Thrift Flip: 7 Dollar Dress Refashion

by ModernModiste
7 Materials
2 Hours

I got this dress at a thrift store and knew I wanted to make something amazing from it. The pattern is fun and lively, perfect for the summer. After some thought, deliberation, and internet scouring I decided to transform this dress into the perfect beach outfit!

DIY dress refashion

Sew a dress

Remove the sleeves 

The first step is to remove the shoulder pads from the dress. We are going to turn the sleeves into cold shoulders. To do this, measure from the shoulder down four inches. Mark it off on the front and back. Use a seam ripper to disconnect the sleeve from the armhole in between those marks. (Leave the seams intact outside the marks). Once that’s done, measure three inches down from the top (on the fold). Draw a line across the sleeve and cut it out by your markings. 

How to sew a dress

Add the elastic 

Cut out a piece of elastic that is about five inches long. Double fold the raw edges of the sleeve to make a casing for the elastic (make sure it is wide enough for the elastic to slip through). Fold over the raw edges of the shoulder and hem them. Fold the sleeve edge again to make the casing for the elastic. Use a safety pin to guide the elastic through the casing and then pin both sides to secure. Sew to finish, backstitching over the ends to secure. Trim the excess elastic and then fold the lining in by the armhole to keep everything in place. 

Make a dress

Make the waistband 

Cut off the skirt of the dress. Next, cut out a piece of (two-inch wide) elastic to fit your waist minus four inches. To make a casing for the waistband, we are going to be sewing two lines in the dress and then using the fabric and the lining as the casing. Just remember to leave an opening in the lower line to feed the elastic through. Slip the elastic in between the fabric and lining and feed it through the casing. Once the elastic is all the way through, pin the ends and sew. Stretch the skirt to keep the elastic in and sew the gap closed. Finally, add a straight stitch down the center of the elastic for a little extra detail and trim the excess fabric from the top of the skirt.

How to make a dress

Connect the top and bottom 

For the top, I marked about 12 inches from the center neckline and traced a line across the body of the shirt. I then cut off the bottom (leaving enough fabric for hem and seam allowance). I then attached the lining of the top to the skirt, right sides facing. Connect the two pieces together by the four sides. Stretch the skirt to the length of the lining while sewing from pin to pin. Then, to secure the dress, I followed with a zigzag stitch along the edge. To finish the dress, I hemmed the bottom of the outer top by folding sewing and then repeating and folding and sewing again. 

Dress refashion tutorial

I hope you enjoyed this DIY dress refashion. A good thrift flip should give you inspiration for your next project, if I inspired you I’d love to see what creation you came up with!

Suggested materials:
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Seam ripper
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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