How To Make An Upcycled Dress - Easy Sewing Project | Mandy Wildman | Skillshare

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How To Make An Upcycled Dress - Easy Sewing Project

teacher avatar Mandy Wildman, Crafting a Vibrant Life

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction to Making an Upcycled Dress


    • 2.

      Choose a Top and a Skirt


    • 3.

      Choose the Style of Your Dress


    • 4.

      Let's Make Our Two Cuts


    • 5.

      Now We Sew the Top to the Skirt


    • 6.

      Hey - We Made an Upcycled Dress!


    • 7.

      OPTIONAL: Learn About the #ChopDontShop Movement


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About This Class

Are you ready to learn how to make a super easy upcycled dress?

This simple sewing project has only two cuts and one seam. There's no complicated pattern to follow. 

Even if you're a total beginner you'll be able to make yourself a really cute dress in just one hour.  

Come on - let's make you something new to wear and be eco-friendly together at the same time. 

You can do this!

Mandy Wildman

The Vibrant Crafter

Meet Your Teacher

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Mandy Wildman

Crafting a Vibrant Life


Hello, I'm Mandy.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to Making an Upcycled Dress: Hi there. My name's Mandy Wildman, and I love teaching people how to make up cycle clothing and crafts using discarded garments. Today, I'm going to show you how to make a really cute dress using repurpose clothing from your closet. Why buy something new when you can make you solve a one of a kind dress that fits you perfectly? You don't have to be any kind of an expert. If you're an absolute beginner, you can do this. All you'll need is a flat surface, some sharp scissors, a sewing machine that does a straight and his exact stitch. Nothing fancy and some thread. You can make this dress in ASL. It'll is an hour, but it might take a bit longer the first time once you've made one of these simple and ICO friendly dresses, I think you'll be hooked. Let's get started 2. Choose a Top and a Skirt: so the first thing we're going to do is choose to garments to work with. Here are the rules for choosing the garments Number one. Choose a top that fits you find but no longer serves you. Maybe it's too short for you now or it's out of style. Or maybe there's a rip or a stain on it near the bottom where we can chop it off or you're just really excited to see what we can make today. It's up to you, but it just needs to fit you across the shoulders and the bus. That's important number to choose. A skirt that you would never wear is a skirt anymore. It doesn't have to fit at the waist. We're gonna chop some off the top will make it fit. But a number three. This is important. The skirt part must be wider than the bottom of your top. If you see what I mean. It's a really good idea to use stretchy fabric like sort of T shirt, fabric or jersey fabric, those kinds of tops that are kind of stretchy and even the skirt could be stretchy, but it doesn't have to be, but it's kind of important that the top is stretchy on. I'm going to show you why. But first, I wanted to give you some examples of different possibilities and ideas of different garments that you could put together. I really want you to get an idea of how much fun it is to choose different clothing and try different ways of putting them together. You can actually mix and match them and spend some time just really letting your imagination run wild. And you'd be surprised at how great things look when you put them together in different ways that you hadn't thought off before. Next, we're going to work on choosing the style of your dress. 3. Choose the Style of Your Dress: The next thing we're going to do is to choose where we're going to cut the top. You're going to have some options here, and the choice you make is going to be completely personal. You may be the kind of person who feels really comfortable with address. That sort of starts under the bust. Or you may prefer something that just hits you right exactly at the waist. Some people prefer dresses that are cut above the bust, and there are even other choices, like a drop waist. Here's some examples of dresses that I've made just using a top and a skirt. He is an example of address where the cut isn't the waistline. I used a soft sweater for the top actually, and soft Josie fabric for the skirt. I love to name my clothes, and this one's called softly whispering I love you, this next dress I called Rebel Butterfly and I really love the colors in it. As you can see, it's a little bit of a mix between under the bust and a high waist line. With this dress, I decided to do a bit of a drop waist. I called it run to me, and it's really a gorgeous piece. This is one of those dresses that I really hope never sells because I absolutely love It is a little bit bake for me, but I just fell in love with that. I called it Toffee Apple, and it's made with a a sort of a funky kind of a sweat ary top and a really