DIY: Denim Dress Refashion Tutorial

Who doesn’t love a good denim dress?

Well not this one.

Eddie, Eddie, Eddie! What were you thinking? No wonder someone dropped it off at the thrift store. They probably laid it on the doorstep, rang the doorbell and ran. Really Eddie, you need to get out more!

Should I go for the J Lo look?

Hmmmmm. Maybe…….

So I channeled my inner Edward Scissorhands and got right to work.

First determine where you’d like your new waistline.

Cut your new bodice length leaving enough for a seam.

Cut off the sleeves then pin and sew new side seams to fit.

Cut extra fabric from the top of the skirt leaving enough for a seam at the top.

Pin and sew new side seams.

Sew skirt to bodice, adding pleats or darts in the front and easing the back to fit.

To make the flounce ruffle, first measure from the shoulder seam, across the neckline and down to the new waistline. Mine measured sixteen inches. This will become the circumference of the inner circle. Β The width of the pattern will be how wide you’d like your ruffle. I made mine three inches which allowed for a small rolled hem. (If I had a serger, I would’ve serged the edge instead of hemming.)

I used the fabric that I cut off from the middle of the dress to make the flounce ruffle.

After cutting out your circle piece of fabric, cut a straight line from the outer to the inner circle to open it up.

Place the inner circle along your neckline, fold it under, pin and topstitch. I ended up tacking my ruffle in a few places but I think if the edge was serged tacking might not be necessary.

Next put the sleeves back in place and hem the bottom of each sleeve.

I thought it would be fun to add a decorative gather at the bottom of each sleeve so I cut two small pieces of quarter inch elastic.

Place the elastic on the inside of your sleeve and stretch slightly while sewing.

This added a nice detail to each sleeve.

And here’s your new denim dress:


Ok, so I don’t look EXACTLY like J Lo. But it was fun to think about!

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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.
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77 Responses to DIY: Denim Dress Refashion Tutorial

  1. What a great transformation, Beth! The sunflowers are f a b u l o u s too!

  2. Sarah says:

    Your refashions are absolutely fabulous!

  3. The JLo look really works for you πŸ˜‰
    Well done!

  4. Alice says:

    You are such an inspiration! I’ve taken to looking at some blah pieces I have with an eye to creating something better!

  5. robindenning says:

    So cute! You really have a talent for seeing the possibilities in a dated garment!
    The dress came out really well.

  6. Mother Deer says:

    Very clever; great professional-looking end result πŸ™‚ You continue to inspire me!

  7. theresacouch says:

    The ruffles turned out great!

  8. Barb says:

    I am tempted to tell you that was MY Eddie Bauer denim dress I donated to the thrift shop, but it isn’t. Didn’t we all have one like that about 15 years ago? Your dress is really cute. I love seeing what you are up to!! Thanks for the invite tonight, I may see you around 6:00. We are eating early.

    • I know Barb, I think we all had one just like it back then. Remember the classic Costco jumpers. Now I think the standard teacher uniform is the fleece vest.
      Hope to see you tonight!

  9. Super cute! I just love ruffles!!

  10. Karen Schulz says:

    This is awesome. I cannot believe the change. there is no way I would have picked up that dress. But I am now inspired – watch out thrift stores. I might email you when i have done it!!

    • Oh, Karen, I hope you try it. It’ so fun and you’ll never look at clothes the same again. Email some before and after pictures to me when you’re finished and I’d love to include them on the Your Projects page.

  11. Anna Keeton says:

    Great dress and yours is even better than J Lo’s.

  12. So adorable!!! You’ll be the best-“dressed” kindergarten teacher around! πŸ™‚

  13. Cul de Sac says:

    The woman who refashions more quickly than her shadow… Impressive again!

  14. Amy says:

    oh wow….. You did such a great job…Eddie would be proud, I’m sure

  15. brenda says:

    The before picture is one ugly dress. The after is so beautiful and looks great on you.

    • Thanks, Brenda! This dress was one of those that evolved as I went along. When I started, I wasn’t really sure what the end result would be. Changed many times along the way. It was a fun transformation.

