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How to Refashion a Dress into a Top Without Sacrificing Bottom Details

Thrift Store Style: It's All About the Layers!
DIY 1920s Costume from 1980s Dress

For 2020, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try to refashion items from my wardrobe that I’m tired of before donating them to the thrift store.

I would hazard a guess that 99% of my wardrobe is thrifted.

This doesn’t mean 99% of my wardrobe is refashioned, though. I find pllllenty of perfectly nice things on the $1 clearance rack too.

Like this dress:

refashionista before
Oh really? If it’s so nice, why are you making that face, eh?

I’ve actually worn this dress several times. I love the color and that neat bottom detail.

I don’t love how it rides up on my hips whenever I try to walk in it. :/ I have no problem whatsoever wearing short dresses, but this was a bit much.

In order to wear this dress, I had to either wear it over leggings (as a tunic) or do that 90’s thing where I tie a flannel shirt around my waist to hold it (and my modesty) down.

That’s a lot of effort for a simple dress.

That’s why I decided to refashion this dress into a top. But I hated the idea of losing that neat angular detail on the bottom.

That’s when it hit me, I didn’t have to lose that detail at all! I could just move it up!

Let’s begin.

First, I removed the bottom part (with that detail I liked) with my sewing shears.

cutting off bottom of dress
It all starts with a chop!

After my chopping was complete, I began unpicking the front of the neck with my seam ripper, like so:

unpicking front of neck with seam ripper
Pick, pick, pick…(you get the idea)

Here’s what it looked like when I was done:

deconstructed neckhole of dress
It’s come undone!

This looks pretty messy, right? Don’t worry! I have a plan.

I took part of the bottom of the dress and began folding it and playing around with it until I found a shape I liked.

I ended up pressing it, and then tacking the fold down to keep it in place.

folded detached detail
You’ll do!

I then took my tailor’s chalk and traced along the top of the folded bit to synch up the neck hole part.

using tailors chalk to synch detail with neck opening
See?

Now it’s time to put it all together!

I pinned the new neck detail between the binding and the neck hole, like this:

pinning detail into neckhole binding
Almost done!

Then, I sewed it all down!

You’ll want to make sure to have your machine set on a very slow setting if you’re attempting to execute this maneuver at home.

sewing neckhole
Slo-mo Whirrrrr!

Now that the hard part was done (it wasn’t really that hard), all that was left was that bottom hem!

Since this dress is made of a non-fraying polyester, all I had to do was fold in under once and pin it while it was inside-out.

pinning bottom hem
PIn!

Then, I stitched it down.

sewing bottom hem
Stitch!

And that’s it! My dress-to-top refashion is complete!

How to Refashion a Dress into a Top Without Sacrificing Bottom Details after
I think it looks cute!

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my new top! I think it actually looks quite high end with its new neck detail.

How to Refashion a Dress into a Top Without Sacrificing Bottom Details after close up
Come clooooser!

While this top is probably best as a “work” shirt, I decided to wear it at home for an afternoon playing board games with friends!

How to Refashion a Dress into a Top Without Sacrificing Bottom Details after with cardigan
Hence the cozy slippers, cardi and background snacks!
jillian and friends playing board game at table
We’re gonna need a bigger table…

We played Dominare, which is super fun. We highly recommend it!

close up of dominare
Behold!

I lost badly, but felt cute doing so in my newly refashioned top, so all was well.

Cheers!

refashionistabeforeafter
Thrift Store Style: It's All About the Layers!
DIY 1920s Costume from 1980s Dress
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