cool old skirt that was torn at the top. And I was able to put them together and make address. This is when I finished recently. It's an example of an above the bust cut. I coded detained because of the pink flowers this one's called The Lion Sleeps Tonight on. I really dropped the waste low, and it gave it a sort of a 1930 19 twenties 19 thirties look and I really love it. Next, we're going to make our two cuts 4. Let's Make Our Two Cuts: Let's make our two cuts. I really have a lot of fun choosing the pieces I'm gonna work with. So what about here is a top? And it's from my my boutique when I had my shop, which will tell you about in another video. And it's a one X so it's gonna be too big for me, but it's gonna fit some beautiful woman. I can't wait to see you ever had a little summer dress? So it goes like this, but the back part pooches out the elastic old just wants out and you're just fed up with it . But you just love the fabric and you want to do something with it. Here's what we're gonna do. This is gonna be the easiest thing you've ever done because you were gonna make a little dress. I'm gonna make a dress that's a a size one x to sort of two X because really wants you. So this way I like to make clothing that stretchy and comfortable, but still looks pretty sexy on. So we are going to cut the bottom of this shirt right under where the bus would go. I'm gonna show you how we do it. So the first thing I'm gonna do is cut this tag off because actually, I'm gonna bite it off. Don't watch. Don't do what I do. Do as I tell you. All right, so here we go. I'm gonna leave this over here for a minute. I'm here. I'm gonna show you how I judge on this is very technical, folks. Not going to show you how I judge where I'm going to cut this top on this top has got this little decorative piece on it. That sort of is gathered under the bust. I really like that because it kind of echoes or matches. Compliments, compliments, the sleeves. I'm not gonna do anything with the sleeves at all for this project. So here's how I judge it. I kind of wing it. I wing it. I want you to learn how to do this, Okay? We don't need lots of patterns. We don't need lots of instructions. You were going to go. I'm going to go because I've got this bit here on. I wanna have plenty to so on to the bottom of the skirt. I'm going to go right around about here. Yep. Right around about here. Do I have a tape measure handy? No, I don't. I'm just going to guess. And I like to use my shears because when you're using Jersey fabric, it can come get sort of get unraveling, or really, I've never noticed that has never really gotten unraveling for me. But anyway, use my trustees years because I just love that zigzag e shape they give me. And here ago. Watch this. I want you to be fearless. Do you understand me? Here we go. Now you can follow the pattern. I don't care what happens here, and look here. You know, one thing I didn't do that you should do is make sure that the front on the back of sort of matched up. But again, I promise you it's not going to really matter. But, you know, I kind of like things to be Oh, you know, a little bit. Ah, proper, if you will. If I'm teaching a video. Okay, so here's how easy this is. Look, you fold this part over like this, right? And you're going to just cut to that approximate length. Oh, deary me. This is complicated. Not too tall, so we're gonna carry this over to the other side. And if it's not even, we're not going to shoot ourselves. We're not going to go into the Guinness Book of Fame or shame about our sewing techniques. Because you know what? It's gonna look great. You won't notice you will not notice. And I just want you to get very, very comfortable with chopping clothing. Okay, so now we are left with this. Okay, Lets just measure the size just to see if I was at all accurate. So here's the theme Seem that goes underneath the armpit here and here is where we cut to and gush. Look at that. Pretty even. You'll get used to it and you'll be able to do this. Okay, so we've done the top. That's the top part done going to set that aside. This lovely piece here is going to go on a different project, another project that I don't know what it's gonna be, but it's going to be something. So in the end, what I decided to do with this piece because of the little gathered part here, I'm just going to make it slightly higher in the front and lower in the back. So you get that high, low effect and how you do this is you just get a crayon More white pencil was something like this. You leave yourself some guidelines. So I folded. This is the front, and I folded in half the other way. Did you see this? This is the back over here. We want the back to stay the same length. So here's what we're gonna dio We're just gonna chop, You know, may I like to chop chump don't shop and we're just gonna Okay, So this was the lovely summer summery dress with the stretched out, elastic smoking elastic at the back. It doesn't really look any good anymore. And the straps rule one people. I'm still gonna use it. I'll have used