Changing Your Clothes

Shopping, Sewing, Upcycling, Repairing: Make the most of your clothes!

Thrift-Shop Thursday: Top Off a Dress!


A couple of weeks ago, following my archaeologist daughter’s example, I started digging through a lot of old stuff. Specifically, garments that for various reasons I didn’t wear any more, but was curiously loath to discard. All right, maybe what I uncovered wasn’t as exciting as King Tut’s tomb, but a certain pattern did come to light: I found 5 different tops with nothing wrong with them at all— except their length. Yes, each one hovered just below my waistline, meaning they would ride up whenever I, well, moved. Not being 4 years old, I didn’t think midriff-baring would be cute, which I assume is why all 5 tops ended up in the same bag, lurking in shame in the back of my closet. What can I do with them?

A while back, I think during a phase when I was intrigued by various dresses-that-look-like-separates on the market, I remember thinking maybe I could come up with my own version, using some of these too-short tops. So when I discovered this beautiful jade-green silk/viscose knit top, I thought it was the perfect candidate.

Jade silk-blend knit top

Jade silk-blend knit thrift-shop top. It’s just a little too short on me to wear without fear of midriff-baring.

Since I started working on this project at the same time as I was creating my ORD travel wardrobe, I had that color palette in my head as I dug through another bag of castaway clothes for a suitable skirt. Lo and behold, I found two— two identical skirts, one black, the other a kind of steely, smoky teal blue— that I thought looked amazing with the jade top:

Skirts plus top

Skirts plus top equals… dress? Maybe with some tweaking.

Here’s what I’m thinking (I assume you were wondering): The jade top is a fairly substantial weight, definitely heavier than one of these lightweight cotton/rayon knit skirts, so maybe I can layer the two skirts, roughly equaling the weight of the top. However, looking at them laid out with the top, I feel like the proportions are a bit dumpy with these long skirts; what if I recut them to create a high-low hemline? With the black skirt layered under the teal one, this would mean the black would show a bit, which I think would be fun and interesting.

I’ll be bringing you all the details, plus a tutorial, on the next Thrift-Shop Thursday, but for now, here’s what my mock-up version is looking like, with the proposed high-low hemline, and with my chartreuse silk georgette scarf (which I made for my ORD travel wardrobe) used as a sash:

Top/skirt dress mock-up

Top/skirt dress mock-up. Laying out the high-low hemline like this shows me the effect of layering the black skirt underneath, slightly shorter than the outside layer. And I love what the chartreuse sash with these colors!

I hope this will inspire you to do some excavation through your own stash of rejects (it’s not just me that has one, is it?)— who knows what you might find? Try some combinations of tops and skirts (or just use the skirt portion of a dress in combination with a different top), and have them ready for my complete tutorial, coming in two weeks on July 18, right here on Thrift-Shop Thursday!

Author: Colormusing

I'm a writer, color palette creator, and designer of fashion, lingerie, graphics, knitwear patterns, and yarn.

2 thoughts on “Thrift-Shop Thursday: Top Off a Dress!

  1. Pingback: Thrift-Shop Thursday: Top Off a Dress Tutorial | Changing Your Clothes

  2. Pingback: Don’t Be Cool | America: From the Front Porch

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