Granny Polo Refashion


I found this awesome rose-bud women’s polo at the Sewing Summit thrift excursion for $2. The fabric is soft & the print is so dainty, I just fell in love. Originally, I was planning on doing some transformation for me, but I never quite got the vision for it. As I checked out at DI & showed off my sweet find to my Sewing Summit friends, a few of them didn’t get the vision either.

This was meant to be a little girl’s dress. A few nights ago I was a bit bored & craving a little sewing project so I got it out & started looking at it. Originally I thought about doing a little scoop neck sheath for Penelope, but thought the finishing might look a bit shoddy if I try to take off the polo collar. Penelope was in the room, so I had her try on the untailored shirt & discovered that the neck was perfect as-is. If I buttoned it all the way to the top, it looked like a normal, meant-to-be-worn-by-a-toddler neckline. I used the same process as Penelope’s little black dress from two years ago, but made a few minor changes that ended up making a huge difference.

Here’s how I did it:

  • cut off the arms
  • cut off the skirt (the trunk, just below the arm pits)
  • laid one of Penelope’s shirts (that still fits) and cut out the silhouette of the arms & bodice, leaving about an inch of seam allowance all the way around
  • turned the bodice inside out & sewed up the sides
  • fitted the bodice to Penelope & made markings for the sleeves (you want them at a slight angle)
  • sewed a baste stitch with elastic thread in the bobbin at the loosest tension all the way around the skirt for the skirt to gather. *
  • turned skirt inside-out & bodice right-side-in
  • pinned the skirt to the bodice, lining up the side seams then finding centers all the way around
  • sewed a zig-zag stitch (3mm wide 3mm long) with the elastic bobbin with the original skirt baste stitch in the middle of either side of the zag
  • turned right side out
  • hemmed the sleeves using a slip stitch (or blind hem)


*I can’t remember where I saw this little tip for gathering, so if you know it, please send the link to me! This tip was SO incredibly helpful! I’ll never gather without an elastic thread ever again.

It was sort of a happy accident that I sewed the two pieces together with the elastic bobbin. I usually just do zig zag stitch (my machine doesn’t have a stretch stitch), but it’s never as stretchy as I want it & often times looks pretty wonky. Using the elastic thread in the bobbin not only gave me more stretch, but it also pulled the stitches straighter, so when I turned the garment right side out, it looked nicely finished. I’m DEFINITELY going to use this technique in the future. Maybe for a project for me?

I’m so proud of this project. It’s such a sweet little girl’s dress! Penelope has refused to take it off since I finished it = job well done!

It’s getting harder & harder to get her to sit still these days. I wish I could steal all of her energy & use it as my own.

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    1. This is absolutely adorable and quite brilliant. She’s clearly smitten. :)

    2. So cute! I love what you’ve done with the polo.

    3. Egads! It is fabulosity! I absolutely love it. And by the way, I totally got your vision for the adult version, too. I’m a sucker for anything soft and floral. But you did right by your Pen by making it into a dress for her. :)

    4. Shaela says:

      This is absolutely darling!! Okay, now I’m curious… I’ve seen elastic thread and have thought about getting it before. I have 3 aprons I need to make this week with a ruffle along the bottom. The prototype aprons’ ruffle was a NIGHTMARE to get right with all the gathering… but would the elastic thread gather okay through 4 layers of quilter’s cotton fabric??

    5. Emily says:

      It’s perfect! :) What a great idea to keep the collar. It’s surprised me a few times how well adult collars fit my 2 1/2 year old. :) PS LOVE these pictures! And if you find a way to bottle up little kid energy, please share!!

    6. Oh this is so cute — and it looks darling with those glittery gold flats :) It would be fun in the summer, too, with a ribbon sash. Fantastic refashion!

    7. Amy says:

      That is adorable!! turned out perfect.

    8. Linda says:

      Love this post! What an awesome refashion! Seriously, so cute!

    9. Libby K says:

      I don’t know what I love more-Penelope’s face in the first picture or the dress. both just make me smile so wide. great jorb, as usual…

    10. oh melissa!! these are the most darling pics of P!! she’s killing me with her cute faces … and as always, great re-fashion. those glitter shoes sure turned out too … XO

    11. Miss B. says:

      Can Penelope be any cuter? My goodness and those shoes! I need them in an adult size. Great ‘after’ btw, but you never disappoint.

    12. ITS FABULOUS! She looks adorable! What a great idea!

    13. Deb says:

      Gosh you inspire me! This is amazing. So sweet. After finding your blog Im now veiwing op shop ‘treasures’ with new eyes and Ive made a bit of a pile of things to alter up a bit. You are awesome inspiration!

    14. Bellesme says:

      Its so cute! And I saw her black dress pictures, and she looks ADORABLE!

    15. zhing says:

      such a cute little girl! she is so natural in front of the camera! and your refashion is absolutely darling!

    16. Christy says:

      Yep, it was definitely meant to be a little girl’s dress!

    17. That dress is so cute, and Penelope is even cuter!! I love coming to your blog for inspiration…it always makes me wish I had a sewing machine! :) Hope that your moving preparations are going well! Xo, Katie

    18. This is so lovely and inspiring. Thanks

    19. Meghan says:

      It’s a great refashion, but I think my favorite part is in the video Penelope proclaiming, in her little girl voice, “I’m so tired” repeatedly as she demonstrates just how not tired she is. So funny.

    20. Heidi says:

      What a cute dress and Penelope! She’s getting so big!

    21. Could this dress be any cuter? I love it!

    22. Katie says:

      Love this fun little dress! I made one for my little girl this morning and it was such a quick sew that it was ready in time for church! Thanks so much for the step by step how-to. It was really helpful. I foresee more of these little dresses in our future. :)

      Oh, and I did snap a couple pictures of the before and after. I’ll have them up on my blog (with a link to your post, of course) within the next week or so.

      Thanks again!

    23. Katie says:

      Love this little dress! I made one for my daughter this morning and it was a quick enough sew that it was ready in time for her to wear it to church! Thanks so much for your helpful tips and instructions! I snapped a few before and after pictures. I should have them up on my blog (with a link to your post) within the next week or so.

      Thanks again! :)

    24. Katie says:

      Agh! Sorry, it said the comment didn’t go through and now I see it’s posted twice. Bah.

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