it for something else. Do not get me wrong. I'll use it. So here. I'm gonna flatten it out as much as possible so that you can see it is very pretty. And there's all kinds of things you can do with this top part. So don't despair. Don't say Oh, no, we're cutting up something really pretty. It is pretty, but it's not. It doesn't fit anymore. it's it swamped out. It's stretched out. So here I'm here we go. And you can just sort of cut this anywhere. Really, This is a very long dress. So it's gonna make a long dress, a maxi dress, and I think that's gonna be cool. So I'm just going to do, like, right here and again. Not very. Doesn't have be accurate. You have got to just experience what it feels like. Freedom of being able to chop clothing like this. I never used to be able to do this, because goodness gracious, but, um, now they do not because I was raised in England. They don't consider cutting your clothes to be a crime or an active, some kind of an illness. Now it's called creativity. Thank goodness for that. All right, so here we go. We've got this top. We're gonna use that for something else. Don't worry. And now we've got a skirt. But I just wanted to show you one more thing about this. We got this lovely, beautiful skirt, but underneath, let's check it out. We're gonna look under the skirt. People, turn your head if you can't handle it. Well, here's one thing I want to show you why we're in the process. So I got this at the thrift store, and it's tourney down here. And somebody I hope you can see this. Somebody actually stapled it. It's got a staple in it. Somebody stable did it because nobody taught them how to sew. And I think that's a crime that somebody discarded this dress. Well, it was stretched out, but that they couldn't figure out how to sew this back on. I'll show you that as we go along. It's really easy. But what I was showing you was this. Do you see this? This is a little sort of cotton soft petticoat that goes under the A slip. You call it that goes underneath the skirt. Well, I'm going to use this for something else. Oh, yeah. We don't waste a thing around here. Some just gonna put this to one side. And now we've got the skirt. We know that we've got that. We got the tag. Let's throw that away. Um, yeah, when I used to have stuff at my shop, if I noticed that, you know, it was thorn or not. Quite. Ah, in a sellable condition It just meant that I could use clothing for sewing, so yea. All right, So here's the skirt. Here's the top part of this skirt. I'm gonna bring the top back now on what we're going to do. You know what we're going to do because you've already guessed, right? We're going to do this. We're going to. So the top to the skirt. Well, how are we gonna do that? Because, like, their different wits, Right? You see this? They're different wits. They're actually pretty close, but still this goat sort of bigger. You know what we're going to do? We're going to take this top, and we're going to stretch it to the length to the width of the skirt like this, and we're gonna So the two together now, I've just noticed a stain right here. I don't like that. I'll either get rid of the stain, which I'll show you in another video how to do that or I'll just go down below like that, and so them like this. But how again? How am I gonna do it? Well, it is pretty easy. I'm gonna get on the sewing machine. I'm gonna pin it. But I'm actually gonna stretch the top because the top is stretchy. Oh, yea. Hooray for Jersey knit, which you might as well just say T shirt fabric. Hooray! Hooray! So the skirt is cotton, me cutting fabric. But I'm going to do like this, and then it's going to go like that and like this and like that, and like that, and like this. And this thing is gonna be Johnny in the next lesson will pin the top in the skirt together . 5. Now We Sew the Top to the Skirt: Now it's time for the exciting part we're going to so the top to the skirt. So you're going to use a straight stitch? Very simple. Just a regular normal straight stitch. So do afford and the backwoods stitch when you first start. Now you've got your garments pin together. So what? All you're going to do is stretch the underneath garment. In other words, the stretchy top. You're going to stretch that so that the skirt part fits the top. Theo trick is to keep both garments smooth and unwrinkled and just to go bit by bit. So basically what I did is I went ahead and trimmed the skirt part all the way down to the next ruffle because there's a nice surged edge there on. What I'm doing now is I've got the pin. The next pin. I started the side pin. I've got the next pin, noticed how big this is for the T shirt or the I should say how big the skirt is compared to the top. I am stretching the top like mad and letting the skirt lay on there so that I can take up much of the skirt as I can in order to fit it to the top. You see that? To see how it's actually sort of working. Stretch gently. I mean, don't break the needle. Keep everything kind of smooth here. Look how it worked beautifully. And now we're up to the first pin and