shirt to dress refashion

I love to find a good bargain. The only person I know who loves to bargain shop more than me is my beloved friend Megan. She once wore a 76 cent clearance skirt (76 cents!!!) to a church activity, and forgot to take the price tag off. It was embarrassing and awesome. But that is a story for another day.

Last week I was in Macy's, scouring the clearance rack, when I found this shirt (p.s. sorry about the dark photos ... I craft at night!):

The top part was cute, but the never-ending bottom was problematic. It came down to like mid-thigh. Stacy and Clinton would not approve. However, it was exactly what I was looking for, because I was feeling inspired by the incredibly talented Alexis of My Mama Made It. Have you seen her blog? I love it. Especially the very last dress in this post.

With my partially cute bargain shirt on hand, I was ready for a little experiment, which resulted in this:


Here's how to do it. First, I got out my trusty seam ripper and carefully removed the bottom half of the shirt from the empire waistband.

Then I took the side seams out of the bottom of the shirt, and unpicked the pleats from the front and the darts from the back. I didn't iron them out though, because I wanted to recreate them on my skirt.

I laid the front piece of the shirt on top of my skirt material and cut it to the same size, only I extended the length . I cut mine to 27 inches long. You want the top of the skirt to be the same width so it will fit back in the shirt waistband. Do the same thing with the back piece of fabric.

Next I recreated the pleats in front and the darts in back. I didn't really measure ... just folded and pinned my skirt fabric in the same places the shirt had pleats/darts.


I forgot to take pictures at this point, but here's where the sewing started.
  1. Sew across the top of the front skirt piece to hold the pleats in place, and then sew up the darts in the back.
  2. Attach the front and back skirt pieces to the waistband (just slide them right back inside the waistband and top-stitch it closed).
  3. Sew the side seams along both sides of the skirt
  4. Try on the dress and pin the hem to your liking. Using the blindest blind stitch you can muster, hem the skirt. (I have little patience for hand-sewing.)
And that's it! It was a pretty easy project, and took me about 3 hours total.

I was nervous about the bright orange fabric, but now I love it. Gives the dress a little zing, don't you think?

post signature

55 comments:

Eileen said...

Awesome makeover!

Eileen
http://ruralwisconsin.blogspot.com/

Sarah Ann said...

love. it. it's a great idea and it looks great on you!

Becky said...

That is totally adorable. I love it.

stephanie said...

Jill, you are so tiny!! I LOVE the orange color and the pleats look awesome. Cute, cute, CUTE!

Lyanna said...

Very cute, and yes, the fabric is a great choice!

Janelle said...

Adorable. I need to jump on this high-waisted train. So cute.

Treasuresofjoy said...

Um, I must go to go to Macy's today...I LOVE that.

Allison said...

That is beautiful! I love the orange too, its bright and cute and summery! Cute Cute Cute blog! Thanks for stopping by and linking! -Allison

Jaime said...

Very, very cute. I will be on the hunt for a similar shirt now. I want one!! :-)

Erica said...

Love it! I love the pleats you added to the skirt, they make the dress:-)

claudia said...

That is so cute! You are very talented!

Meg said...

1) Thanks for the shout out.
2) I will love that dress even more if the shirt was 3 dollars or less.
3) Thank you for not measuring, but rather just eyeballing where pleats belong. I would call that the mark of a born-crafter/what makes us kindred spirits.
4) Well done you.

Sara said...

Looks great! and also super difficult. Not sure I'd tackle that project.

Julie said...

I love it! And now I'll have to give it a try. What kind of fabric did you use for the bottom?

Rebekah said...

CUTE and so brave! And I just have to say, if I got something for 79 cents I would probably leave the price tag on FOREVER!

Jennifer Davis said...

Nice work!!! I love the transformation/recreation of this outift!!!
I am also a HUGE bargain lover. My old motto (before I had the baby and could wear just about anything i wanted...) used to be "if it's cheap enough, i'll learn to like it". :)

Amber said...

This is brilliant. I would never attempt something like this. Actually, I take that back - I have attempted things like this numerous times but the fit never works out to be that flattering!

Kristin Sellars said...

Super cute!

lubirdbaby.blogspot.com

R said...

It's like a whole new world has been opened up! I've often thought about doing something like this but didn't have enough idea on my own. This is perfect!

The Mecham Family said...

