Check Out These DIY Clothing Transformations

by Well-Loved
6 Materials
3 Hours

Upcycling clothes is a huge trend right now! I totally jumped on this trend-train and now I simply can’t get enough. I am obsessed with finding awesome pieces that will just be amazing to refashion! In my tutorial, I show you how I completely transform a few thrifted items of clothing into super stylish and fun pieces. If you want to learn the ins and outs of these clothing upcycles, my tutorial is exactly what you have been looking for! Follow my simple step-by-step guide and check out how I DIYed these awesome thrift flips.

Tools and materials:

  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Elastic
  • Iron
Thrift flip

The first piece that I decided to transform is this totally amazing 80s blouse. This blouse is fun and colorful and made from super cool windbreaker material. 

Pin the shirt

Mark the shirt

To kick off this amazing upcycle, I started by pinning the piece where I wanted the length to hit. I love a good crop top, so I knew I wanted to crop this piece. 

Cut across

Cut the fabric 

Once I had pinned the blouse, I cut it to get my desired length. 

Remove the shoulder pads

While I was at it, I cut the shoulder pads out because I didn’t want them for the transformed piece. Being the natural fashion DIYer that I am I, of course, saved them for a rainy day. While I was on a cutting frenzy, I cut off the end of the sleeve that had the elastic. 

Cut new sleeves

Make new sleeves 

I had to think about what I wanted to do with the extra fabric and I decided that I would use it to create a gorgeous, loose, and billowing sleeve on the blouse. First, I cut the extra fabric in half so that I would have a piece for each sleeve.

Measure the armhole

I measured the new sleeve to the armhole of the shirt so that I knew how much fabric I would need to cut off. I marked on my new sleeve, just how much I needed to cut off, and then I snipped the excess fabric right off. 

Pin the sleeve

I then pinned my amazing new sleeve together and sewed it to create a tube for the sleeve. I sewed the piece front to front and cut off the excess fabric. I then finished the inside of the sleeve with a zig-zag stitch. 

Attach the sleeve

Finally, it was time to attach the sleeves! I turned the shirt inside out and put the sleeve through the armhole right side out. I matched up the seams on the sleeves with the armhole seams and pinned all the way around. 

Sew on the sleeves

I took the shirt over to my sewing machine and stitched all around the pinned armholes. Once again, I trimmed the excess fabric and did a zig-zag stitch to hold everything in place. 

Sew at the bottom

Leave a raw hem

I wanted to leave the hem of my refashioned shirt raw to modernize it a little but I didn’t want it to fray too much. I sewed a seam a quarter inch up from the hem which would allow the shirt to fray a little but not past that seam. 

Fray the bottom

To finish off the shirt, I roughed up the bottom a little which was really easy to do with this fabric. 

Thrift flip ideas

This shirt is the perfect 80s blast from the past piece. I am so in love with it! 

Thrift store flipping

The next piece that I totally transformed in a thrift flip is this adorable, vintage polka dot dress. This dress had so many details that I loved and I couldn’t wait to get started on it. 

Pin the dress

Mark the bodice 

Just like I did before, I marked on the dress where I wanted to cut. 

Make markings

I then laid the dress flat on the table and marked along the front and back where I would be cutting. I made sure I had enough fabric that I could fold over to make a facing for the waistband. 

Cut along the markings

Cut the fabric

I then grabbed my scissors and cut across the markings I had made. 

Press the facing

Create a waistband 

I then took the skirt and ironed the extra fabric over the waistband to create facing. I folded it way past the waistband and then pressed. Once I had finished the top of the skirt, I moved on to the bottom of the skirt. I folded the fabric by an eighth of an inch and pressed the fold in place. 

Try on the skirt

I wanted to add new elastic to my skirt but I first had to take the skirt in by about 2 inches so that it would fit properly. I pinned the skirt so that I knew exactly where I needed to take it in. 

Add elastic

I cut an elastic into two so that I could add elastic on either side of the zipper. I opened up the fold I had made for the facing and pinned the elastic pieces on each side of the zipper. I then sewed two double stitches on either side of the elastics. Once those anchor seams were in, I sewed a seam line across the elastic. 

