This is one of the easiest dresses I have ever made on my serger! Don’t despair if you do not have a serger you can use your sewing machine with the zig zag stitch and it will work fine.  Here is how I did it…..

Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

First I went to my local thrift store in search of plus size sweaters, knits and thermal knits.


I found some good ones!

Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

My first attempt at this project was a big flop. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much experience with sewing you have, you can still have failures. I think of them as learning experiences. Below is my first quick upcycle that did not work out. I learned here that the sweater knits get pushed around and become uneven in my serger. They need to be baste stitched for color blocking to keep all the seams meeting where you want them.

Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

On my second attempt I took the 3 waffle knit shirts and I laid them out and studied them. I wanted to make something that was not only fast, but easy. Within minutes sparks flew from my head and hands.

Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

Then I started cutting out my pieces. 3 shirts worked out perfect!

Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

For the bodice I was able to keep the shoulder seams intact and use the original neckline.Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

I was able to keep the original hemline in the skirt of the dress.

Tracy sews the 30 minute dress Kettering

The sleeve’s end had the original hemline from the shirt as well. This knocked off an hour or more of finishing.

My pattern, in case you were wondering, was an old dress I deconstructed from another thrift store. I sewed it all in this order.

Bodice front to skirt front at the waistline. I serged 1/4″ elastic in so it would stretch over my body but not over-stretch.

Then I repeated this: bodice back to the skirt sewing at the waistline with another strip of elastic stitched right on top of that seam with my serger.

While the sides are still open I set in the sleeves. It is much easier to set in sleeves that are open and flat.

Last I sewed down the side seams and finished my serger threads at the ends with a little black zig zag stitch on my standard sewing machine. No threads will be hanging out at my sleeve ends or the bottom of my dress.

Here are a few other quick and easy thrift store upcycles.

Behind the Scenes~

The Clash Fashion show is this weekend!

My classes are all listed too.

Thank you for reading!

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!