You are SOO crafty! LOVE IT!

Jill said...

Thanks, everybody!

I used a stretch cotton sateen for the skirt (it took a little more than a yard), and I got it at fabric.com. I've never made clothes before, so I had no idea what to buy, but the stretch cotton is a heavier weight and worked well for the skirt. I like that it has a nice sheen.

Sarah (Team Chilton) said...

I love refashions. This was awesome. I have some similar shirts kicking around and I have been wanting to do something with them. Thank you!

Melanie said...

Awesome! I once got a Gap maternity skirt for $1 at a garage sale (really cute and in great shape) and tried to re-create it with some fabric I had. It turns out that maternity clothes are a lot harder to create than regular clothes. But I still have that $1 skirt!

Chad & Bonny Day said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! Awesome Idea!!

Julie said...

i totally need to make one of these, you are brilliant!

hopeful #1 said...

You are awesome! And the orange is just gorgeous! Us brunettes can pull that off though! Great work!

lana and drew said...

I LOVE IT! Great job! I'm not inspired to refashion one of my shirts. Stacy & Clinton would definitely approve!

Amy said...

I LOVE this! Would totally buy one from you!

Hippie Family... said...

I looked, thought it was cute, read over the rest, loved the finished look, then thought.. hmm.. wonder how she got that on. so, I read it again, went over it again and then again, and realized there is a tie i the back of the shirt, and the darts/stretch must have helped.. Any tips on that part? over the head pull on?

Hippie Family... said...

I looked, thought it was cute, read over the rest, loved the finished look, then thought.. hmm.. wonder how she got that on. so, I read it again, went over it again and then again, and realized there is a tie i the back of the shirt, and the darts/stretch must have helped.. Any tips on that part? over the head pull on?

Diana said...

Oh my gosh...that's amazing! What a hip-looking dress...and the best part is, no one else is going to have that same look. So unique with the bright orange skirt. You're so talented! :o)

Amy said...

Fantastic! It looks amazing!!!

Jill said...

hippie family -

yep, it is just a pull-over-the-head dress. I'm not ready for zippers. :)

The front of the shirt still buttons and the tie in the back helps for a better fit.

Likes Chocolate said...

Darling!!!!!

Suzy D. said...

Jill,
who would know? I want to know how much the total dress cost.

Jill said...

Total cost ... about $13. $5 for the shirt, $8/yard fabric.

jezebelsk said...

You are super-awesome & I want to be you when I grow up.

BTW, I once got a skirt for 49 cents at JC Penney's - talk about SUPER clearance prices!

Amy said...

I love it! That is seriously awesome. I just might have to try it! :)

McKenzie said...

yes it does! I love it. you are amazing!

Alexis said...

Jill it looks so great! I LOVE the orange. Well done! Thanks for referencing me, that was so sweet of you!!

3 o'clock walk said...

It's lovely <3

emily ann. said...

I am so inspired!!! I'm a newbie to the sewing world, but you made this sound so easy to do! I think I just might try it. :)

e.c said...

I would have never thought of doing this. WOW! I love your make over of it. Thanks thanks thanks!!!

Jaime said...

love love love it. want it want it want it. wanna make me one?

Erica said...

simple idea and gorgeous dress

Steph said...

Fabulous! You did a great job.

Erin said...

this is SO fantastic. i love the bold color you choose.

Thais said...

Jill,

I have VERY wide hips compared to my top. To be more precise my chest is 32 in, my waist is 28, and my hips are 43 in. How could I go about making the skirt more A-line to accommodate my hip width? :)

stephanie said...

ooo, that's super cute! i love the pop or orange.

Marie said...

Wow! That is SUCH a cute dress; so impressed!

Cazra said...

I love this dress! I would wear this in a heartbeat! I have got to get brave and attempt to refashion something for myself. I have sewn for my daughter but not for myself yet. Thanks for the inspiration!

V and Co. said...

oh my heavens! how am i only seeing your blog NOW?! i love this and think i need to give this a go! now to see what shirt it's going to be...

Wani said...

Such a great little dress!

Marcia said...

Sooo awesome! I have some maternity shirts that I'll NEVER need again for their intended purpose...(four kids and FINISHED!) I love the top of them, and now I know how I can recreate the bottom into something usable! Thanks so much for the tutorial. : )

ThE RaSmUsSeN's said...

I was the same question as Thais!