Full Busted Thrifting

Let’s put it right out there-thrifting is easier if you are small. Being tall, curvy or well endowed makes thrifting harder. That is where upcycling comes in.  You may not be able to turn a skirt into a dress or find many clothing items with enough fabric to make something to fit, but sometimes you can turn one thing into another.  In the eternal sundress conundrum this fit me through the waist, but was much to small on top.  because it fit through the waist, it was easy to turn into a casual skirt in minutes. Two straight lines in straight stitch and one line of zigzag stitch. Sound more you speed? Here’s what I did.


non-knit dress that fits from the waist down,


something to write on you fabric

measuring tape or ruler


coordinating thread

hand sewing needle or sewing machine


if your dress has a metal zipper, pliers to pull the extra teeth

Sew Line one:

As this dress is fully lined the first step was to sew a line of stitches in the ditch (or seamline) at the waistline. To keep the lining from slipping out of place, Put the dress on and zip it up as far as it goes. Now carefully pin the dress and lining together below the waist. Remove the dress and pin above the waist, making sure the fabric and lining are smooth. Then sew using a straight stitch, remembering to to backstitch at the beginning and end. Remove lower pins.


Next, measure 4 1/2″ up from the waistline and mark a line.

Trim Zipper:

If you have a metal zipper pull teeth at the end of the lines, so that you will be able to cut across the zipper without damaging you scissors.

The little sticking out parts are the teeth.

When they are removed it will look like this.

For all zippers, cut the teeth away down to either your waist seam or half an inch above it. This means cutting along the zipper just behind the teeth. I chose to sew mine to the seamline knowing I would reuse the hook and eye that was at the top of the dress closure for the skirt closure. No hook and eye? You’ll want your zipper to go all the way up. Metal zippers will again require removing teeth at the lower end of the section being removed. Snip that section of zipper teeth off.

Using the line as a guide, stitch across at 3/8″ below the line. Cut on the line.

Finish the Edges:

Finish all three cut edges by sewing a zigzag stitch by machine or buttonhole or whip stitch by hand. You could stitch just the zipper edges, but your waistband will hold up better if you sew across as well.

Create a the Waistband:

Next, fold the newly finished edge down (toward the inside of the dress) 1/3 of the way to the waist seam.  Fold down again the same amount making sure that it covers the stitching line from stitching in the ditch.  Press with iron if you fabric allows.

Fold waistband down again overlapping the waist seam by 1/8″ to 1/4″. Press or pin.

From the outside of the dress, stitch in the ditch along the waist seam catching the folded edge underneath. Sew back and forth over the cut ends of plastic zippers to create a new zipper stop. For metal zippers, you will need to create a thread catch by whip stitching a few times over the zipper teeth.

Alternatively, you can use a whip stitch to sew the waistband down by hand being sure to stitch it to the seam allowance or lining only, to prevent your stitches from showing on the outside.

Press again and install hook and eye, if desired.

This entry was posted in Clothing, Sewing, Tutorials, Uncategorized, Upcycle. Bookmark the permalink.

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