Check Out This 1920’s Inspired Dress Refashion

Evelyn Wood
by Evelyn Wood
9 Materials
3 Hours

Let's do a 1920s vintage dress refashion together! As you know, I love everything vintage, and I found this cute $5 dress at a thrift store. I'm going to revamp this thrift store dress into something more fitting and splendid. You will love the result, and hopefully, this tutorial will give you some remarkable dress refashion ideas. So, let's get to it, shall we? Scroll down to see my creative process from a simple thrift store dress to a stunning vintage number.

Tools and materials:

  • Thrift store or old loose Kaftan dress
  • Lace trim
  • White linen fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Pearl buttons
  • Pins
  • Matching thread
  • Ruler
  • Chalk
Dress refashion ideas

Refashion a dress

Choose a collar area belt combination

I have been playing with several different options for the collar area and the belt. There are so many ideas and fabrics to choose from, so it's not an easy task to decide what would work best.  

In the video, I discuss what collar I choose. The collars I show you in this tutorial are actual vintage collars, and I will not be sewing them on the dress. Instead, I will recreate the same collar so that I can keep my real vintage collars aside. 

DIY dress refashion

Shorten the sleeves

I wanted to shorten the sleeves. I wanted a more flowy, droopy feel, so I went ahead and cut out the sleeves. To cut the second sleeve, lay the first cut-out piece on the second, so you get a precise measurement. 

Thrift store dress refashion

Make sure to pin the sleeve piece down to the attached piece, as shown.

Thrift store dress

Unpick the hem

I wanted the dress itself to be longer, so I unpicked the seams at the bottom of the dress. This refashion dress had two rows of stitching, so it took me a while to get the job done, but of course, it's well worth the effort. 

Sew a new hem

Now that the seams are unpicked and the dress is longer, I go ahead and hem the dress with a double turnover hem. This will get rid of the raw edges and give the dress a finished look. Also, Don't forget to hem the sleeves for a uniform look to the whole DIY dress refashion.

Try on the dress

After this point, I tried on the dress just to see how it fits and catch a glimpse of all the awesome modifications I made. Doing this also gives you a chance to see what else you'd like to modify before attaching the belt and collar. 

Recreate the collar

To make this collar, you'll need some lovely white cotton fabric and lace trim. I actually found a lovely lace trim from a mini table cloth. So, that's a bonus because I get to upcycle so many things to refashion this vintage dress. Yay! You can see how I create the replicated collar from 6:06 minutes in my video tutorial. It's pretty simple to recreate. Cut the fabric according to the original collar's shape. I folded the fabric for a heavier feel. 

Then, I took the lace trim and sewed it along the edges, and finally, I sewed the collar to the dress's neckline. Voila! It turned out pretty awesome, don't you think? 

Change the buttons

I changed the buttons and replaced the originals with nice white pearly ones, as shown.

Make the belt

I landed up, adding two strips of white fabric on either side of my hip area. I sewed the ends of each strip to the dress itself and basically tied each side into a cute bowtie. Like this, the dress goes in and shapes my waist area, giving way to a more curvy feel. 

There we have it; a 1920s glam look achieved in just 2 hours! I love how this refashion came out. It's so fun and quirky. The dress itself is quite transparent, so I did have to wear a layer underneath but, that's ok because the dress is flowy and somewhat oversize. I hope you liked this thrift store dress refashion video! 

Suggested materials:
  • Dress
  • Lace trim
  • White linen fabric
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Katherine Katherine on Jun 09, 2021

    I absolutely love the transformation and the hair scarf it’s just like the icing on the cake

  • Nancy K Nancy K on Jul 06, 2021

    I love your style! Super dress and I really like the side bow ties to give it shape without having a belt. Thanks!