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Keeping it Classy: A Cut Out Dress Refashion

An '80s Jumper to '50s-Inspired Dress Refashion
How to Refashion a Floofy Denim Jumper Dress

It’s always interesting to me to see what other people have passed over when I’m flicking through the $1 racks at the thrift store. After a while, you start to see commonalities.

The items I see most are either really worn out, dated, really short/bodycon styles, or dresses with cut outs like this one.

Cut Out Dress Refashion Before

You guys….this is just so not me. While I have no significant hangups about the top of my breastal region, I really don’t want it to be quite so on display. I always feel like I look like a little kid playing dress up when I attempt to wear “sexy” styles like this.

This dress is also ill-fitting on me and has mondo shoulder pads, neither of which is doing me any favors. :/

But there’s a lot to love too! That beadwork is gorgeous, the fabric is of a really nice quality, and it’s well-made. I can definitely make something out of this.

My first step was to rip out those huge shoulder pads!

shoulder pads ripped out
Douglas looks on questioningly.

Before I worked on any further alterations, I had to do something about the color, which as you can see, is totally absent.

rit dark green dye
You’ll do nicely, methinks!

I thought a pretty green hue would really compliment that beadwork.

I made a nice, hot dye bath…

dye bath
Adding the dye!

I went with a powdered dye for the simple reason that it’s cheaper than bottled dye. I really prefer bottled dye though, as it’s less messy. I used about half of the packet for this refashion (because I’m cheap and like to stretch my dye as much as possible!).

A few folks have asked me if I use the stockpot I dye stuff in for cooking as well, but don’t worry! This stockpot is for dye only! Dye is toxic when consumed, and you don’t want that getting into your body.

I added my dress to the dye bath.

dress in dye bath
Looking great already!

After about forty minutes of stirring it periodically, I rinsed the dress in my washing machine and dried it.

Time for the tailoring!

refashioned green dress on dress form
Making a few tweaks!

I ended up taking this in from the sides, but could have taken it apart and taken it from the top as well. The only reason I didn’t was that I was running out of time, as this refashion was planned for our Ireland honeymoon that didn’t quite happen. :/

I ran each side through my machine, then cut off the excess fabric.

refashion sewing machine

Then, I hacked off a bit from the bottom.

refashionista cutting hem
Just a smidge!

I hemmed the raw edge by folding it under once and stitching it down.

Keeping it Classy: A Cut Out Dress Refashion 2
The final whirrrr (also showing off my marital bling)!

We’re not done here, folks. Something still needs to be done about those cut outs!

Covering those cut outs was ridiculously easy, and didn’t even require any sewing.

I pulled out a scrap of fabric from this refashion and traced the outline of the cutouts over it.

tracing cutouts for refashion
See where I’m going with this?

Then I cut the scraps, leaving extra fabric along the traced part.

After rubbing off the pencil marks, I grabbed my super strong fabric glue.

fabric glue to cover cutouts
Get ready to fuse!

Now, I don’t have a picture of this, as I had to work really quickly before the glue dried and needed both hands, but I glued the outline of the cutouts on the dress (not the scrap) and laid it over the scrap.

fabric gluing panel
Use a paper plate so the glue doesn’t seep through!

When I was done, I left them to dry.

fabric glue drying
Looking good!

I could have stitched the scraps down, but I really didn’t want any additional stitches showing, and getting around that beadwork would have been a chore.

The fabric glue will hold up just fine, as I’ll only be washing this dress in cold water using the hand wash cycle.

I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty stoked about how this worked out.

refashionista covering cut outs

That’s it! My cut out dress refashion was complete!

refashionista cut out dress refashion after
Oooh la la!

I styled my new dress with a pair of thrifted vintage Spanish leather flats.

I think this one turned out really nicely. The color and added print panels really make this refashion special and unique.

cut out dress refashion close up
Up close & personal!
back zipper
Even the back zipper looks nice!

While this dress only got to enjoy some takeaway from a local restaurant, instead of a Michelin Star dinner in Ireland as originally planned, I suppose one must make the best of things.

refashionista cut out dress after
What can you do?

What I really like about this refashion is how simple it is. Now when you see an otherwise awesome dress that has cut outs you don’t care for, you can fix it in less than ten minutes with a couple of scraps and some fabric glue!


Refashionista Cut Out Dress Before and After
An '80s Jumper to '50s-Inspired Dress Refashion
How to Refashion a Floofy Denim Jumper Dress

53 thoughts on “Keeping it Classy: A Cut Out Dress Refashion”

  1. I love this recession & I am going back to pick up the dress I just passed up that was similar. You are still beautiful but I really like the hippie wig; you rock it!

  2. Soooo much better! Quite frankly unless you’ve got a killer tan no one looks good in off white. I thought the dress looked blue rather than green. Maybe my color is off
    One last thing, your ring is stunning!!

