Refashioned: Color Blocked Shirt Dress


Well hello there! It’s been strange not to spend much time on the blog. Things are wrapping up with the calligraphy class, so I spent some time today and yesterday refashioning a dress.

I found this plain t-shirt dress at the thrift store for $2. I liked it’s simple shape and the details on the sleeves. It was an XL and just a tad too short for me. Inspired by Liz’s “Taking it Out” tailoring inspiration, I thought it’d be great to make a color blocked dress. Not wanting to waste the perfectly professional hem on the bottom of the dress, I decided a block at the top would be in order.

I had some black floral fabric from JoAnn’s clearance, that coordinated perfectly. It’s a synthetic crepe fabric. It has about the same amount of sheen as the jersey, so it looks like it was meant to be there. 

The original dress had a left breast pocket that I unpicked and applied over the color block. I feel like it integrates the two fabrics since it overlaps both of them.

I made the block in the back lower than the block on the right. It adds a bit of asymmetry, which is a little fun.

Since the blocked fabric is a woven, I wasn’t sure if it would fit over my head without a zipper, but it does. Barely. The dress is loosely tailored to the body, so if I decide that I want to make it more tailored, I’ll be adding an exposed zipper in the back. I have a sage vintage zipper that would match the floral print perfectly.

I’m really happy with the results! Color blocking gave the hem another 5 inches, which will make this my go-to dress for chasing after the kiddos in the spring and summer.

Outfit Details

  • dress: thrifted & refashioned
  • belt: thrifted
  • shoes: thrifted BCBG
Wet hair is totally the next new thing. Just kidding.
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    1. Amy says:

      You are too cute for words!
      Thanks for the great ideas. Wish I could take a calligraphy class.

    2. Ana says:

      This project came out so beautiful! I saw the Instagram picture of the before and the fabric next to it yesterday and thought that the floral fabric would go in the place of the sleeves, but this is sooo much better than that. I don’t have any kids, but I would still live in something like this come spring and summer if I could. :) Happy Friday!

    3. Miranda says:

      You’re right, that print looks made for that dress! I love the idea of adding to the middle of a dress to lengthen, rather than just the bottom. Hmmm. Got my wheels turning!

    4. christine says:

      great idea. i love how the dress turned out, and it fits perfectly. just took out my new sewing machine out of the box. hopefully i will be able to do some refashioning to my recent thrift finds :)

    5. Heidi says:

      The pocket really pulls it all together. I think an exposed zipper would look awesome!

    6. phil says:

      i prefer after :-) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    7. Susanna says:

      Good job! Looks very nice on you!!

    8. AmberLee says:

      i’m so inspired. it looks adorable.

      and thank you for including all the nitty gritty sewing insights for those of us who totally need them!

    9. Love this!
      Just came home from my favorite thrift store….always so many ideas afterwards…anyways, your dress is brilliant.

    10. Bonnie says:

      I love it! I have a jersey maxi dress I made I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with that I like better and was thinking of turning the bottom into a maxi skirt and try and make a top but since I like my tops longer this will be perfect to lengthen it and still look great! Thank you dear! Your blog is so inspiring!

    11. Deepa says:

      Very cute! I have a gray t-shirt dress with similar sleeve details and I’ve begun to find it a bit blah… you’ve provided some great inspiration!

    12. marissa says:

      ok, wow, who knew that you could take such a plain black tee and turn it into a piece of art?! and your wet hair photos are sassy. :)

    13. so smart! This looks great! I would never have thought of doing that! But then again I am afraid of knit fabric. Haha

    14. Marisa says:

      I wish we had thrift stores here. I love what you do with your clothes! And this dress in particular looks great, I love that you placed the pocket over both fabrics, it really pulls it together.

    15. Kathy says:

      Fabulous job. I wouldnt have thought of putting the additonal fabric where you did but it looks fantastic.

    16. […] dresS: thrifted + refashioned […]

    17. anonymous says:

      in the after picture you look a bit like olivia wilde, hahah :) you’re so pretty, and your family is beautiful too <3

    18. […] Color-Blocked Dress Refashion – Got a too-short, frumpy dress in your closet? Get classy with this color-blocking method. […]

    19. […] Color-Blocked Dress Refashion – Got a too-short, frumpy dress in your closet? Get classy with this color-blocking method. […]

    20. Unique says:

      Good job. keep it up

    21. I love this dress…wondering if it could be made from two old t-shirts from a thrift store…I think I will give this a try.

    22. Sana Bharani says:

      I loved the idea of adding a printed fabric to add length to plain dress.

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