says while you are there ride the Durango and Silverton train. He knows trains like you know sewing. Have fun in Colorado!

  7. It is amazing how you know how to turn an out of dated item and make it fresh and new. So pleased you are doing well. God bless.

  8. A little tip for cutting open buttonholes…….place a straight pin at the top edge of the stitching. Use a seam ripper to open it up between stitches. The straight pin won’t let you cut through the stitching at the end. Cute finished project, especially on vacation!

  9. So much cuter than before! Just my 2 cents – and if you love it as is, disregard. I’m just not into bright primary colors & the stark contrast of the white. I’d love to see a cool dye job on this one that tones it down a bit!

  10. So, Mr Ref has an hawkeye as yours for such beautiful finds !!! (I hope it is the good expression)
    This is really cute – wish you the best, both of you

  11. I wished I’d known y’all were in Denver! I’m a short jaunt from LoDo and would have been honored to buy you both a round of beer.

    The refashion is adorable, your hair is coming back with Jillian flair, and it’s wonderful to see you out and about. ❤️

  12. Welcome to Denver! We have lots of beer, beautiful mountains and usually good weather. Where did you find your dress? Thrifting is super but my sewing skills are pathetic. That is why I love your site always fun to see what you come up with.


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