How to Make a Two-Piece Set From a Dress: Fun Thrift-Flip Tutorial

Julia Rafael
by Julia Rafael
10 Materials
3 Hours

I love thrift flips. Not only are they a sustainable solution fast fashion, but thrift-flipping is a fun process that requires creativity. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make a two-piece set from a dress, using a vintage dress I found at the thrift store.

This DIY upcycle updates an old-fashioned dress into a more modern style, but also creates two pieces you can wear separately or together. Let's get started.

Tools and materials:

  • Vintage/thrifted dress
  • Seam ripper
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Scissors
The vintage dress

The dress, as you can see, was rather dull without any shape or style to it. So, I decided to wave my magic wand and turn it into a trendy DIY two-piece set.

Seam ripping the dress at the waist

1. Seam rip the dress

First, I seam ripped the dress to take it apart and see what I have to work with. This dress had a seam at the waist, but not at the arms.

The bodice pieces of the seam ripped dress

I had three pieces to work with: the skirt, two halves of the bodice, and the waistband. 

DIY two-piece set pattern

2. Make the two-piece set sewing pattern

I created a rough pattern using the shape of the dress. You can create the same using your bust and waist measurements, style preferences, or a top that fits you well.

Cutting the pattern pieces

3. Cut the pattern pieces

Now, it’s time to cut the pieces. I wanted to keep the bottom part with the finished edge, so I traced the front part of the bodice without the seam allowance. Then, I flipped the pattern piece over and cut the other side. 

Cutting out fabric pieces

Then, I cut two more pieces with the same shape, as well as the back piece.

Assembling the bodice

4. Assemble the bodice

I pinned the pieces on top of each other, as shown. Then, sewed the side seams of each layered piece. 

Sewing the bodice seams together

Next, I sewed the side seam of each side bodice to the side seams of the back bodice, making sure the right sides face each other. 

Making the facing for the top

5. Make the facing

Using leftover pieces, I cut out fabric the length of the top edge of the whole bodice pattern, with a width of 5cm (1.96 inches). I had to cut several smaller pieces and connect them together to get the right length. Then, I pinned and sewed this long strip to the top edge.

Adding a topstitch to the edge

Next, I folded the strip over and sewed a topstitch on the edge, as shown. 

Attaching the straps to the bodice

6. Make and add the straps

I cut a long piece from excess fabric to make the straps. I pinned and sewed the edges, turned the straps right sides out, and pressed them.

Finally, I attached the strap to the top, placing it right on the tip. 

Making the ruffle for the top

7. Make the ruffle

To make the ruffle at the bottom of the top, I cut and folded a long strip in half and stitched the edges with a basting stitch. 

Attaching the gathered fabric to the top

I pulled the thread to make cute little gathers, then arranged the gathers to fit the hem. I pinned the gathered side to the hem of the bodice, right sides facing. After everything was pinned in place, I attached the ruffle with a topstitch. 

Topstitched at the hem

This is what it looks like up close.

Taking in the skirt waistband

8. Modify the waistband and skirt

The actual waistband of the dress was quite big for me, so I took it in a little according to my waist size. To see how I do this, skip to 4:17 minutes of my video.

Marking pleats to take in the skirt

The skirt itself was also too big for me at the waist, so I made small pleats on each of the seams - there are three seams on this skirt.

I marked 2cm (0.78 inches) on both sides from each seam, then connected these two marks together. Then, I pinned and sewed the pleats.

Pinning the waistband to the skirt

Next, sew the waistband to the top seam of the skirt. Make sure both pieces are right sides together. 

How to make a dress into a two-piece

DIY two-piece set

How to make a two-piece set from a dress

There you have it! This is how to make a dress into a two-piece. It’s so trendy and this "dress" looks good as new. Thanks for tuning in, and I hope you have some inspiration to take on your next thrift-flip project with confidence.

Suggested materials:
  • Vintage/thrifted dress
  • Seam ripper
  • Ruler
See all materials

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