How to Make a Colorful DIY Jacket From an Old-Fashioned Dress

7 Materials
20 Minutes

In this DIY jacket tutorial, we’re going to be transforming a dowdy old frock into an adorable long jacket. So go ahead and pick out a frumpy granny dress from your local thrift store, and be prepared to completely remodel it into an outerwear piece that you’ll love to wear.

Tools and materials:

  • Frumpy dress (with buttons or a zipper up the front)
  • Pair of sleeves
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine
  • Patches/embroidery
  • Pins
Turning an old-fashioned dress into a jacket

Removing shoulder pads and other parts

1. Remove any excess parts

Using a seam ripper, remove any shoulder pads, faux pockets, and any other accouterments from your dress that you don’t want to feature in your design.

Tip: You can always hang on to bits and pieces like this and use them for future sewing and upcycling projects.

Seam ripping and removing the sleeves

2. Remove the sleeves

Flip the dress inside out and remove the existing sleeves. I usually use a combination of my seam ripper and scissors to take the sleeves off.

Sew new sleeves into the DIY long jacket

3. Attach new sleeves

Pop your sleeves into the armholes with right sides facing. With the top seam and bottom seams lined up, go and stitch them together.

How to make a long jacket

If the fabric of your dress is a bit frayed around the armholes, leave a little bit extra of the sleeve so once the sleeve is sewed on, you can fold it over and conceal the fray, and that’s also going to help prevent any further fraying.

Jacket DIY ideas

4. Select some embroidery

I’m not so happy that there are still some stitch marks left after removing that faux pocket. So, I am going to hunt through my stash of patches, vintage hankies, and salvaged vintage embroidery scraps and see if I can find anything awesome to cover it up with.

Adding embroidery patches to a DIY jacket

5. Pin and cut

I found the perfect patch in my stash. The colors are lovely together. I’ve pinned it in place, and now I’m going to carefully chop off all the excess parts of it that I don’t need.

How to make a dress jacket

6. Sewing the embroidery patch

Proceed to sew the patch to your coat. I don’t like spending loads of time meticulously stitching on patches, so I use the kind of freehand stitching technique which I call “doodle stitching.”

It still does take quite a bit of time, but the result is awesome. It has a very cool texture to it.

DIY jacket from a dress tutorial

Check out how totally wicked this came out! I am thrilled with the patch, and the sleeves are fantastic. It is so much better than I had expected. Part of the beauty of refashioning is when the end product comes out so much nicer than you had pictured.

This jacket is so unique and distinctive! Let me know what you think of this tutorial in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Frumpy dress (with buttons or a zipper up the front)
  • Pair of sleeves
  • Scissors
See all materials

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2 of 12 comments
  • LunaR1776 LunaR1776 on Oct 09, 2021


    I love vintage and I love uniqueness!!

  • Tygress72 Tygress72 on Oct 10, 2021

    Wow! So beautiful!! I simply ADORE that flower applique!!!! 🤗😍😍😍 Can't wait to go thrifting! 😁😉. Thanks for the awesome idea! Keep 'em coming!