DIY: From Dress to Peplum

My "crafting style" is all about practicality. I can appreciate the craftsmanship and hard work that goes into decorative crafts (and occasionally I will dabble in them when it comes to home decor), but I much prefer to make things that are functional, especially wearable DIYs. That's why I end up sewing infinity scarves; not only are they incredibly easy and quick to make, but I can wear them year-round and feel proud of my "craftiness." I don't usually take risks when it comes to thrift store refashions, but I recently stumbled across an incredibly easy fix that has, upon transformation, become a staple in my wardrobe.

During one of my many trips to Goodwill, I came across this striped Forever 21 cotton dress. I immediately saw its babydoll empire waist and incredibly short skirt and almost pushed past it on the rack. I took one more glance at the horizontal stripes and the waist placement and thought, "What the heck?" and scurried off to the dressing rooms with it.

Transform a too short cotton dress into a flattering peplumAre my eyes even open?  Ohh the beauty of "before" pictures.

I was absolutely spot on about it's inappropriate length and fit, but I was also correct in thinking it would be an easy refashion into a peplum top. For under $5 and in less than 20 minutes, I managed to DIY a great new top.

It may seem just as easy as cutting the bottom and calling it a day, but here are a few tips when it comes to shortening any top, especially into a peplum.

Tips for Refashioning a Dress into a Peplum

  • Try it on first and mark where you want your ideal length to be. Give yourself several inches longer than that as an amble starting place. Seriously. You can always cut more, but you can't get the length back.
  • Before you cut, decide how you want to finish your hem. I knew I wanted to roll the hem once and sew it down, so I had to factor this into my overall length.
  • If your top has stripes or a pattern, use that as a guide when you are cutting, but remember to keep it straight across, unless you want to achieve an asymmetrical style. Consider how your peplum may have gathers or pleats.
  • Cut your length in sections; don't cut it all off at once. In between each cut, try it on again. Peplums that are on the short side can lay funny and gravitate toward the "maternity top" style rather than the "look at my tiny waist" style. Err on the side of caution and take your time.
  • If you don't have a serger, consider using a double-sided bonding tape to secure your folded hem before sewing a basic stitch across the hem. If you aren't a sewer, the tape might be a great temporary solution if you're anxious to wear it right away.
  • Be sure to keep things like pockets, zippers, and other details in mind before taking on the project. This may deter you from refashioning the vision you have in your head. You can certainly work around them, but be prepared to put in a little extra work.

Even though I took the time to cut my dress section by section, trying it on in between, I still felt like I cut it a hair too short, especially when you look at it from the back. Luckily, with a skinny belt, I don't have to worry about continually tugging it down and I love it!

Wear a skinny belt with a peplum to emphasize the waist even more

I paired this peplum with a pop of red and basic skinny jeans, rolled into ankle length. I loved this look because it incorporated all of my favorite things AND I felt awesome when I could tell people I "made" the top after I got a few compliments!

If you are not too confident about your crafting skills, try a quick refashion like this dress to peplum DIY and you'll feel confident in no time. (And don't worry if you have a few fails along the way. Just check out the last peplum I tried to make . . .)

Here's a little before and after action:

From Dress to Peplum DIY refashion


Don't forget: you can enter for a chance to win an ENTIRE new summer wardrobe thanks to a $250 LOFT giftcard I'm giving away to one lucky reader, thanks to some wonderful ladies. Read all about it here! Only a few days left to enter.

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