Transforming This Vintage Dress Into a Modern Day Beauty

Kelsey Reese
by Kelsey Reese
5 Materials
45 Minutes

I get a lot of clothing donations from friends and followers, but as is, this dress just wasn’t selling.

So, follow along with me as I transform this vintage dress into a modern day beauty!

Tools and materials:

  • Long, printed, high neckline dress
  • Fabric scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Red bias tape
  • Sewing machine and thread

1. Shorten the sleeves

Cut the sleeves here to shorten them.

Where to cut

I feel so much better about these sleeves now:

Cropped sleeves

2. Shorten the dress and make the bodice fitted

Right now, this dress is a bit baggy on me at the waist. 

Making adjustments

Cut below the end of the zipper, making sure to pull out the pockets so they don’t get cut.

Making adjustments

The shorter length makes it much more modern. 

Making adjustments

Place a safety pin on either side to bring the waist in. 

Making adjustments

I like the shape that it’s giving and the extra volume from the pockets. 

Making adjustments

Next, sew on strips of red, bias tape in the folds created by the safety pins.

Making adjustments

3. Take in the sleeves

While I could totally pull off the line-backer look, I’m actually going to take in the sleeves a bit.

Making adjustments

4. Make a triangular cut-out

Next, I’m cutting out a triangle in the front to maintain the high neckline but make it a bit sexier.

Cut through the neckline to make the 2 top sides of the triangle, then fold the fabric down and reconnect the neckline with more bias tape.


What a transformation! I’ve added a pair of tall, black boots, and here’s the final look of this vintage, upcycled dress:

Upcycled dress

Upcycled dress

I love all the red details!

Upcycled dress

Upcycled dress

I’m so pleased with how this mini dress came out. It still has a vintage feel but with a modern twist.

Next, check out my post on Upcycling an Old Navy Dress to Look More Vintage.

Follow me on TikTok:   @reese.cycled

Follow me on Instagram:  @reese.cycled

Suggested materials:
  • Long, printed, high neckline dress
  • Fabric scissors
  • Safety pins
See all materials

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