Dress = Top + Skirt

Dress = top + skirt

While clothing shopping for my home swap to Spain, I found this super cute summer dress at the Goodwill “Bins.” To clarify, “the bins” are Goodwill’s clearance center where items are priced by the pound and the last stop for clothing before it’s made into rags. You can find some real treasures if you’re willing to root around their big bins – which is where the name came from! This dress turned out to be too big for me but I really liked the fabric. It’s a classic navy and white cotton stripe with some stretch to it. I loved the fabric immediately and knew that it would go with lots of pieces in my wardrobe.

Dress = Top + Skirt

After washing the dress, I tried it on and realized it was way too big. This is what the dress looked like.

Upcycled dress Cute but a bit “frock-ish” I’d say.

Dress re-do

It was too long but had a fantastic slit that I wanted to keep. Hotsy-totsy, home swappin’ Mama!!

Upcycled dress

So, I cut the dress in half and made….

A super cute top to go with white capris (also from “the bins”) and a navy/white polka dot scarf.

Upcycled dress

And, a sassy little skirt…that goes quite nicely with a linen blouse also from “the bins” and a crisp, white, brand new Eddie Bauer t-shirt from their outlet store.

Repurposed dress

The skirt also has an elastic waistband, which is excellent for travel! And, I kept that sassy little slit….

Repurposed dress

But now it’s on the other leg! For some reason, when I sewed the slit back together, it worked better on the other side. Please don’t ask me why. I have no idea!

I used a serger sewing machine for this project and finished those seams with my regular sewing machine. Honestly, I had my doubts about whether it would all work out but it did. If you’re thinking, “I could never do that” just look at how items are sewn together. Turn your clothing inside out to see how seams come together – and try it! Practice your techniques. This dress cost less than $2.00 and now it’s headed to Spain with me. Love those elastic waistbands for traveling! Very stylishly frugal!

Do you remake clothes into items that fit? Do you change clothing around to fit your needs?

Go Gingham related links:

How to take apart a skirt – use your seam ripper on this project!
How to make a waistband smaller without pins!
How to turn jeans into capris – easier than you think!
How to make skinny jeans from wide leg jeans – make your own “jeggings”
How to mend pillow cases to improve your sleeping – hah!
Easy steps to remove pesky tags from clothing
Want to learn to sew? Start here with easy cloth napkins

18 thoughts on “Dress = Top + Skirt

    1. Amy, it was a great outfit and you’re right – I’ll get lots of use! The skirt was sassy and cool. What more could you ask for?


  1. Very cute! I love refashioning thrifted clothes. I thought you would be interested that I was inspired by your post “Hello Handbag” – so I did one also. I found a straw purse at our thrift store for $2. Check out my blog if you would like to see how it turned out. I think it’s adorable! Thanks for the inspiration.


  2. I wish I had your way with the needles. I suck at refashioning clothes. These look so so cute. I have a bunch of such ‘dresses’ that I want to refashion. Maybe I will give another go someday.

    You look so cute in all of them, even the ‘BIG’ one :))


    1. Minnie, you’re so sweet! I say go for it and find your least favorite dress and practice. My daughter just tried re-making some pants from Goodwill and they didn’t turn out (at all!) but now she’s ready to try again. For me, with sewing, I learn from my mistakes. Give it a shot!!


  3. AND the skirt and top can now be worn together, for a 2-piece dress that is way cuter, now that it has more detail. Brilliant!

    Refashioning can be way more forgiving for the beginning sew-er, as you can be a lot less precise and get away with it. I refashioned some Goodwill finds as costumes for Grant High’s spring musical – it was very fun because they just had to look good from >20 feet away!


    1. Michelle, so true! I love that you did the sewing for the musical. YOU are very talented when it comes to sewing and refashioning. Your school communities are always lucky to have you as a MOM!


    1. Oh, Annie, you know me well – and yes those many years spent working for Ralph Lauren – that taste stayed with me! I love the classic look and it always looks fashionable. Well, as long as I stay out of H&M and Forever 21!!


  4. My mom and I did this all the time with clothes. Some very vintage ball gowns made really great skirts. Old pull-on sweaters made great cardigans and old coats made great jackets. My mom did the sewing, I did the wearing. Wish I knew how to sew; I have several items I don’t want to throw away because re-fashioned they would make a nice skirt and some would make really nice blouses. While others made great pillowcases.


    1. Sue, get a machine and go for it! Just practice on something you don’t love. I have so many items like that just waiting to be reinvented…they have so much more character than new. Borrow a sewing machine and go for it!!


      1. Just to illustrate how much I don’t know about sewing, what is a serger? Have tried to use a sewing machine several years ago. I was concentrating so hard, I sewed my sleeve onto what I was sewing. That’s when I gave up. Needles are so hard to thread and I always get the sequence all wrong so the bobbins go traveling across the floor. I have lots of ideas, but obstacles like sewing machines, crochet and knitting implements, and stoves keep me humble.


      2. 🙂 look inside your pants or skirt – the side seam is sewn and cut at the same time and has a flat edge to it. I’m assuming you’re wearing clothing that has a side seam but most store bought clothing has a side seam that has been sewn with a serger. Take a class – you’ll be very happy you did – I promise! You can do it!


  5. I have a similar dress that is very granny hippy-ish on its own, but would be great to do something like this too. I’ll give it a whirl, I’ve got nothing to lose, and hopefully it will turn out as nicely as yours did.


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