Thrift Flipping Tutorial: DIY Babydoll Dress

7 Materials
2 Hours

I ordered what I thought was an almost waist length fringed crochet top and received an extremely short crop top that doesn’t even cover my chest area!

At least it does fit widthways, so all is not lost. I decided to do a thrift flipping project with it and turn it into a cute babydoll dress with the help of a vintage lace tablecloth.

Tools and materials:

  • Too-short top
  • Vintage tablecloth or other fabric
  • Lace trim (optional)
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Sewing machine
Finding matching fabric

1. Find matching fabric

I happened to already have a vintage tablecloth that exactly matched the main color of the crochet top.

You can of course use any fabric that goes with your too-short top.

Wrapping fabric

Wrap the fabric around you to make sure you have enough of it. 

Making a tube

2. Make a tube

Join the side edges of the fabric to make a large tube. I sewed mine with a straight stitch first.

Because my fabric is vintage and I didn’t want it to fray, I added a line of zigzag stitches, then trimmed the seam allowance with pinking shears and added another row of zigzag stitching. 

Gathering the fabric

3. Gather the fabric

Gather your fabric to fit the bottom edge of your top. I used pintucks because I find them the easiest to do, but you can also gather the traditional way, with gathering stitches. 

Whichever method you use, make your gathers or pleats even.

Sew the pintucks or gathers in place about half an inch from the top edge.

Joining bodice and skirt

4. Join the bodice and skirt

I couldn’t decide at this stage if I would keep the yarn fringing or not, but I definitely didn’t want it to get caught up in the seam. 

I also wanted to make the pointed edge of my top part of the design and stitch along each diagonal edge.

Joining bodice and skirt

That meant I needed to sew them together on the right side, with both the right sides uppermost so I could see what I was doing.

Place the gathered fabric inside the top and pin them together. 

If you don’t have fringing or anything similar to worry about, pin them with the right sides facing and sew as usual from the inside.

Joining bodice and skirt

Finish the seams in whatever way seems reasonable for your fabric.

I did the whole overkill thing of sewing, zigzagging, pinking and zigzagging again, to be sure.


5. Hemming

Pin up the lower hem of the dress and cut off the excess.

Sew a double or single hem.

I added a row of vintage lace trim to the hem.

Thrift flipped dress

Thrift flipped dress

Thrift flipping a dress

This came out so pretty and sugary sweet I almost get cavities wearing it! But I love it and the whole forest fairy nymph vibe it evokes. I’m not 100% sure I’m going to keep the fringing but I suspect that I am.

If you have any ideas to thrift flip clothing that you’d like me to prototype for you, please let me know in the comments.

And I’d just love to see your results if you make a babydoll dress using this method.

Suggested materials:
  • Too-short top
  • Vintage tablecloth or other fabric
  • Lace trim (optional)
See all materials

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