  3. OMG, this is one of my favorite refashions! Mainly because it somehow went from a dress that I did not like at all to a dress I want to steal from you.

  4. Absolutely stunning! Your genius makes me want to go thrifting for something hideous just so I can challenge myself to improve it. Probably not the best plan, and the thrifts are closed here now anyway. Fortunately, there is a bag of recent buys in the closet that may well need some Cinderella work. Fantastic refash and such a shot of joy to read your blog.
    (Douglas looks like he may have given you the idea for this brilliant conversion, such an intelligent expression there.)

  5. You are able to see beyond the hideousness of so many pieces of clothing! It is so impressive!! I love seeing what you make out of someone else’s discarded item. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I hope I can remember all your tricks the next time I go thrift shopping. I hate those really low-neck shirts. Maybe I could fill it in somehow.

  7. How adorable, I have to say this is my fav of all your refashions.
    Douglas looks like he wants those pads, Krissy the dog says hello to the handsome Douglas.


  8. Always love to see your work. One question, was the fabric on the shoulder pads the same as the dress? If so I would have dyed it too and used it to fill the “boob gaps”. Then the beading would have been better featured! So happy for your happy beginning

  9. This truly is a fabulous refashion! Lucky your stash included fabric to match the unexpected dye coloring. You look adorable in it! You have such a good eye for the potential! Doesn’t hurt that you are teeny tiny and everything is big on you and able to be cut down. Don’t you have a pleasantly plump buddy who needs to find ways to adapt smaller to larger? Inquiring minds want to know!

  10. You have a great sense of color! No one would ever guess the before and after without the pictures! Just amazing! And it looks perfect on you. Happy honeymoon-at-home to you and Mr.

  11. Your re-fashion is amazing on this dress. I wonder if you have ever done something on a dress or top that had those awful “cold-shoulder” cut outs? I made the mistake of buying one a few years ago and have never worn it. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

  12. I agree with the others, this refashion was probably the best thus far. I definitely like it. Thanks for re-iterating the importance of using a special dedicated pot for the dying process. That’s so important and should not be overlooked. Thought your cut out fabric was a perfect match for the beadwork and your color selection for the dying process was ideal. Now, you have a perfect spring outfit. Oh, BTW, will the glue hold out during future washings?

  13. I love your ability to envision the many possibilities! This is my fav.

    I was also wondering why the dress is so light although the dye is labeled “dark green”. Could the difference be due to whether the fabric is synthetic or not?
    PS Beautiful ring ❤️

  14. Your innovation and hilarity are exACTly what I needed today. I’m still sorry about your Ireland honeymoon abruptness, but adore your great attitude. Plus you’re freakin adorable!!

  15. What a terrific reinvention! Love how your mind works! Cool shoes too. I hope you both make it to Ireland one day! I always am tickled to see your latest post in my email!!

  16. Wow, you just keep coming up with the most amazing and wonderfully inventive ways to refashion clothes. Thanks for all your nspiration!

  17. Stunning. Has a very chic ‘30s vibe, and so do the shoes. I’ve read every single one of your posts and this refashion is one of the best. The color, the beading, the insets, the drape and fit – perfection.

  18. Absolutely fabulous!! This is one of my favs. Thank you for brightening my day. We have sunshine in Bavaria today and then a new post from you. Yippeee yaaaaay, happy dance!!

  19. Awesome job! Sewing/dyeing Novice Questions: did you have to do anything to protect the beads from ‘relocating’ off the dress during its bathing? And did the thread also take on the dye? Would a sheer insert be a pain to glue instead of fabric? Many thanks from Tucson, AZ! Wanda

  20. I love this one. Girl, you are just too cute. Every time I see your post I am reminded of all the wonderful changes in your life, and I am so happy for you. I love your style, and sense of humor and how you go for it. It is so fun to read your blog. Keep on going!

  21. I love what you did here, and I think this is one of my all time favorites that you have done. You have given me courage to dive in to alterations on some of my own clothing over the years.

  22. I knew you were brilliant but even so,this is breathtaking and you look gorgeous! Regarding the stuff that people donate, I’ve struck lucky several times in my life finding garments that are in perfect condition apart from a missing button. In each case the spare button was still attached to the inside. So I suppose we should be grateful for helpless people who won’t even attempt to sew on a button. Here in the UK we don’t have the really cheap thrift stores that you have. Charity shops are the main secondhand outlets and they tend to charge more ‘realistic’ prices. When I was a child there was a ‘jumble sale’ nearly every weekend usually at a local church. These days the best bargains are often found at car boot sales, and we’re just coming up to the usual season for them. Given the current situation, there certainly won’t be any in the near future.

  23. This is a definite keeper. I would wear this again and again. The beadwork is beautiful. And it makes it even better because it continues around the neckline. Nice work!!!


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