Cottagecore Inspired Thrift Flip

by Well-Loved
8 Materials
5 Hours

There is truly nothing better than a thrift flip. I have been so inspired by the cottagecore trend that I knew my next upcycle would be inspired by the cottagecore theme. In this tutorial, I take two super-cute pieces and totally transform them into the most amazing top and dress which have cottagecore written all over them! I am so in love with my two new pieces! They stand out and make a statement and of course are totally cottagecore inspired! If you want to check out how I refashioned these pieces, follow my step-by-step tutorial below.

Tools and materials:

  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Pins
  • Paper
  • Dress
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Elastic
Cottagecore outfits

For the first cottagecore inspired thrift flip, I would totally transform this super-cute, black and white, checked dress into a cottagecore top. 

Cut the front

Cut the bodice pieces 

To kick off this awesome thrift flip, I laid down the dress and cut off the front of the shirt. Since the dress had a zipper at the back, I decided to just use the front to create a gorgeous, open-backed top. I would use the top of the front for the front of the shirt and the bottom of the front for the back. 

Use a dress

I love using pieces I already have as a template so I laid down a dress over my fabric and used the dress as a guide for the shape. I marked the edges with a half-inch for seam allowance. 

Cut panels

I then cut what I had left for the back of the dress. I basically just cut large panels and put the rest of the fabric aside so that I could use it to make the gorgeous puff sleeves later on. 

Trace the front

I placed the front of my new shirt on one of the fabric panels and traced around it to get the shell for the back of the top. Once I had traced, I made sure to cut the fabric panel along my lines. 

Trace the open back

Since this dress had the exact open back style I wanted for my amazing new top, I used it as a template. I traced the neckline and then traced around the inside of the open back section of the dress. The open back was blocked by the front of the dress so I just traced as much of the opening as I could. 

Mark the bottom

To get the full opening at the back of my new top, I marked the points at the bottom of the open back so that I could connect the dots and measure to make sure I would get the absolute perfect open back. 

Cut two pieces

Once I had connected all the points I could finally cut the fabric. I folded the back piece in half so that it would match perfectly on both sides. I cut about a half-inch away from the lines I drew for seam allowance. I separated the piece making two pieces for the adorable back of this top. 

Cut strips

Make facing 

To make sure this top would have a nice, clean finish, I cut some fabric so that I could make a facing for the shirt. I would use the strips for the back, neckline, and open back to have a nice clean edge.

Pin the facing

I went ahead and pinned the strips and sewed. I then ironed them flat to get a nice closed seam. I then sewed to make sure that the raw edges were encased. 

Pin the bodice together

Sew the front and back together

Finally, it was time to put this top together! I laid down the two back pieces and then placed the front piece over them, right sides together. I pinned the back and front pieces together and I could already tell how awesome this cottagecore inspired top would be. 

Sew the bodice together

I then hopped back over to my sewing machine and sewed where I had just pinned. After sewing each seam, I followed up with an exact seam along the edge to stop the edges from fraying. I love finishing a stitch with a zig-zag stitch because it's so super easy to do!

Cut the armholes

Add sleeves 

The shirt was looking amazing! It was time to add my puff sleeves to this top. I started off by cutting the armholes down to the right length and made sure that they matched up perfectly.

Cut six panels

Using the extra fabric, I cut panels that I would use to make the amazing puff sleeves for this top. 

Sew the panels together

For each sleeve, I used three fabric panels. I started by sewing the three panels together using a straight stitch on each side. I then sewed a zig-zag stitch to make sure the seams were housed correctly.

Press the sleeves

Before I could gather my sleeves, I had to make a casing for the elastic. I used my flat iron but a normal iron definitely works! I folded the fabric by half an inch and ironed and then by three-quarters of an inch and ironed again. My elastic was half an inch so the three-quarter-inch would actually hide the elastic. I sewed that down along the edge and left a small gap that I could put the elastic through. 

Gather the fabric

I then set my machine to low tension and sewed a straight stitch leaving a gap under the arm because I didn’t want gathering by my underarm. I could finally start gathering my sleeve and I just couldn’t wait to attach it to my shirt. I pinned the sleeve to the inside of my shirt and sewed all around the armhole. 

Measure your arm

Add elastic 

Next, I measured the elastic around my arm. I marked and cut the elastic to the perfect measurement for my sleeve. 

Thread the elastic

Using a safety pin, I thread the elastic through the casing in the sleeve. I then hopped back over to my sewing machine and sewed the two edges of the elastic together. I also made sure to sew closed the gap in the casing. 

Crop the shirt

Crop the shirt 

For the finishing touches on this amazing shirt, I cut a bit off from the bottom to create that long cropped style. To finish the bottom I sewed a facing on it for a professional finish. Before I could finish the full facing I sewed two straps for the tied bow in the back. 

Sew a strap

Add straps 

For the strap, I sewed a tube from excess fabric and then turned it right side out. I then made sure to iron it flat. 

Tuck in the strap

I then stitched the strap to the edge of where the facing would fold over so that everything would be nice and clean. Finally, I could hem the bottom with the straps tucked inside. I folded an inch and then folded a half-inch, inwards, at the top of the inch fold and sewed. 

Sew on buttons

Add buttons 

Finally, I needed to add buttons to the back of the shirt. I hand sewed the cutest, black knotted buttons which went so well with the flowers on the front of my shirt. I also sewed button loops for the back of the shirt, and made sure to add facing to give the shirt the most perfect finish! 

Cottagecore fashion

I am totally obsessed with this cottagecore inspired, puff sleeve shirt! 

Thrift flip

In this next thrift flip, I totally transform this amazing yellow dress. The baby yellow color really made me think cottagecore.

Trace a dress

Create a bodice 

I laid down my yellow dress and, once again, used a dress I already had to mark the shape. 

Cut the dress

Once I had the shape, I started cutting leaving a half-inch for seam allowance. I cut off the sleeves and folded the fabric in half to make sure that both sides matched up perfectly. 

Cut a square neckline

An amazing trick for cutting a square neckline is using a square piece of paper to mark the shape. I marked the square and then cut my new neckline. 

DIY thrift flip

I turned the fabric inside out and started sewing using a regular stitch. I then sewed a zig-zag stitch next to it, to hold the seams. 

Add facing to the neckline

Add facing 

I wanted an amazing finish for my new piece so I measured the neckline so that I could sew on a facing. I cut a strip of fabric and pinned it to the neckline, right sides together. 

Press the facing flat

Once I had sewed my facing to the front, back and straps, I made sure to fold it over and iron them flat. I hopped back on over to my sewing machine and sewed the facing to get a nice, clean square neckline. 

Cut the skirt

Make the skirt 

The top was pretty much finished and it was time to sew the skirt. I measured the bottom of the top and then the fabric for the skirt so I knew exactly how much I needed to cut. I made sure to leave about an inch for seam allowance. 

Sew the side seam of the skirt

I moved back to my sewing machine and sewed along the side seam of the skirt. I always add a topstitch and a good old zig-zag stitch. 

Cut off the zipper

Finish the bodice 

Before I could attach the skirt and bodice, I had to make sure the top was finished. First, I cut off the zipper. I then double rolled the edge by a half-inch and sewed.

Sew the top and skirt

Sew the dress together 

Next, I laid my top and skirt, right sides together, and pinned the pieces together. I pinned all the way around except for a four-inch gap I left in the back. With the pins in place, I sewed a regular stitch and then a zig-zag stitch. 

Add facing above the zipper

Create a corset back 

Finally, I could start working on the gap I left at the back. First, I hand sewed a few stitches at the top of my zipper so that it would not come flying off. I then added facing onto the inside of my bodice to finish off the edges professionally. 

Sew buttonholes

For the amazing detail in the gap, I decided to create a corset effect. I marked equal points along each side of the gap. Next, using my sewing machine I sewed buttonholes along my markings. 

Tread a fabric strip

Once I had sewed and opened up all the buttonholes, I thread a strip of fabric I had made through the holes creating the amazing corset style. 

Gather the fabric strips

Add ruffles

I then decided to add some cottagecore ruffles to the straps of my new dress. I cut strips of fabric and gathered them just as I had done in the previous thrift flip. I then pinned the ruffles to the straps of the dress and sewed them. 

Easy thrift flip

I am totally obsessed with this dress! Which thrift flip did you like best? Let me know in the comments below! 

Suggested materials:
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Pins
See all materials

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