Shirt Refashion Tutorial and a Few Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Quite often, my subscribers mention that they wish they had an “eye” like mine for finding thrift store clothes to refashion. I certainly don’t claim to have any special thrift store magic but throughout this tutorial I would like to give you a few tips that might be helpful the next time you venture out to your friendly neighborhood thrift store.

In order to keep their merchandise moving and fresh, most thrift stores will have a half price day. Usually a certain color tag is on sale. When I shop, I will only look at the sale items. I don’t like to spend much money on items to refashion. It makes me much more likely to take risks and start cutting if I know I didn’t spend much on a piece of clothing.

It was pink tag day at the Goodwill. The dress I’m going to refashion was normally $5.99 but I bought it for $3.00.

Another trick to thrift store shopping, especially if you love to refashion as much as I do, is to check out the L and XL section. Don’t limit yourself to your regular size. I’m an average size and quite often, my section doesn’t have much. The large clothing will give you plenty of material to work with and you can find some great fabrics and styles. Just a few modifications can result in some great changes.

This dress was a Lane Bryant size 22. I normally wear a 10 or 12.

But, I loved the great details on the front and the fabric was a nice stretch cotton.

If you train your eye to look for interesting details, quality fabrics, and great patterns, thrift store shopping can become an adventurous treasure hunt. I don’t always know immediately what I’m going to make, but many times I’m drawn to something on the garment and if the price is right, I’ll buy it and put it in my stash for later.

I decided this big dress would be perfect to refashion into a long shirt to go with my newly refashioned jeans.

So I started by cutting off the sleeves and the skirt.

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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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53 Responses to Shirt Refashion Tutorial and a Few Thrift Store Shopping Tips

  1. mamacormier says:

    Great tips. I knew about the 1/2 price day. At our Goodwill it’s on Fridays. I decided to give it a try this week but the parking lot was full and cars were parked all over the street and on the lawns of neighbouring businesses. I went home. Last week I did purchase 2 wool sweaters to felt and refashion into arm warmers and clutch purses. I managed to finish the arm warmers today but I’m not sure how to attach the pictures to this comment box. I’ll probably post the pictures on my blog this week and redirect my readers back to your site. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas.

  2. kelly thompson says:

    I like this – longer shirts are my style but it seems like they sell shirts that are short and then they also shrink in the wash–this is super cute for jeans!

  3. Char says:

    Love it Beth. Really cute idea. I like the length.

  4. prttynpnk says:

    Alright now this is probably my favorite so far- and I’ve them all! I really like the skirtedness!

  5. I so want to get into refashioning,but between homeschooling my youngest and my new blog, I know it will have to wait until after the holidays. I love your blog and am learning so much from you.

  6. Noreen says:

    Amazing! Love that top. It would look really cute with leggings too.

  7. chefconnie says:

    The tip about buying bigger sizes is great. The shirt looks wonderful.

  8. Um, new favorite! You just keep raising the bar higher and higher for yourself πŸ™‚
    stylist & stiletto maven

  9. Cul de Sac says:

    your shirt look gorgeous! I really like those frills at the front. and again, you are beautiful!!

  10. Chuck & Debbie Orpin says:

    Thank you for the inspiration! I’ve finally tried taking in a t shirt for one of my daughters. She wore the shirt the rest of the day! Thanks for sharing the tip today. I’m going to try it new time I’m at the thrift store. 


  11. CherryPix says:

    The black flower details really make this – love how you’ve styled your new blouse!

  12. Linda Coopeer says:

    Do you taper the shoulders as you get to the collar? Can’t tell from the pictures. Love your blog

  13. I love your tutorials! I re-post them frequently on Facebook to give Fans a look at how to refashion something, but they are do-able too. Love it.

  14. Jo H. says:

    I really like this re-fashion, too. I have reasonable sewing skills but no imagination, so I am thrilled you share your ideas here πŸ™‚

  15. learningnewtricks says:

    Love this refashion! I would love to have seen the back, especially as you indicated adding pleats. I try and refashion, but I am better at starting from a pattern. For some odd reason, my refashions look too homemade for my taste. I do tailor thrift store garments, but that’s not a refashion in my book. As to thrift store shopping, I won’t spend more than $2 on any garment. There is a $2 rack at my favorite thrift store, and I buy new and/or very lightly worn name brands, such as Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, Loft, DKNY, Express, Jones of New York, Talbots, Gap, Old Navy, etc. For over 10 years, I used to shop at another thrift store and thought it offered the best deals and would spend no more than $5 on a garment. I now kick myself for having spent $30 on sale garments at retail shops and thinking they were the deal of the century (spending up to $1,000 in one 1/2 yearly shopping spree). For that much money, I could have easily bought a ton of garments. Anyway, live and learn!

    • I know, it’s hard to believe how much $ I’ve spent on clothes over the years. On things that really didn’t fit very well. I decided that I was going to learn how to alter patterns and start sewing for myself again. In my pattern making quest, I discovered I could alter and refashion to get inexpensive clothes that fit me perfectly. I’m having so much fun!
      Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. I love it!!! What a great transformation. The detailing is so cool. Wish I would have found that shirt…

  17. diaryofamadcrafter says:

    Oh I love that!!! It’s so cute, and the details are adorableeee! Great find, and amazing refashion!

  18. adaisygarden says:

    Wow. I am blown away. This. Is. Super. Cute!!! What a talent you have!

  19. BeingZhenya says:

    What program do you use to add words and descriptions to your photos? Thanks!

  20. Martha says:

    Great job. I Cant wait to try so many of these. Great job. Thanks for sharing.

  21. I LOVE your site! I can’t believe all you have done with items I would completely look over. I am determined to dig in into our old clothes and make me something. I’m trying to refashion a man’s shirt right now and unfortunately I am making more “creative opportunities” than I am getting done!

  22. Sharon says:

    This is by far my favourite. I have 2 huge oversized sweatshirts of my dads who is no longer with us and I want to re-purpose it into a hoodie or dress for me or one of the grand kids..Have you done a upcycle like that??

  23. Beth says:

    You might tell them how to shorten zippers for this and other projects

  24. Pingback: Shirt Refashion Tutorial and a Few Thrift Store Shopping Tips – Pinterest

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