DIY: Creating a Two-Piece Set from One Dress

When I am thrifting or hanging out in the vintage section of a shop, I am usually being drawn to individual pieces by their fabric alone. I don't even look at silhouette or size anymore because I know that if I find a FANTASTIC fabric and the outfit doesn't look good as is, I can tweak it to make it perfect!

So, we recently unpacked the majority of the new studio, and I came across this beaut:


I really loved the buttons and the texture of this fabric when I saw it at *whatever* thrift store I had originally purchased it from. But obviously the dress just isn't doing anything for me shape wise. I did play with the thought of keeping it to wear as an open vest, but the more I thought on it, the more I realized I wanted a two-piece set!



This very first thing I did with this piece was measure from my shoulder point to my natural waist to obtain the length I wanted the top to be. 

That measurement wound up coming to 18", including seam allowance. Originally I was going to create a simple turned hem, but I later found that I needed additional material for the skirt's waistband which changed how I tackled the shirt hem. But more on that later :)

Now, I cut!



I didn't snag any images of this process, but as you can see in the image below, the underarms of the original dress were much too big for me.

However, I wanted to keep the boxy shape of the top, so I took in the under arms by a few inches and then tapered my stitch line back into the original seam, like this:


I did this for both the outer fabric and the inner lining. Below, you can see me cutting away the excess fabric from the inside of the top.




Originally I wanted to reverse the neckline of this dress so that the buttons were going up the back of both the new skirt and new top, so I went ahead and cut a scoop neck. Later, I realized that this outfit was 100% reversible! Super exciting :D



Starting from the bottom of the skirt, I measured up to get the total length of the skirt. I did it this way because I honestly wanted to be lazy and not re-do the hem. Why create more work for myself when there was already a complete hem?

Once the extra inches were off the top of the skirt,  I sewed two lines of long stitches to help gather the skirt.



By the end, I had maybe a 4 inch wide, lopsided strip of the original fabric left to work with. It wasn't enough material to create a waistband for the skirt (which I desperately needed for functional and structural purposes!), so I dove into my stash of scraps and found a beautiful piece of coated black denim material originally salvaged from the trash bins of a NY fashion company. 

To keep the entire piece looking cohesive, I decided last minute to add an identical strip of black material to the lower edge of the new top.

Lastly, I took the two remaining buttons that had been cut from the original dress and sewed them on to the black waist band on both the skirt and top.

I couldn't find the accessory (or the pedal) to my machine that does all my button holes, so I simply added a hook & eye closure to both the top and skirt to help finish off these pieces!




And this is what we ended up with:

This is View A with the buttons in the back.

And here is View B with the buttons going up the front!



Which version do you like better, View A or View B? Let us know in the comments below!

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Want to shop this new look? Check it out here!
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