I have a weakness for beautiful embroidery, which explains why I picked up this humongous muumuu dress at the thrift store for $5. I love the distressed embroidery against the washed-out denim, and the huge size gave me plenty of fabric to play with. I briefly thought about remaking the muumuu into a better fitting dress, but ever since I had my kid, I don’t wear dresses as much as I used to. Roughhousing in a dress with a 4 year old boy is hard, so I decided to upcycle the muumuu into a peplum top.
Here’s a close up of the embroidery, which extends far into the side. I didn’t want any darts interrupting the design, so I refashioned the muumuu dress into a loose tunic top with no darts. I added the peplum for a playful touch.
Here’s a quick quick summary of this muumuu refashion:
- Chop the muumuu at the midriff
- Reshape the armholes and sides
- Reshape the sleeves
- Attach sleeves and sew the sides of the shirt
- Cut off the bottom of the skirt and gather it for the peplum
- Attach peplum to the bottom of the shirt
Step 1: Chop off the muumuu at the midriff
I wanted a loose, blousy look, so I chopped the muumuu at the midriff.
Step 2: Reshape armholes and sides
Large dresses tend to have wide shoulders. To make this dress fit my small frame, I used my Christine Haynes Emery dress pattern to reshape the armholes and bring in the shoulders about an inch on both sides.
For the sides, I used an old tunic with no darts as my pattern.
This is what the bodice looks like when it’s all cut out.
Step 3: Reshape the sleeves
I reshaped the sleeves using the same Christine Haynes Emery dress pattern. I’m a lazy sewer and kept the original finished hem of the sleeves.
Step 4: Attach sleeves and sew the sides of the shirt
I attached the sleeves using the flat method I learned from Dana over at MadeEveryDay. In my middle school home-ec class, I was taught to sew the sleeves separately and then insert them into the armhole. I found this technique tricky and often ended up with pleats at the top of my sleeves. So annoying! After reading Dana’s tutorial and learning to sew sleeves flat, I now sew perfect, pleat-less sleeves.
After attaching the sleeves, I sewed the sides of the top. I started at the sleeves, sewed down to the armpit and then down the sides.
Step 5: Cut off the bottom of the skirt and gather it for the peplum
Cut off the bottom 11″ inches of the dress to make the peplum. Sew 3 rows of gathering stitches and pull until it’s the same size as the bottom of the bodice.
Step 6: Attach peplum to the bottom of the shirt
With right sides together, sew the gathered peplum to the bottom of the bodice.
Ta da, finished top. I was able to preserve the pretty embroidery by omitting the darts. It meant the top would have to be slightly loose to easily pull on and off, but I don’t mind. I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but everything has shifted to my waist, which means I can’t wear tight little tops anymore. Sigh.
Here’s a side view. This top reminds me of the clothes I see on Anthro but without the high sticker price. After refashioning and upcycling for the past year, it’s impossible for me to justify paying full retail price.
Did you enjoy this refashion? If so, please share with all your friends and spread the word about refashioning. It’s a great way to build your wardrobe on the cheap and save old clothes from landfills. Sustainable fashion can be fun and affordable. What you make is uniquely yours. I promise you no one will ever show up wear the same outfit you’re wearing.
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