A vintage shift dress found at a local thrift store that I altered to create a fitted vest and skirt.
I’m a big supporter of alternatives to fast fashion, and this includes finding ways to reuse garments that have already been created, rather than buying new. This project is one of many I’m working on to demonstrate the possibilities for altering and upcycling clothing.
Vintage Shift Dress
When thrifting recently at shops around Austin, this shift dress is one of several pieces I picked up. It was too large and didn’t fit me that well, but I really liked the fabric and overall design, so the goal was to change it into something I could wear.
Instead of simply modifying the fit, I wanted to change the dress into a completely new garment, while also keeping as many of the original characteristics as possible. I immediately settled on a vest and skirt, essentially giving me two new pieces, that could be worn together or individually with other outfits.
Creating the New Garments
The process of altering the original shift dress started with cutting the shift dress to form the pieces for the vest and skirt.
For the vest, I had to alter the side seams to remove some of the fabric for a better fit.
Fortunately, the placement of the princess seams on the front was already in a great spot for me.
To adjust the shoulders and neckline, I added a small inverted box pleat.
A 1/4″ hem was created with an overlock stitch, then I folded over and top stitched it down.
For the skirt, I took in and graded out the side seams to give it a subtle a-line look.
For the waistband, I finished the hem with an overlock stitch, and then created a small casing for 1/4″ elastic.
Here’s a short video that describes the overall process:
New Vest and Skirt
I’m very happy with the way these turned out, and can’t wait to wear it during these cooler temps!