it fits just perfectly. So I just want to show you that Here we go. We keep sewing like mad. We take out the pin and we move to the next segment. We're going to do exactly the same thing in the next segment. So we pull, stretch and stitch, stretch and stitch, turn your garment a little bit so that it works nice and easily with skirt and stretches Way. Here we go. We're coming toward lost pin here. Look how that worked out. It just fits. That's just how it works. The next thing I want to show you is that after you've sown the skirt and the top together , we're gonna do a zigzag stitch all the way around on the inside just to give this piece some stability when you're wearing it. So you're gonna follow the stitch line here, zigzag away. Final thing we're going to do is We're gonna put one of my tanks here over the top of the existing tag because now we've changed it. We made it better, but it was pretty good in the first place. We don't want to be disrespectful to the original designer, so sometimes I cut off the tag. But if it's like this, I'll just so right on top of it. And we saved a couple of pieces from going in the landfill here. Now you've got a brand new garment ready for some lucky, beautiful lady to work. And yea, we're done. Let's go and try on our new dress. 6. Hey - We Made an Upcycled Dress!: I am so thrilled with how this project turned out, and I think you'll agree that it looks really, really cute. It's a great way to use two pieces of clothing that you might wear you might not wear in the future. You put them together, you get that result. I really hope you enjoyed this course. And if you did feel free to reach out to me on YouTube or my blawg or pinch arrest or Instagram and let me know what other courses you'd like me to make. Take care and see you next time. Bye. 7. OPTIONAL: Learn About the #ChopDontShop Movement: charmy colors. You show me colors you Hi, I'm Mandy Wildman. And as you may know, I make up cycle clothing and craps using reclaimed garments. Today I want to talk to you about doing the same thing. I want to encourage you. In fact, even urge you to start making things like clothing, crafts, home furnishings, toys, using up cycle clothing. I'm gonna give you three reasons. Here's reason. Number one fashion kills. Let me explain. So the big clothing companies, the big mart kind of companies they buy the clothing from overseas manufacturers in which their garment workers toil ridiculously long hours in incredibly dangerous and unhealthy environments, often with Children at their feet. These companies have proven that they do not care. Reason Number two. It's great therapy, I can promise you. The diving into a creative project for me anyway, has been the only thing that's really given me a sustainable long term solution, a drug free solution to candling those times when I feel like less than when I feel like I just can't get it right. And so I really encourage you to do that. Whatever it is that you do, that that's creative whatever makes your heart sing. I really encourage you to do that. And if it has anything at all to do with making up cycle clothing and crafts, then stick around because clearly we belong to the same tribe. Okay, reason number three to make or buy up cycle clothing and craps is this. Oh, honey, you are going to feel and look fabulous. Your new up cycled clothing is going to fit you. It's going to feel good on you. It's going to be comfortable, cause that's how you made it. And I'll show you how it's going to be the color that you want, the style that you want and guess what? No other woman on this planet is going to be walking around wearing the same outfit that you're wearing. But I will tell you this because it happens to my customers and to me. People will stop you in the supermarket and say, Where did you get that outfit? And that's your opportunity to handle a card and say I made it or I got it here. And don't worry if you feel like you can't so there's a lot of great tutorials out there that will show you how to easily make up cycle clothing. So let's talk about the solution. Most people don't know where their clothing comes from, and if they knew, they would be willing to do something about it. And that's why I'm launching the chop. Don't shop movement The chop don't shop. Movement encourages you to do one or all of the following three things. Number one. Learn how to refashion your own wardrobe so that it feels new and exciting to you. Number. To find every fashion designer. You can work with his tons of them out there. You'll find them on, etc. Facebook, their own websites and number three if you want to buy retail and it's totally okay. No judgment here by from clothing brands that have proven they care about the environment, that they are transparent about where they source their clothing from and they are out there. Please use the hashtag chop. Don't shop and share it as far and wide as you can. Okay, this is corny, but yes, together we can make a difference again. I'm Mandy Wildman, and this is the vibrant Crafter channel. I love you guys