Re-fashioning a dress into a top..

Re-fashioning a dress into a top

I’ve been having a bit of a sort through of my wardrobe lately and thinking about outfit creation. As I was looking at my clothes my eyes landed on a dress that I only wore a handful of times and not at all the last 3 years. It’s a peach skin textured stretch poly jersey in a bold print. I began to think about re-fashioning, especially after seeing so much inspiration on Instagram

Two things that put me off the dress a bit are the fact that it’s a lotta print to wear all over (for me at least) and I wasn’t fond of the skirt shape and length on me either. The dress was hanging next to some rust culotte trousers which have been worn a few times, but I don’t have enough tops to wear with them and I was beginning to question them in my wardrobe…hmmm….it looked as though it was meant to be, because the rust tone of dress and culottes matched perfectly.

Here’s a photo of the dress before the refashion:

Re-fashioning a dress into a top

Re-fashioning a dress into a top

I decided to ask the collective mind of my lovely friends in the IG sewing community and the ideas for refashioning came pouring in. I ended up going with two ideas: a fluted cuff and a sash type tie across the high hip level…perfect!

Re-fashioning a dress into a top

So first off, I had to unpick the skirt and then I found I had just enough fabric in the skirt section to cut two ¾ circle sections for the cuffs and the rest was cut into bands for the sash. You can see the cuff shapes in the next three photos. I just did a simple overlocked edge and turned up a very small hem all around. I joined it up and then simply attached it to the bottom of the sleeves using my overlocker (I unpicked the sleeve hem to get enough length).

Re-fashioning a dress into a top. Sleeve cuff pattern

Re-fashioning a dress into a top. Sleeve cuff shape

Re-fashioning a dress into a top. Sleeve cuffs

Re-fashioning a dress into a top

Before I attached the sash section I thought about where it might look best tied and I decided that rather than being right on my side, a bit along towards the front looked best. To give me some room for the sash knot and some room for tightness adjustment I made a little cut-out that I bound with a bit of fabric like this:

The tie ends of my sash were stitched along and turned through before I attached it, then I pinned and stitched it along the lower edge of the top. On the inside, I just hand stitched the other edge of the sash in place .

Re-fashioning a dress into a top Tie detail

Re-fashioning a dress into a top Tie detail

When I’m wearing the top, I really like how I can pull the sash tight and it creates a sort of pleated/drape effect across my midriff…hides a dinner out! I also think it will look great with dark blue jeans, white jeans or grey jeans also. I’m so glad I didn’t purge that dress! I feel inspired to look at things with fresh eyes now and consider other possible refashions.

So thanks for stopping by my sewist friends. I’ll get back to work now thinking up new outfit combos for this and other clothes in my wardrobe. I just started my first MeMadeMay ’17  run by Zoe from ‘So, Zo… what do you know?’ blog and I’ll try to do the whole month. Wish me luck!… Catch you next time…Bye!

Re-fashioning a dress into a top

Pin for later!

Re-fashioning a dress into a top


Enter your email to receive updates of new posts:


  1. Maree
    May 2, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    Great clear tutorial – will be adding the sleeve detail to a few outfits. Thanks

    • Diane G
      May 2, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      Thanks Maree. I’m glad you enjoyed reading the sleeve details. They make a nice feature I think 🙂

  2. Alex Sewrendipity
    May 2, 2017 / 9:41 pm

    Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? Such a great refashion. I’m sure you will get a lot of joy out of it, much more than out of the dress. A great concept and execution!

    • Diane G
      May 3, 2017 / 7:00 am

      Thanks so much Alex 😊 I’m pleased that it worked so well yes! Now I’m looking at all my other clothes with fresh eyes.

  3. Karie
    May 3, 2017 / 1:48 am

    I love this! A new purpose for some fabric that wasn’t getting a whole lotta love in its first incarnation. A while back I was purging a maxi skirt and I decided to keep it, thinking I could use the fabric for something else. You’ve inspired me to get busy refashioning it!

    • Diane G
      May 3, 2017 / 7:02 am

      I’m thrilled that you like it Karie, thank you! It sounds like you have a refashion job to do now too 😊.

  4. May 3, 2017 / 3:24 am

    That is a great tutorial and a beautiful refashion.

    • Diane G
      May 3, 2017 / 6:55 am

      I’m glad it was helpful Thank you Lori!

  5. May 4, 2017 / 10:01 am

    Thank you for sharing the great idea! I really love it. You are smart:)

    • Diane G
      May 4, 2017 / 6:54 pm

      Oh thank you Eli cat. I’m so pleased you like what I did with my dress. It’s good to share creative ideas with fellow sewists 🙂

  6. Hélène
    May 5, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial Diane. What a fine upcycling project.

    • Diane G
      May 5, 2017 / 2:30 pm

      It’s so good of you to stop by my blog Helen. And thank you for helping me with ideas. The sash was genius xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Never Miss A Post!

Enter your email to receive updates of new posts: