How to Make a Cute Two-Piece Set From an Old Dress & Pants

11 Materials
7 Hours

Today, I'll show you how to make a two-piece set from a dress and corduroy pants. While this tutorial is for experienced sewers, do watch for inspiration! I loved the fabric and love the results.

Let me show you how to sew a DIY two-piece set!

Tools and materials:

  • Long dress 
  • Black corduroy pants
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • 1-inch-wide elastic
  • Needle and thread
  • Pattern paper
  • Tailor’s chalk/pen
  • Safety pins
  • Iron
Making the tiered skirt pattern

1. Make the skirt pattern

These measurements were salvaged from the dress. Cut 2 rectangles of each:

  • Top tier: 10.5 X 23 inches
  • Second tier: 10.5 X 41 inches
  • Third tier: 12.5 X 64 inches
Making pockets for the skirt

2. Make the pockets

Make a standard pocket pattern on paper, then cut out the fabric. Mirror the first pocket and copy to make the second pocket.

Making the first tier of the skirt

3. Make the first tier

Lay the top tier rectangles right side facing up. Lay the pocket pieces with the flat edge on the seam, right side facing down.

Sewing the fabric for the first tier of the skirt

Sew them together by the side seam. Give it a good press. Understitch the pocket to the seam allowance. Repeat these steps to make the second piece.

Sewing the side seams of the tier

Lay both pieces out right sides together. Sew around the pocket and the side seams on both sides, sewing about 1 inch from the top down from the waist on both sides.

Sewing the pockets into the skirt

Sew the pockets just to the top layer of the skirt. 

Making a waistband for the skirt

4. Make the waistband

Cut the corduroy pants into 2 strips:

  • 3 X 16 inches
  • 3 X 19 inches

This measurement should be wide enough to fit over your hips.

Sewing the straps to make a loop

Place these strips right sides together and sew along the sides to make a loop. 

Attaching the waistband to the skirt

5. Attach the waistband

Sew a basting stitch along the top of the skirt. Place the waistband and skirt right sides facing, aligning the seams on one side to start.

Pull the gathering threads until the first tier fits the waistband. Spread the gathers evenly. Pin in place. Sew together.

Press the seam allowance towards the waistband. Turn inside out.

Folding the waistband over to create casing for the elastic

Fold the waistband to measure 1 inch toward the wrong side. Pin in place.

Stitch in the ditch on the back of the skirt, starting about 1 inch left of the side seam and stopping 1 inch right of the other side seam on the back to create a channel to insert the elastic.

Inserting the elastic into the waistband

6. Insert elastic

Place 2 safety pins on either side of the elastic and insert the elastic through. Pin in place and sew to secure the elastic to the waistband on both sides. The elastic is only in the back.

Making a DIY two-piece set

Fold the front of the waistband down 1 inch. Stitch in the ditch. 

Sewing the second tier for the skirt

7. Add the second tier

Sew the two pieces together to create one big loop. Sewing a basting stitch to the top.

Gathering the fabric on the tier

Distribute the gathers evenly and pin to the first tier. Sew with a straight stitch to secure on the wrong side. Turn to the right side.

Pinning the first tier to the second tier

You could stop right here and hem for an adorable knee-length skirt or continue for a maxi-length.

Adding the third tier to the skirt

8. Add the third tier

Make a large loop and hem the bottom with a double fold. Do a basting stitch at the top.

Distributing the gathers ready to sew

Distribute the gathers, pin, and sew in place. 

DIY Jocelyn Reformation dress

9. Make the top pattern

I used the same pattern that I used for the DIY Jocelyn Reformation dress, which was the  free Calanthe Dress pattern from Mood Fabrics, with some modifications.

DIY crop top pattern

Shorten the pattern by 2 inches on the bottom. For the center piece, remove length from the bottom, 1 inch from the top and 1 inch from the width.

Sewing the crop top for the two-piece set

10. Sew the top

Sew the center piece with the 2 front pieces, right sides together, along the princess seams. Add the corresponding back pieces and sew along the shoulder and side seams.

Making lining for the top

11. Make the lining

Make a lining using the same technique. 

Adding bra cups to the top

12. Add bra cups

Add bra cups to the lining by trying on the lining and pinning the bra cups in place.

Sewing bra cups into the lining

Sew to the wrong side of the lining with a straight stitch.

Pinning the lining to the shell, ready to sew

Attach the lining to the shell by placing the pieces right sides together and pin the entire neckline in the place from the shoulder seams to the other shoulder seam. Once sewn, press and then understitch. 

Making straps for the crop top back

13. Add straps to the back of the top

To close up the back, make a casing for the elastic with a 3 X 15-inch piece of corduroy. Fold the corduroy right sides together. Sew across. Flip to the right side. 

Inserting elastic into the strap

Insert the elastic into the casing. Sew the elastic to the casing at the entry side.

Feeding the elastic through the casing

Feed the elastic through and sew the casing on the other side.

Attaching the straps to the crop top

Sandwich the elastic between the shell and the lining. Pin the layers together and sew. Turn the top right side facing. Watch from 9:50 to 10:15 in the video to do the other side because it is a bit tricky.

How to make a two-piece set with a crop top

Sew, press, and then understitch. 

Making a band for the bottom of the crop top

14. Make a band for the bottom

Measure the front and cut a piece of corduroy that length X 3 inches. Here it’s 15 X 3. Then cut two long strips the length of the pants that are 3 inches tall.

Sew the pieces together, with the short piece in the center. 

Attaching the band to the top

Pin the short center piece to the front of the top. Sew to secure all the way around. To finish the long ends, fold them right sides facing, pin, and sew as close to the end as possible. Turn right side out. 

How to sew a two-piece set

Fold the front band in half, tucking the raw edges under and pinning in place all around. Stitch in the ditch or handsew with a blind stitch.

Modifying the sleeves from the dress

15. Add sleeves

Use the existing sleeves of the dress, adding a corduroy cuff. You can watch my previous video from 8:20 to see how I do this in more detail. Sew a basting stitch across the sleeve cap.

Inserting the sleeve into the armhole

Pin the sleeve to the shoulder and armhole with the seams lining up. Gather the top of the sleeve to match the size.

Attaching the sleeve to the crop top

Sew with a straight stitch. Sew the second sleeve. 

The old oversized dress before the DIY

How to make a two-piece set from a dress

DIY two-piece set

How to make a two-piece set from a dress

I hope my tutorial helped you learn how to make a two-piece set from a dress. Please let me know in the comments what you think of the final result. Thanks for joining!

Suggested materials:
  • Long dress
  • Black corduroy pants
  • Sewing machine
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 5 comments
  • Mary Njus Mary Njus on Feb 22, 2022

    You knocked that out of the park! And of course, you look beautiful in your creation. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kristine Jackson Kristine Jackson on Jun 28, 2022

    Great work! We wore the dresses like that in the 1980s. There is a lot of material in those dresses. Great job using the material for an updated style.