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Refashioning a Collared Thrift Store Dress

Flip It! Upside-Down Dress Refashion
DIY Tiered Dress Refashion (Without a Pattern!)

This ugly collared dress has been passed over many times when I’ve flicked through my refashion stash for a day’s upcycle.

Refashionista Thrift Store Dress Refashion Before
It’s pretty daunting.

There’s little to love about this dated $1 thrift store dress. I hate the collar, the pads, those sleeve cuffs, the buttons, and that fake camisole under layer.

closeup ugly thrift store dress
Good…Good…Let the hate flow through you…

Plus, when I washed it, the dye bled onto the white parts, leaving them unpleasantly splotchy (The label said “Dry Clean Only”, but do I pay attention to labels? No. No I do not).

I know…I just did a navy blue collared dress refashion, but I promise this one is totally different! I’m not here to disappoint you guys!

Let’s get this Refashion (and the party) started!

Step 1: The Removal of ALL THE THINGS

As I said above, I hate just about every single detail on this dress.

So, I got to ripping!

seam ripping off collar
Grip it & Rip it!

That collar was the first to go.

removed collar from dress
You can see the color bleed really well here.

Say farewell to those mondo huge pads!

As sports are cancelled right now, I have no need for these linebacker-worthy shoulder pads.

removed shoulder pads
Maybe you’ll be drafted next season!

Now for those buttons!

I used my seam ripper to remove most of them, but then noticed the bottom three were actually pinned on!

pinned button on dress
This dress has been harboring secrets!
removed buttons from refashion
I do not like you, fussy buttons.

That fake under layer

Removing that fake camisole thing was a breeze, as it was simply buttoned in.

fake under layer from dress

However, as I saw it laying there, I realized there was a part of it that I actually liked.

unpicking lace from collar
I have big plans for you!

That lace detail is quite lovely when extracted from its weird camisole prison, isn’t it?

removed lace detail from dress

Whew! That was a lot of removing, wasn’t it?

So. Many. Raw. Edges.

All of that unpicking left the top of my thrifted dress looking like a bit of a mess. :/

raw seams on dress
What to do?

Time to get pinning!

I carefully pinned everything back together, with the addition of one awesome little detail.

pinning lace detail to shoulder
You’ll be much happier here!

I decided I just couldn’t let that little bit of lace go! I added it to the shoulder as I thought it would be an interesting visual element.

pinned neckline after collar removal
All closed up!

I stitched my new neckline down.

sewing neckline back together
Back together again!

Now that my neckline was de-collared, it was time to handle that front placket!

I now had to figure out how I wanted to get in and out of my new dress.

I decided I didn’t really want this to be a button-up dress anymore. I knew from prior experimentation that I could get in and out of the dress as long as the top button was undone, ergo I could just stitch the dress up to that point.

However, the tiny holes from where the buttons used to be were really distracting.

holes from where buttons used to be
Is it just me?

I decided to camouflage those tiny holes with a bit of decorative stitching.

I chose this stitch on my machine.

decorative stitch setting on sewing machine
So swirly!

Here’s how it turned out!

decorative stitch on dress
You’ll complement the shoulder lace insert nicely!

Next, I stitched the front placket down except for the top buttonhole.

First, I pinned the placket down and chopped a bit off the bottom (this will become a sash later)

removing bottom from dress

Then, I stitched the placket down!

stitching down front placket

Let’s get some closure…a new top closure that is!

I pulled these two buttons from my stash:

Don’t you love that vintage navy one?

Since I reversed the original overlap, my top button needed to button from the inside.

So, I stitched the small brown button on the inside, and the pretty navy one on the outside (to cover the stitching and because I thought it looked cool).

sewing on a button
Stitchy Stitchy!

The Final Touches!

We’re coming into the final stretch!

I pinned the bottom raw edge of my dress under.

pinning a hem
Pin it!

Then I stitched down a new hem!

sewing hem
Almost done!

Refash a sash!

I took that bottom scrap and pinned the raw edge under once.

pinned sash
Just a simple sash!

Then, I stitched along the raw edge with a zigzag to keep it from fraying. I know, I’m wildly inconsistent in how I make my sashes. But it’s fun to experiment!

After allllll of that, my new dress was done!

refashionista Refashioning a Collared Thrift Store Dress After
Quite a difference, eh?

I think my refashion turned out looking quite high-end and classy! Luckily, I had a navy blue slip I was able layer underneath my new creation.

refashionista Refashioning a Collared Thrifted Dress After
Come a little closer!

You can see how instead of cutting off the original sleeve cuffs of this dress I instead opted for rolling them up. Out of sight, out of mind!

refashionista Refashioning a Collared Thrift Store Dress After Close Up
That shoulder detail tho.

This was definitely a very fiddly Refashion project (It took me about three hours in total), but I think it was well worth it!


Refashionista Thrift Store Dress Refashion Before and After
Flip It! Upside-Down Dress Refashion
DIY Tiered Dress Refashion (Without a Pattern!)