  16. blankenmom says:

    Love the ruffle detail!

  17. Mira says:

    That is really cute! Good Job!

  18. Laura says:

    What a great job! Looks fantastic.

  19. Jean C. says:

    O.K. talk about inspiration! Great job… hmmm, now where are the car keys… I know I saw a bunch of those at the local thrift shop! Here I go!!!! Wish me luck!

  20. That is just amazing! I swear you have a magic wand somewhere!! πŸ™‚

  21. adaisygarden says:

    Wow, you are a very talented seamstress! Unbelievable transformation and it looks absolutely great…not like one of those projects that look “homemade”…yours looks store-bought. πŸ™‚ I don’t know if I could do something like that (I usually absolutely hate alterations) but now I think I might actually try it and see what happens. Gasp!

    • You are so kind! It’s funny, and you’d never guess it, but I hate mending. I hope you try it because you might just surprise yourself. πŸ™‚ If I can do this anyone can, REALLY! Thanks for your nice comments!

  22. agy says:

    This is such a transformation! Thanks for sharing how to do the ruffle – always been wondering how they do it πŸ™‚

    • You are so welcome Agy! I had been wanting to try this kind of ruffle for awhile, too. Now I want to try making one with lighter weight material. Might be my next post.
      Enjoy your Sunday!

  23. Oh my gosh this is amazing! I can’t believe the re~fashion… Love it! You are so inspiring me to look at ugly dresses in a different way.

  24. Carole Evon says:

    You look awesome, love the new dress. I had a few of these frumpy ones, but I cut them up to make a denim quilt. Now I will be looking for one a the resale shop! Thanks

  25. Very cute! I’m working on a shirt with ruffles like that at the moment and I appreciate the work it takes. Wanted to let you know I nominated you for three awards.

  26. Khris says:

    I love this dress Beth but don’t like making clothes….boohoooo…if you ever get sick of it I can give you my address….lol…hugs Khris

  27. Fern says:

    Love the make-over – I don’t think I’ll look at thrift shop denim dressed quite the same way now… they just might have a very stylish modern dress hiding somewhere inside. : ) Thank you for sharing!

    • You are so welcome, Fern! Once I started refashioning, almost every thrift store piece with some good fabric had potential. It’s hard not to take everything home with me and start cutting away. Enjoy your day!

  28. Dounette says:

    waaah very nice, I really love how it is after!!! Congrat’ for this refashion.

  29. Crystal says:

    This looks great! I’m starting to rethink some of those clothes that I pass up in thrift stores.

    • I used to thrift shop, hoping to find things that fit “as is”. But now when I shop I’m looking for the “what ifs”. Thinking this way while shopping has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.I’d love to see what you end up making!

  30. Anonymous says:

    wish you would give more instructions. i am a beginner at sewing and i LOVE to refashion stuff but have always been deathly afraid of it. unless it fits i do not buy it from a thrift store if it needs new elastic or just a trim i am ok with it but this much scares me. but i want to be brave if you can just add a little more detail and more pics (i know its asking a lot) so i can follow it more and then i might even be able to do this one my own.

  31. kittehluvs says:

    I also have a horribly frumpy denim dress that I bought at Goodwill for halloween last year. I’d love to do a refashion similar to yours, except I’d like to create a sweetheart neckline + straps. Not sure if I can actually pull this off but thanks for the inspiration!

  32. Pingback: diy denim dress refashion! | Sandpaper Kisses

  33. Ev says:

    Wow, you’re so talented! I passed up a denim dress at the thrift store today but now I’m kind of regretting it πŸ˜› Oh well, there will always be more, right?

  34. Sue Lunsford says:

    Thank you for sharing your many talents. I have a denim dress that I am going to try this on. I rescued it from the give-away box as soon as I saw this. Much appreciation for the encouragement.

  35. Sue says:

    Great job. You look so cute in it too.

  36. Cheryl Anne says:

    Very neat. The redo fits better and looks much more flattering. You are very creative.

  37. Becky says:

    I’m pretty sure you are a long lost sister! Love your charisma, your style…and your shoes!!! Keep on creating…you are doing great things!!!!

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