DIY: Ten Minute Summer Dress Tutorial


At first glance, you might think I just cut off the length.

I didn’t, but it was almost as easy and I was able to give a too small dress a refashion for a change.

To refashion something that is too small can be a real challenge. I usually put the too tight thrift store clothes back on the rack. But I thought it would be fun to have something red, and into my cart it went.

So instead of just cutting off the bottom and putting in a new hem, I cut out the mid section and used the more roomy bottom and the existing hem.

Here’s the game plan:

You’ll cut twice.

Three quarters of an inch below your top measurement.

And three quarters of an inch above the bottom measurement.

You are basically cutting out the middle section.

Match the marks when pinning, easing and sewing the top to the bottom.

Use a quarter inch piece of elastic and measure around your waist on the new waistline. Pull slightly until you get the tension you like and cut. I left mine slightly loose since it’ll most likely be hot when I wear this.


You could dress this up with a belt, some nice shoes and jewelry or just keep it simple and casual.

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Thanks for stopping by!!!


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, Tutorial, upcycling and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to DIY: Ten Minute Summer Dress Tutorial

  1. Love your new dress and love your new tagline!

  2. prttynpnk says:

    Yay! Another brilliant save. I so enjoy these posts.

  3. YOU are definitely the queen of RE-FASHION!!!! Thanks for another great post!

  4. That is SOOOOO cute! And I agree . . . I couldn’t have left without that pretty red print, either! Amazing work as always . . . LOVE your blog! 🙂

  5. A much better fit and length on you…..bravo!

  6. Cara Olsen says:

    I love the print on this dress, Beth. Those tiny little flowers, backed by that bold but muted red, make for a lovely combination. And I much prefer the length stopping just shy of the knee. You have lovely legs and should show them off!

    Happy Saturday to you!

    ~ Cara

    • Thanks, Cara!
      I realized I didn’t have much red in my closet and I thought it would be a fun change. The red just makes me happy and I’m all about trying to add joy to my life, even if it’s only a silly dress.

      • Cara Olsen says:

        It’s not silly at all! It’s an incredible gift, how something trivial possesses the ability to put a smile on our faces. I simply adore coming home from the thrift-store with a new book or piece of pretty glassware — and the bill was under $2!

        Three cheers to the thrifty gals. 😉

  7. terri says:

    Such a good idea! I have a dress in my closet that was a gift. I’m going to try it. Thanks for the pictures. It really helps!

  8. amysworlds says:

    That’s a really good idea! *steals your offcut to make some red flowers with* mwahahaha!

  9. That’s such a great idea! I always find thrift store dresses that are a little too big that I could fix this way.

  10. Marty Frasier says:

    I really like this one, Beth! The color and length are flattering.

  11. I discovered your blog while looking for a good maxi dress tutorial. I love your projects!! I plan to follow you on Bloglovin’ so I’ll be visiting from time to time.

    Have a fabulous weekend,
    Nikell (^_^)

  12. Claudia says:

    What a brilliant game plan Beth ! You rule !

  13. Boomdeeadda says:

    You make it look so easy! Good tips, thanks again

  14. bernieandi says:

    That is such a great tip! I love your tutorials :). Also I think the new name is great, there is something revolutionary about altering clothing to suit your personal style rather than just buying the same disposable fashion everyone else buys.

    • Thank you Bernie!
      This whole adventure started because I couldn’t find clothes or even sewing patterns that fit. I was determined to learn how to create clothes that fit my body. I stumbled into this refashioning thing and haven’t turned back. I LOVE it!
      Enjoy your day!

  15. lessandragr says:

    So clever! It really looks nice – makes me want to run down to the thrift store and make one too!

  16. modflowers says:

    SUCH a useful tutorial! It has opened up a whole world of possibilities – no longer will I have to leave those too-small frocks on the rail! Thank you x

    • You are so welcome. I think this refashioning thing is so ridiculously fun. So many possibilities….So little time! 🙂 Please let me know if you try this. I’d love to see pictures!

  17. joen says:

    Reall cute love the red print!

  18. Laurel says:

    Love the red dress too! and it looks great with the red belt.

  19. Jakki says:

    You should wear more red, Beth – it really is flattering!

  20. Once again, just gorgeous! I can’t wait for our Summer, you have inspired me to get Re-fashioning!! Watch out!!

  21. Barbara says:

    Love your dress and boy do you look good in red! I have been doing the same thing with refashioning clothing that I buy in larger sizes. The one I just did was taking a princess seamed long dress and then instead of cutting out the middle, added elastic vertically to about 6 inches of all the princess seams around the waist area to have a ruching effect. I shortened it and put on new buttons and it turned a $3.00 dress into something I love to wear. I got the idea from a Coldwater Creek dress that I loved. It turned out great. Wish I had a camera to take the picture and share. Sometimes refashioning is more work than starting from scratch but it sure is fun and rewarding. I love the inspiration you provide!

    • Hi Barbara!
      Thanks for the visit. I’m intrigued by your dress refashion. I might have to try something like that.
      If you ever get a chance to take a picture, I’d love to see it!

  22. Brenna says:

    What a great solution! I’m inspired

  23. Pingback: Thrifting: A Look Back at My First Refashion | Stitch It Again

  24. hardworkinjudy says:

    Clever idea. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Karen says:

    You are amazing girl!!! Let us know when the book is published! I want a copy!

  26. ginny says:

    great idea love the red dress, you go girl

  27. Sue says:

    A great way to change this dress. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  28. Evi says:

    Very nice work, thank you

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