Thrift Flip Tutorial: Tired Dress to Cute Crop Top & Shorts Set

Pam Oduor
by Pam Oduor
10 Materials
30 Minutes

In this DIY, I’m going to show you how to make a dress into a two-piece set.

Dress before the DIY

I’m starting with this rather formal-looking dress with a built-in blouse underneath. I’m going to make it into a casual and comfy loungewear set that is great to wear when chilling out at home.

You can either thrift a cheap dress for this DIY, or use one that you already have and don’t get much wear out of. Let’s jump on in!

Tools and materials:

  • Dress
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
  • Top
  • Sewing machine
  • Seam ripper
  • Elastic
  • Shorts
  • Pins
Measuring the top and drawing the crop line

1. Measure and cut the top

Start by measuring the length of your top and adding a 1-inch (2.5cm) seam allowance at the bottom.

Make a mark at that length, and then use a ruler to draw a line across the dress. Cut along that line.

Using a top to trace the pattern

2. Trace the shape

Fold the top in half lengthways with the good sides facing each other. Use another top to trace out the shape you want for the armholes.

It may help to pin the top you’re working with together while you’re doing this so it doesn’t slide around.

Sewing the raw edges

3. Sew the raw edges

Now fold twice and sew the raw edges.

Sewing the neckline

4. Sew the neckline

For the neck, I used a seam ripper to remove the collar. Then once again, fold the raw edges in twice and sew.

Sewing the back of the crop top

5. Join the back

Next, I joined the back opening at the top. Now the top is done!

Making the dress skirt into shorts

6. Mark the skirt

To make the shorts, fold the skirt in half widthwise with the good sides facing each other and the side seams at the center. Then mark two inches at the top, which will be for elastic.

Tracing a pair of shorts for the pattern

7. Trace a pair of shorts

Use a pair of shorts to help trace the shape you want your shorts to be.

Fold your shorts in half and place them on top of your folded skirt. Then cut the material leaving a sewing allowance.

How to sew a two-piece set

8. Sew the edges

Once you’ve cut the material, turn the two pieces so that the good sides are facing each other, and then proceed to pin the pieces to one another and sew along the edges.

Pinning the crotch, ready to sew

9. Sew the crotch

Next, sew the crotch.

Trying on the shorts

10. Try on

At this stage, you can try the shorts on and see if you want to take the sides in at all.

If you do, mark where you want to take them in with chalk.

How to make a two-piece set from a dress

11. Sew

Take the shorts off and mark clearly making sure the measurements are the same on both sides.

Then proceed to sew along the lines that you just marked. Once sewn, cut off the excess fabric.

Sewing elastic into the shorts

12. Attach elastic to the shorts

Take a piece of elastic that measures about 2 inches (5cm) less than your waist measurement. Sew the ends of it together.

Then mark four points on the elastic, equidistant from one another.

Match those up with the front, back, and two side seams of the shorts and pin the elastic into place. This will ensure an equal distribution of the elastic.

Proceed to sew the elastic to the shorts, pulling the elastic as you sew.

Sewing up the elastic casing

13. Sew the elastic casing

Once sewn, fold the fabric over the elastic to conceal it and sew it down.

How to make a dress into a two-piece set

How to make a dress into a two-piece set

Here is the finished DIY matching two-piece set. It’s a really trendy and comfy outfit. The crop top and shorts fit me perfectly.

I love how I was able to transform a dress that I wouldn’t wear so much into a two-piece set that I most definitely will. 

DIY two-piece short set

You can also style the shorts by folding them up and you could even sew the fold down if you wanted to create a cuffed look. 

If you have an old dress that you’re not getting much wear out of, why not give this DIY a go.

This Cute DIY Crop Top and Skirt Set Was an Enormous Shirt

For more thrift flip ideas, check out this tutorial on how to create an adorable set from an oversized shirt!

Suggested materials:
  • Dress
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
See all materials

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