Dress Refashion (Tutorial)

What to do when a dear friend gives you a dress that's not quite your style...or size, or...anywhere near your size?

Like I did with this ginormous (apparently that really is a word now because my spell checker doesn't catch it. Amazing.) jumper that was given to me recently. I turned it into this lovely little sundress with a ruffled neckline. 

It's so breezy and spring-like that I do believe it brought the sun out from our super cold and rainy spring  all by itself!

(P.S. I just had to fit this in somewhere-these white shoes that I've been wearing the last few posts were only $.99 at Ross!! How amazing is that? I love discount stores.)

OK, back to the dress. 
I wore it to church after I made it and I must have been complimented by half the people there! If they only knew, hm? :o) That's the great thing about sewing, it's like having a magic wardrobe wand in your pocket.

I see dresses like this all the time at the thrift store, I wish I'd thought to refashion one before! You might even have something like this in your closet right now! These 90's prints are back like crazy, they just need a little loving update. :O)

Do you have a dress sitting in your closet to re-work? If not, hit the thrift store! There are tons there waiting to be rescued.

Here's the how-to:

  • Start with a long sheath dress. If your dress is too big, like mine was, you'll want to take in the sides. Just turn your dress inside-out and sew down the sides, following the original shape of the dress.
  • Then you'll want to try on the dress and find the right hem length for you. Add an inch or two to that, and cut off the excess evenly.

  • Use the part you trimmed off to cut a 4" strip, 1.5-2x your neckline measurement. Be sure to use the hemmed edge so you don't have to hem your ruffle. 

  • Serge or zig-zag the raw edge of your 4" strip, hem the two ends and then gather it into a ruffle. Pin your ruffle to your neckline (wrong side of ruffle should face right side of dress) and sew on!

Isn't that an easy refashion?
And what a dramatic difference!

I hope that gets your mind reeling of fun things to alter. Once you get started, it's hard to stop!
Happy refashioning!



  1. adorable! It came out great!

  2. It's great when you can make something that you will wear from something you wont. Mr me has a few check shirts that no longer fit him (I think I feed him too well) so you have given me the inspiration to try and alter them.

    Thank you

    Jan x

  3. This makes me want to head to the thrift store to find one for myself!!

  4. A.Dor.Able. I love it!

    I'm working on similar projects. After having lost quite a bit of weight in the past year, I went through my closet and found several things that are too big but I like enough to alter. It's especially nice when you find something that used LOADS of fabric, so you've got plenty to work with.

    Happy sewing!

  5. This is so cute! What a great, and easy, idea. I'm often plauged with not finding things in my size at the thrift stores. You make it look so simple, not to mention adorable!


  6. Smart!! I love how you transformed that mess into a fab dress!(I know that just sounded corny!)lol.


  7. Gorgeous! It's amazing what a little tailoring can do! Love it!

  8. Disney you always amaze me! You can turn something frumpy into something chic! I LOVE IT!

  9. My goodness lady! I love the dress refashion (and the before picture is funny too). I hope someone tells you everyday how amazing you are!

  10. Wow I can't believe you made that adorable dress from that not so cute one!

  11. Ooh that looks awesome, love the pretty fabric! I did that with dress recently too, amazing what a bit of elastic will do! :)

  12. Very clever! So summery and pretty.

  13. That is fantastic! I love it!

  14. I love it so much!
    You make it so easy, but so far I'm not skilled enough to do this. I'd just take an oversized dress and turn it into a mess.

  15. Disney, you've outdone yourself yet again. In a few easy steps you transformed a "Yeeeesh" into a "Yeeeeah!!!" I have practically no talent with the sewing machine, but your projects are always so easy that even I can do them. And you simply MUST reveal your secret for looking like a super model in every. single. shot. ^_^ One word for both you and the dress - LOVELY!!!

  16. Holy goodness, that dress looks fantastic! The length is JUST RIGHT, the white belt is great on it, and the ruffle is so sweet - and so you! Love love love. Great work!

  17. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [01 Jun 10:15am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  18. The dress looks beautiful. I want to say thank you for the tutorial.

  19. Wow! You're such an amazing designer! :) The dress fits you like a glove! :) LOVE it! :D


  20. What a great idea! Now if only I had a reliable sewing machine...and could sew! But my 9 year old is an up and sewing fashionista, so there's still hope!

  21. Wow, that looks great! I'm attempting to refashion a vintage Hawaiian Muu Muu right now... not an easy task but it is fun trying!

  22. I wish I was as talented at sewing as you are! I would love to be able to do some refashions of my own. You should check out the blog newdressaday.com . The author did one outfit refashion per day for an entire year! And only spent $365!

  23. I would love to bookmark this tutorial, but it seems to be missing! :( Any help?

  24. I just discovered your blog, it is so cool ! and your children are so nice :-)

  25. What a pretty day dress! I'm trying this today with a hand-me-down. Can't wait to wear it tomorrow! =D

  26. what a cute brand new dress:) all you need is a huge box of old clothes to play around with, and sell them :D childrens and womens, what a great way to have an income :D


  27. Thanks for your tutorial. Using it, I just did my first refashion. Still a bit big in the top of the dress, but I think overall it turned out okay. And, you've inspired me to keep trying. Appreciate your tutorial : ) I linked back to your post in my post, below.



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