Recycling an Old but Pretty Dress Into a Super Cute Top!

Carol Bentley
by Carol Bentley
3 Materials
3 Hours

So, I picked up this embroidered dress from a thrift shop, it was a bit snug but I thought "I'll slim down over the summer and it will look gorgeous!" Nahh no such luck!

I easily took the dress apart!

Once I removed the skirt I could see all the fabric I had to play with!

The embroidery needed a little attention!

In some places the cotton thread had come unstitched, but it was an easy fix!

I tried a couple of cottons, initially I thought the embroidery was white but actually I found a closer colour match was the cream, so I carefully stitched over the gap in the embroidery!

Once I repaired the embroidery I cut the fabric into a little tank top.

I actually used a sewing pattern for the shape of the top, its the Merchant and Mills Gyo Top. But it would be super easy to make this top without a pattern, just measure round your bust and hips, cut a back and front bodice piece, half the measurement plus 1" seam allowance and two strips of fabric for the straps! Or you could trace the shape of a top which already fits!

So now I've got a super little summer top which fits me, made from someone else's discarded dress!

In fact, I liked it so much I made two more!

I'm so inspired by this and I really hope I've inspired you too!?

So I picked up this cute dress last year!

  1. I thought its a bit snug but I'm sure I can make this fit!? Yeah, we've all thought that, but after too much TV and biscuits I decided I had to give up and make it into a garment which would fit me now, not the person who "might fit into it in the future!"
Suggested materials:
  • Cotton dress   (Thrift shop)
  • Cotton thread   (Haberdashery)
  • Merchant and Mills Gyo Top pattern   (My stash or Haberdashery store)

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Carol Bentley
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3 of 11 comments
  • Karen Karen on Jan 22, 2021

    I've been going through clothing alterations for a couple hours now and this one is definitely my favorite! LOVE it! BTW, I didn't lose any this past summer either.

  • Annette Annette on Jan 25, 2021

    I did make a cute A-line style sleeveless dress out of a Hawaiian Shirt my husband bought in Key West. It came out really cute. (He had lost 180lbs after bariatric surgery and everything was way too big.) I had just never thought of "attacking" my own clothes in the same manner! Thanks!