Sew down the facing

Once my elastic was safely sewed on, I could sew the facing down to encase the elastic and give this piece a professional, clean finish. 

Press the shirt facing

Make a facing for the top

Finally, I could move on to the top where I repeated the same process with my iron to create a facing. 

Sew down the facing

I then hopped back over to my sewing machine and sewed the facing down. 

Add a button

Finally, I had to hand sew on an extra button because one was missing on the original dress. 

Thrift flip clothes

This two-piece is everything I wanted and more! 

Upcycle a dress

The next piece that I decided to totally refashion is this long flowy and floral dress. 

Cut across the dress

Cut the dress

I decided I wanted to make a skirt and then see if I would have enough fabric to make a top. I marked on the dress where I would cut and then, cut along the markings. 

Cut the lining

I was lucky that this dress came with a lining, so I cut the lining just like I had cut the outer fabric. 

Sew the lining and fabric

Sew the lining and fabric 

I pinned the lining and outer fabric, right sides together, and then sewed the two pieces in place.

Make a casing

Add an elastic 

Next, I needed to create a casing for the elastic. First I topstitched the skirt and lining together leaving an ⅛ inch for seam allowance. 

Measure the elastic

I then measured and marked my elastic to see how long I wanted my waistband to be. 

Press the seams of the skirt

I wanted to use the fabric at the top of the skirt to make a casing for the elastic band. First I pressed the seams at the top of the skirt. 


I then topstitched the pieces again to create the casing. 

Thread through the elastic

I had left a gap in my casing so that I could thread my elastic through. I placed a safety pin on the end of my elastic and pulled it through the casing. Once the elastic was all the way through, I sewed the ends together and then sewed the piece of fabric I had left open. 

Measure the top

Crop the top

Finally, I could move on to the top! I used the back of the dress for the front since it had a v neck. I measured 18 inches down and marked the fabric. 

Crop the top

I then cut along my marked line. 

Cut down the middle

While I was cutting, I also cut down the center of the top because I would be making it into a wrap shirt. 

Mark the center

Create the perfect shape 

I opened the shirt out and marked it 3 inches from the bottom. 

Draw a line

I then marked from the 3-inch point to the corner of the side panel.

Cut along the line

I then cut from one point of one side, through the center marking to the other point on the other side of the shirt. 

Shape the neckline

I then made sure that I had the right shape so I folded the shirt in half and cut the front pieces so that they were perfectly angled. I cut from the shoulder to the point of the side panel in a straight line. 

Cut extra fabric

Create facing 

I then took the extra piece of fabric I had and used it to make the facings and ties. I folded it in half and cut down the center. I would use one half to make all of the facings and the other for all of the ties.

Cut a small strip

I started with the facing for the front points. I cut a strip and pinned it from the shoulder to the front point. I then topstitched it down to create the facing. 

Fold the fabric twice

I decided to make more of a bias tape than a facing, so I folded it an ⅛ of an inch and then another ⅛ of an inch so that it made a nice roll just as facing does. After a lot of folding and pinning, I moved back to my sewing machine and sewed along the fold. 

Create a facing for the bottom

Now that the neckline had a nice clean finish, I could move on to work on the facing of the bottom of the shirt. I cut a strip of fabric and then topstitched along the bottom. 

Roll two half inches

I cut off the excess fabric because I wanted to be able to create the bias tape as I had done before. This time I rolled two half inches before I sewed. I love having a professional finish on my DIY pieces. 

Sew a tube

Make straps

All that was left to do was create straps. I took some extra fabric and folded it so that I could sew a tube. 

Sew on the straps

Once I had turned the tube inside out I pinned it to the side point making sure the side point was inside of the tube. I then sewed a line down the top and stitched it a couple of times to make sure it would hold. 

Thrift and flip

I am just obsessed with this fun, floral two-piece! Which thrift flip is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle and thread
  • Pins
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