DIY 1950s Shirt Dress Refashion Tutorial

Styles from the 50s.

Super cute!

But are they for me?

There’s only one inexpensive way to find out……

Refashion an old fifty cent thrift store dress, of course.


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About The Renegade Seamstress

I'm a busy wife, mom, grandma, and teacher who loves to create. I've joined the refashion scene and I 'd like to share and connect with all those talented and creative people out there doing similar things.
This entry was posted in DIY, Sewing, Thrifting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to DIY 1950s Shirt Dress Refashion Tutorial

  1. That dress was SO awful when you started and SO cute when you finished. Bravo!

  2. jenyjenny says:

    Amazing coincidence! I was just looking at old clothes—but not at a Thrift Store, a Vintage Store (makes a lot of difference in price I guess because I sure couldn’t find anything for 50 cents at the Vintage Store, more like $50!) You are amazing! Very cool.

    • Thanks so much! We have the best thrift store here! Most days adult clothes are $1.00 but on Wednesdays- HALF PRICE! Not to mention bag sale day when you can get a garbage bag full of clothes for two bucks! Helps feed my refashioning habit for sure.
      Enjoy your week!

  3. Wow . . . you’re rocking and rolling your sewing machine these days! This is BEAUTIFUL, Beth! 🙂

  4. dressesandme says:

    Love it!

  5. Cathy says:

    You are one sewing machine-hee hee hee-nice dress!

  6. SoOoo cute!! I love it with the belt too!! 🙂

  7. Trudy Callan says:

    Love all of your refashions and tutorials. You really have a fantastic blog. Thank you so much for your concern and thoughts toward me. It means more than you know.

  8. bernieandi says:

    Another fabulous re-fashion! Looking at the before who knew this dress had so much potential.

    • I know!!! It’s crazy how a few snips here and a few new seams there make all the difference in the world! I’m having so much fun doing this, thanks for your nice comments, I really appreciate it!

  9. Lisa Yarost says:

    I love your refashions! I notice that you start with items that are quite oversized. How much larger than the proper size do you feel you need to go in order to make your alterations work? One size? Two?
    Thanks for posting these. You have such a fun blog!

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for your kind words!
      As far as the size, I think it depends on what you are going to make out of it and what happens to be available. When I go thrift store shopping, I don’t always know how the garment will end up. I usually pick things up for the color, fabric or some kind of cool embellishment.
      Happy Monday!

  10. Adrienne says:

    Thank you for sharing this!

  11. BeingZhenya says:

    Beautiful! I have a dress refahsion coming up tomorrow 🙂 And it’s vintage too!

  12. Love, love, love! I’m so going to the thrift store today to find something similar to re~fashion.

  13. alicecarman says:

    love this on you! I love this style too, awesome!

  14. Leilani says:

    OH, GOLLY! Each post makes me more and more hungry for time to sew! So clever. Love this blog. 🙂

  15. Cul de Sac says:

    You look fantastic! I might try that someday, but I don’t think I will look as awesome as you do because of my body shape…

    • Thanks! You would be surprised how a good fit will make all the difference in the world!!! I bet you’d look great!

      • Cul de Sac says:

        The problem is I’m quite wide in the hip department and very little in the bosom one… I have I hard time finding skirts and even more so dresses that fit me great!…

        • You know, I used to feel the same way about myself. Very rarely did Ready to Wear fit me. My self esteem would always be quite bruised after a day of clothes shopping. That is exactly why I went on my quest to learn to sew clothes that fit my body. It’s amazing how a certain article of clothing can look so unflattering (before pictures) and when it fits properly can be a winner. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s most likely the fit of the clothes and NOT your body!!!!
          Enjoy your evening!

          • Cul de Sac says:

            yeah… It’s just the stores that are selling clothing to fit one body type (or 2). I made myself some dresses a couple of years ago and even them were not fitting well. I think I need a class on how to draw your own pattern or make more refashions… the later will be easier and more quick! 😉 I should try one of those maxi’s….

            • Yes- I got frustrated with patterns not fitting well either. That’s my next adventure. Learning how to adjust patterns to fit. Seems the more you learn, the more there is to learn.
              Happy sewing adventure!

  16. dosayit says:

    This is the best one yet I think! It is super flattering on you and your look absolutely gorgeous in that color.

  17. Rhonda says:

    It’s great projects like this that make me wish we have a great thrift store close by! I’m so jealous!!! Great job…I think i will start recycling some of my “phat” clothes as I work in an office and they are soo expensive…thanks for the ideas, keep them coming!

    • You are so welcome, Rhonda. I think this is so much fun, I want to share it with EVERYONE! Please let me know if you make anything. I’d love to see it and share it on the “Your Projects” page. Have a great day!

  18. Amy Jo says:

    This is a great refashion! (of course) I love how you broke it down into 6 steps. I’ve started buying clothes at estate sales that I never would have looked at before, now that I see what can be done with them.
    Just a little tip, if you are interested, on belts. I have used hair bands to keep the ends of my belt flush against my body. Just slip the band onto the end of the belt before putting it on, then after you have it around your body, you can slide the “leftover” belt through the hair band and it’ll stay put! If the belt is black, I use a black hair tie band. For yours that is brown, I would probably use a clear band. Goody is the brand I use.

  19. Pingback: Dollar Store Crafts » Blog Archive » DIY Fashion: 10 Sweet Refashioned Dresses

  20. Simone says:

    Wow this is such an amazing transformation! I absolutely love what you have done! I wish I was clever and talented enough to do the same. Unfortunately my sewing skills only stretch as far as sewing on buttons!

  21. IvoryPearl says:

    I don’t know how you saw such a pretty dress from this ugly original dress….you have a great imagination! I probably would have walked past this diamond in the rough…and I mean rough…lol! Congrats on a job well done!

  22. baylinerbob says:

    I am in the middle of restructuring a great Talbots dress I found. 3 sizes too big but gorgeous fabric. I have the top part figured out but was wondering about attaching top to bottom. I see you reused the elastic middle….how? My fabric is a knit and I wonder if it will get too bulky. Did you finish the seams? Any advice would be great. Love your repurposing posts!!!!

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