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Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress Refashion

Easy No-Sew Halter Top Refashion
Easy Strapless Summer Dress Refashion

When I saw this tie-dye swimsuit coverup on the $1 clearance rack at the thrift store, I almost passed it over.

I mean…it’s pretty tacky.

refashionista Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress before

That red and yellow tie dye is LOUD…and vaguely evocative of a lava flow.

But the fabric is so soooo soft! When I touched it (initially to flick past it to the next item on the rack), I was sold!

But could I mute that bright tie dye? I had to try (dye)!

My Dye Experiment

Note: The label on the neck of my dress had been snipped out, so I was unsure of the fabric content when I tried to dye it.

I grabbed two dyes that I thought I could combine to darken the red and yellow.

box of rit scarlet dye
I hope this works…
box of wine dye
Let’s add a dash of this as well!

I mixed my dye bath and submerged my dress!

dress in dye bath
In ya go!

I left it in its bath for 40 minutes, then rinsed it in my washing machine.

You guys…it was a total fail.

close up of dress fabric
Womp womp.

Maybe a little of the dye took? if so, just barely. Definitely not worth the effort I put into it.

When I took a peek at the bottom side seam, I discovered why it didn’t work.

fabric content label showing polyester and spandex
Well THAT explains it!

Neither polyester nor spandex takes dye. There are dyes you can buy specifically for polyester, but they require constantly boiling the fabric and they smell bad, so I rarely use them. Here’s a dress I dyed using a polyester-friendly dye. And here’s why some fabrics dye better than others.

Because I have a poor understanding of Sunk Cost Fallacy, I couldn’t give up on this refashion! I needed something to wear for our First Thursday on Main art crawl (the first one we’ve been able to have since the pandemic!), and by God, that something would be this dress!

Let’s make this dress art crawl-worthy!

After cursing at myself only briefly about the dye job that wasn’t, I chopped off everything below the armpits of my dress.

cutting off top of dress

My dress is laying front-side-down in this pic, because I want to make sure you see this detail which is going to be critical for the overall look of my refashion:

back slit of dress

The back of this dress/coverup thing has a slit, which I’m going to use to make a V-neck for my new dress!

I carefully cut off the neckline from the original dress and put it aside.

cutting off original neck of dress
These little snips are just the thing for this!

I pinned my soon-to-be V-neck down, measuring each side to make sure they were even, then I clipped along what would soon be the shoulders of my dress.

clipped shoulders and pinned v-neck
That’s right! We’re flipping it!

Then, I stitched it all down!

sewing shoulder of dress
sewing v-neck of dress
Stitchin’ a V!

Of course, I needed a place for my arms to go, so I cut a hole along each side seam that left me with enough room for my upper appendages.

cutting armholes for dress
Riiiiight along the very edge!

I didn’t want to leave my arm hole edges raw, so I folded them under and clipped them…

clipping arm hole
This’ll look much nicer!

…then stitched them down.

sewing arm hole
I could have left them raw, as this fabric doesn’t fray, but why not be a lil fancy?

Now I needed a new hem for my dress!

I folded the bottom under just once (since this fabric wasn’t going to fray) and pinned it in place.

pinning bottom hem
Man I’ve owned this pin cushion for EVER…

Then I sewed my new hem down.

sewing hem
Almost done!

I pressed everything (on a low setting as per the label’s instructions), and was ready to hit Main Street for some fun & culture!

refashionista Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress Refashion after
Do you like my thrifted handbag?

Yes, that tie-dye is still pretty blinding, but I think it kind of works for an art event.

I styled my new dress with gold accessories and a thrifted red handbag.

refashionista Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress Refashion after closeup
Come closer!

“But wait! You saved the neckline from the original dress! What was that all about?” you may be wondering.

My original thought was to use it to cinch the waist of my dress. But, it had stormed earlier that day and the air was incredibly humid, so opted for a looser silhouette.

refashionista Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress Refashion after 2
I like how it drapes!

I’m still keeping that discarded neck thingy for when I want to change the look of this dress up a little. Here’s what it looks like with a cinched waist:

refashionista Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress Refashion after cinched waist
It’s always good to have options!

I had a SUCH a wonderful time seeing friends and acquaintances– many of whom I hadn’t seen in over a year! Mr. Refashionista and I made lots of plans for dinner parties, after-work drinks, and weekend hangouts.

While in line for wine, one nice lady came up to me and said, “I love your haircut! I’ve seen you at these things in the past and I know it’s usually longer, but it looks great like that!”

Of course, she had no idea that my shortened tresses are a direct result of my cancer treatment, but that compliment made me so happy.

refashionista selfie
I’m still a little insecure about my chemo curls, folks.

As the evening drew to a close, Mr. R and I enjoyed a nightcap with a few of our favorite people at Bourbon.

jillian and friends at table
Love these guys!


refashionista Tie-Dye Coverup to Kaftan Mini Dress Refashion before and after

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Easy No-Sew Halter Top Refashion
Easy Strapless Summer Dress Refashion