Thrift Flip Ideas: Old Dress Transformed Into a New Dress & Cute Top

Liana Hardy
by Liana Hardy
11 Materials
3 Hours

If you haven't guessed yet, I adore thrift flip ideas! Making something old into something new is a real pleaser. Today, I’m going to show you how I took a thrift flip dress and turned it into both a DIY dress and DIY top.

Tools and materials:

  • Old dress
  • Bias binding
  • Pins
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Iron
Thrift flip dress

This thrift flip dress kind of has a lovely vintage feel to it, so it’s really a one-of-a-kind look.

Measuring where to shorten the dress

1. Disassemble the DIY dress

First, with a measuring tape, mark where you’d like to shorten the dress, then cut.

Removing the sleeves from the dress

Also, cut off the sleeves.

DIY dress ideas

I labeled the pieces with letters:

  • A is the bottom offcut from the dress, which will be used to make the sleeves of the new top.
  • B is the remainder of the dress, which will now have a shorter hem.
  • C is the old dress sleeves, which will be turned into the center front of the new top.
  • D is the remaining offcut from the hem of the old dress, which will be turned into the back bodice of the new top. 
Cutting the sides of the sleeve

Place the cut sleeves (C) on top of each other and cut along both sides, as shown. This should create four pieces.

Checking the bodice shape

The two bigger shapes create the bodice for the top. The polka dots don't line up, but I think it still looks fine.

Seam-ripping the dress seams

Next, unpick the seam of the bottom offcut from the dress (A), and make it into one long piece. 

Two pieces of fabric from the dress offcut

Cut a section off this long piece to use as the back of the top (D).

Folding and cutting the back bodice

2. Make the top

Fold D in half and cut along the fold. This will make the back bodice.

Cutting the bottom offcut to make sleeves

Cut the hem off A, then fold in half and cut along the fold. These pieces will make the flouncy sleeves.

Stitching the front bodice of the top

Stitch C together at the raw edges to create a front bodice piece for the top.

Sewing darts on the bodice

Create front darts to give the front part some shape for the bust area. 

Cutting fabric to make the back bodice

Cut D so that it’s the same width and length as the front. 

How to sew a DIY top

Overlock the raw edges on both C and D, then stitch the two pieces together at the side seams, and hem. 

Sewing bias binding to the DIY top

Now, add bias binding to the sleeves, back, and front panel for decoration.

Pressing the binding

Press the binding when done. 

Sewing an open-ended zipper at the back

Attach an open-ended zipper to the back panels. 

Attaching the sleeve pieces to the bodice

Attach the floaty sleeves to the front and back bodice. You only need to sew 5cm (1.96 inches) of the edges of the sleeves to both the edges of the front and back of the top. 

Pinning darts on the DIY dress

3. Modify the DIY dress

Pin darts around the armhole so that the dress looks more fitted, modern, and chic. To do this, simply put the DIY dress on, and pin accordingly. The dress should look fitted around your bust. 

Take off the dress and measure the pinned darts to make sure they are the same size and symmetrical.

Overlocking the raw edges of the DIY dress

Overlock the raw edges and lining of the dress. Now, hem the fabric and lining of the DIY dress at a 3.5cm (1.37 inches) seam. The lining should be shorter than the main fabric. 

Then, sew the darts.

Unpicking the belt loops on the DIY dress

If your dress has belt loops, remove those if you’d like to. I won't be making a belt for this dress, so the belt loops aren't necessary. 

Sewing bias binding on the armholes

Sew on some bias binding to the armholes for a clean finish. 

DIY thrift flip dress

DIY dress

That’s it! This is the end of this incredible transformation. The thrift flip dress looks so snazzy! What do you think of these thrift flip ideas? 

DIY thrift flip top

DIY top

Two different pieces from one thrifted dress. Thanks for joining me, and happy thrifting! Let me know what you think of this double transformation in the comments below.

Suggested materials:
  • Old dress
  • Bias binding
  • Pins
See all materials

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