Barbie Thrift Flip: How to DIY Your Own Barbie Outfit

7 Materials
2 Hours

I refashioned a frumpy vintage housedress into the cutest pink outfit idea to see the Barbie movie.

This is one of the most adorable thrift flips I think I’ve done. All I needed were a few new buttons, some elastic and a lace trim for my DIY Barbie outfit.

Let’s see if it gives you some thrift flip ideas.

Tools and materials:

  • Vintage pink house dress
  • Buttons
  • Vintage lace trim
  • Elastic for waistband
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
Cutting top

1. Cut the top

I wanted to keep the pockets and applique as they were and they were set quite high in the dress. 

I cut across the dress above the level of the pockets. I wasn’t sure at this stage if I would need to add some fabric to extend the top or not.

Button placket

2. Button placket

There were large spaces between the buttons, which was fine for a housedress but not for a top I intended to wear in public.

I could have added more buttons and buttonholes, but as I can get the top over my head without unbuttoning it, I decided to stitch the button placket closed.

I also swapped out the boring white buttons for some cute vintage strawberry ones.

Finishing the hem

3. Finish the hem

I bound the lower edge of the top with some vintage cotton lace trim and it was exactly the effect I wanted.

Planning the bottom garment

4. Plan the bottom garment

I really wanted to make a pair of side zipped pants or capris with the remainder of the fabric.

However, whichever way I tried it I couldn’t get the applique, the button placket and the pockets to line up correctly and work together.

I decided to make a skirt for the bottom part. The applique and the pockets start very close to the top edge so I’m going to take some fabric from the bottom and add it to the top to make a deeper waistband.

These are the kind of decisions you make on the fly when you’re thrift flipping and see exactly what you have to work with.

Adding skirt extension

5. Add the skirt extension

I sewed the button placket closed, as I did on the top half.

I cut the fabric just below the last button, so I had enough space below the applique to make a hem.

Adding skirt extension

I didn’t have enough of the strawberry buttons but I did find some other vintage buttons in a similar color to replace the white ones.

The piece I cut off was wider than the top of the skirt, so I made it the same size by removing the button placket and making a seam that I will put at the center back. 

I left the new seam open at the hem, as my original idea was to use the hem as the elastic casing.

Adding skirt extension

I stitched the new section to the top edge with the right sides facing and the raw edges lined up.

Elastic waistband

6. Elastic waistband

As the waist extension was very deep, I folded it down on the outside so the casing sat about an inch above the top edge without obscuring the applique, and topstitched along the edge of the fold.

Elastic waistband

Then I folded the hem edge to the inside to cover the raw edge and make the elastic casing.

I sewed it in place, leaving an opening for the elastic.

Elastic waistband

I inserted the elastic through the casing and closed the opening.


7. Finishing

I bound the lower edge of the skirt with the same lace trim I used on the top.

Thrift flipped Barbie outfit

Thrift flipped Barbie outfit

Thrift flipped Barbie outfit

Even though I had to change my original design idea as I went, I’m so delighted with how this DIY Barbie outfit turned out.

The skirt is a length I really like and the top isn’t too short, as I feared it might be.

Even though I have a saying “perfection is the enemy of good”, I think this is the most perfect outfit to wear to see the movie.

I hope you agree and I’d love to know what you think of it.

Next, learn How to DIY a Cool Stevie Nicks-inspired White Lace Duster.

Suggested materials:
  • Vintage pink house dress
  • Buttons
  • Vintage lace trim
See all materials

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