How to Refashion an old Dress into a Stylish Jacket

How to Refashion a Button Through Dress into a Stylish Jacket

Do you have an old button through dress that you are never choosing to wear? If the style is simple enough it is easy to transform it into a lightweight jacket that is perfect for spring and summer.

By repurposing your dress into a jacket, you not only save money but also contribute to sustainable fashion by reducing textile waste. It’s a win-win situation!

It’s time for another Do It Over Designers Challenge, when I join a group of creative bloggers to bring a collection of craft projects where we all take something old and “do it over”. Sometimes we have a theme for this challenge and this month it’s FABRIC, so I have a perfect opportunity to show you how to “do over” an old dress and turn it into a cute jacket.

I bought this orange linen button through dress in a charity shop over a year ago. It was a little larger on me but I originally planned to just take it in a little and wear it as a dress. As you can see it has a round neck, drop shoulder sleeves, a very long wrap around tie belt with 2 large metal eyelets. The metal eyelets were quite scuffed but the main issue with them is how cold they felt on my stomach when I wore the dress - not ideal!

Honestly it looked a bit like a sack of potatoes on. I thought I had a photo of me in it but sadly (or happily, depending in how vain I’m feeling!) I must have deleted it by mistake.

Anyway, the long and the short of is, that after a year in my wardrobe unworn I decided this button through dress was perfect for a refashion project, I had nothing to lose after all. The idea of making a co-ord of some sort, a jacket and maybe a skirt swan around in my head for a while. The jacket turned out to be a pretty simple transformation, let me show you how:

What kind of dress is suitable for refashioning into a jacket?

Ideally you are looking to transform a button through dress made from a woven fabric that has a little bit of weight to it. A linen like my dress, a denim or heavy weight cotton would also work well. Although you could make a very floaty jacket with a light weight dress if that is what you have. Ideally your dress will have a self tie belt like mine did but if it doesn’t you could cut a long strip from the bottom hem of the dress instead or even use a length of contrast fabric. Or you could cut the jacket a little longer and just stitch a simple hem.

How to make a jacket from a dress

First let me apologise for the changes in apparent colour of this dress/jacket in these tutorial photos. Crafting in the UK in winter means not a lot of daylight so sewing under artificial light is unavoidable and it really messed with this orange linen.

The basic idea is that we are cutting the dress in half at waist level then reattaching the tie belt to finish the bottom edge in place of a hem.

Start by putting your dress on and use a safety pin to mark where your waist is. Lay your dress out flat (take your time doing this so it is completely smooth and even) and then cut straight across at the point where you marked. Because my dress had the large eyelets exactly on my waist I didn’t need to mark the waistline and I simple cut above and below the eyelets to remove them.

Measure all around the bottom of your “jacket” and add 2 inches. Cut the belt to this length and then using a seam ripper undo the seam on one side of the belt.

Side the bottom of the jacket inside the open belt between the 2 layers and pin, pin, pin it into place. Lots of pins will hold it securely.

To secure the ends at the front edge neatly:

Because we’ve pinned the tie round the bottom of the jacket leaving an inch overhanging at both ends, we now need to tidy up the ends.

Mark a straight line down where you can feel the edge of the jacket using an air or water erasable fabric pen.

Remove a few pins so you can access the end of the tie belt. If your pen line has gone right through the fabric enough to see it fantastic! If it hasn’t then you’ll have to mark it on the other side of the fabric too. Fold the tie belt the other way so the right sides are together. Pin and then stitch along the line you have marked. Trim any excess seam allowance, clip the corner and then fold back so the right side is out.

Pin the old tie belt back in place. The end of the belt fabric should match the edge of the jacket exactly now. Stitch into place all the way round.

Done! A lovely little lightweight cropped jacket.

For years I didn’t like cropped tops and jackets. I thought I needed to wear long tops to keep my middle warm! But actually over a dress, jumpsuit or with a tucked in top underneath I am now enjoying wearing more cropped things. They feel quite flattering.
Where do you stand on the cropped tops v longer lengths debate?

Do you have an old dress that could be given a new lease of life by refashioning it into a jacket?

Now let’s check out the other creative FABRIC themed projects from the other Do It Over Designers: