Monday, August 10, 2015

Refashioned Shift Dress Tutorial

Hi there!

I've had quite a few people asking how I alter certain parts of dresses and I figured I'd show some more detailed shots here.  I'll do my best to explain, but please feel free to ask any additional questions if you have any!

Here is the original dress.

 It had longer short sleeves that were baggy, a collar, shift dress fit, and it went just past the knee.

 I decided it should be shorter, but not much shorter. I wanted it to hit just at the knee. So I measured from the bottom up 2" and cut.

Then, I zig-zagged the edge (it's a faux serge, since I don't own a serger). Essentially you're just putting your machine on a simple zig zag stitch and sewing so that the stitch is just hitting right off of the edge of the fabric.

 This is what it should look like.

 Then, I folded it over about 1" and sewed a straight stitch all the way around.
Hem done ✔

 Next, I decided to get rid of the collar and turn it into a mandarin collar. I started by unstitching (seam ripping) the seam where the collar was sewn into all the way around.

 It will start to come out, like so. 

Once it's all unstitched, it will look like this, so you'll need to re-sew it once the collar is removed.

 Just a straight stitch as close to the edge as possible.

 Remember that 2" I cut off from the bottom of the dress? I thought it would make a perfect belt for the waist. So I zig-zagged the edge (just like I did with the hem)

 Should look like this.

 Then I folded it over and straight stitched it down.
New matching belt ✔

Next is the sleeves.  I wanted them to be shorter and a little bit cap.  So I measured from the top of the shoulder out to how long I wanted them (leaving myself about an inch for the folded hem). Then I did the same thing with the armpit.  Since my sleeve was going to get smaller toward the armpit, I marked the line I wanted to cut from the top of the sleeve to the bottom (I apologize that I didn't take a better picture of that step. I won't forget next time!). This is what I ended up with.

 Then, I zig-zagged the edges here. We're getting pro at this now.

 Then, I folded it over and sewed a straight stitch to finish off the sleeves.

Finished product!

Here's the side-by-side.
I hope this helps and let me know if any of you need clarification on any of these steps!


P.S. If any of you refashion something, PLEASE show me -- tag me on instagram or send me an email →
 I always love to see what you ladies come up with!


  1. Cute dress refashion and great tutorial - I've never thought to do a hem this way (zigzag before hemming). Definitely trying it on my next sewing project. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Great refashion. Did you also take the dress in?

    1. No, I didn't take this one in. Just added the belt which gave it a more fitted shape!

  3. Hi!
    From boxy to fitted! ;)
    kisses from Portugal!