My cute new upcycled dress


I picked up this cute single duvet cover from a thrift store for $5. The minute I saw it, I developed a plan for it. The duvet cover is black cotton with pastel shade flowers and leaves. I chose to use the cover for the main part of this sun dress. For the shoulders and cummerbund I wanted a fabric that had strength and support and was complementary in colour. I found some scrappy grey suede/tweed look upholstery fabric and went with that. In hindsight this move was a logistical nightmare and I may think twice before committing to using such a difficult fabric for any future projects – just trying to feed it through the machine and to get it to be flexible enough to manipulate was near impossible, but I am not a quitter and so persevered…………..


I found this cute pattern also in a thrift store for 0.20cents and it was complete and uncut – SCORE!! Unfortunately I saw on the packet it was a SZ18 –24 I took it home anyway because it was too cute to leave in the shop, for just 0.20cents I could take a risk. I was thinking I could at least try and redraw the pattern and attempt to derive something similar. I spent months mulling over different methods on how I was going to attempt this and  I finally checked the measurements on the back of the packet – I should have done this to begin with (another ‘in hindsight’ moment). It turns out the pattern in not in NZ sizing so 18 is actually a 12-14. BRILLIANT!!!!


It took me an age to get this dress finished. I started this dress over a month ago but then got posted in my new job so I was unable to find the time to finish it. This weekend I was rearranging furniture to accommodate my new desk and spent a lot of time in my sewing room as a result, so by Sunday I was a bit sick of seeing this unfinished dress on my mannequin so I had to do something about it.

I am relieved it is finished and I am pleased with the results. I have a new appreciation for the difficulty of Vogue patterns but I am most ecstatic about the new tips and tricks I have picked up as a result of this pattern.


Yes that’s right all that practice has finally paid off. I wouldn’t say the ZIPPER and I are friends just yet, but we are getting there. I also learnt the French seam technique. Click here for more information on French seams. My new favourite technique has to be the French seam. So tidy and efficient and such a beautiful finish, if you don’t own an overlocker or are interested in couture or lingerie techniques you need to look up this technique – it is super easy to execute and is a technique you can use in all of your sewing projects.

Thanks for visiting here are some pictures of my dress on a poorly adjusted dress form……. But you get the gist.




13 thoughts on “My cute new upcycled dress

    • Hi, I do a bit of both. I have a very basic learners sewing machine and an overlocker. I generally use my machines in most of my sewing projects. However, there are tricky little bits that I will hand sew. For example I hand stitch all the linings into my coats, and I also hand sew all the hand painted embellishments onto wallets and bags. I think it’s really a case of how much time do you have and what method are you most comfortable with.



  1. Love this dress and so many of your other creations as well! I do agree with the other bloggers, the dress form/mannequin you use to display your work does not do your work justice and you should find a friend to model your creations.


    • Yeah, I wish my husband knew how to operate a camera then I would model these things myself – as they are made for me and my proportions, makes sense.. The dress form I have is a funny shape, has the waist in the wrong place and isn’t adjustable so it is a little blah – good only for pinning the pieces together and intial stages of sewing….. My mum recently gave me a camera tripod that’s a complicated piece of kit – I will try and work it out and we’ll see where that takes us. Thanks so much for the feedback though it’s great to get good suggestions!!


  2. I love the contrast of the flowery fabric and the tweedy stuff. It was worth persevering with. You need to find a friend to model your creations for your photos.


  3. Stunning dress. And you’ll use the pattern over and over, I’m sure, because people will want to order from you! I love French seams, too, but generally I don’t bother because I am too lazy and like immediate results. I haven’t made a garment for myself for I don’t know how many years, but I used to love sewing. Now I just do small things, and alterations…. You are really clever. 🙂


    • Sadly I’m guilty of this too. My last garment called for a French seam and I didn’t do it because I just didn’t feel like it.

      PepperMia, I love how creative you are. It’s inspiring to see all the things you can do with what most people have a tendency to just throw away once they’re done using it.


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