Tutorial – Polka Dot Dress Upcycle

Let the Spring Collection Begin!!!

I had so much fun coming up with today’s look. As some of you may know, me and polka dots have had our run-ins in the past. But as I get older and wiser, lol, I have come to learn how to use polka dots in moderation.

This dress had many changes along the way in the design process. Initially it was going to be way more modern looking, with the polka dots going in specific design directions. But a simple zipper from Coats and Clark changed all of that. Upon seeing that zipper I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do, and it all started with a simple men’s button down…

I really went all out with that ‘Before’ picture, didn’t I?! Its like the infomercials when the before picture has no makeup on and is tired looking. Wrinkled shirt straight from the Plus Size Section on the Salvation Army – $2. Perfect!

Needless to say, I am thrilled with how this dress turned out! It just may be my favorite thing from the entire collection. Which makes it even more fun to premier on the blog.

Let me show you how you can make this fabulous upcycle…



And there you have it! The very first piece from the Spring Collection 2013. I hope you like it!!!

Speaking of Polka Dots…have you been following along with the fun Polka Dot Project Melissa from Polka Dot Chair has been hosting the past few weeks?
I happen to be guest posting there today with a tutorial for the fun headband you see in today’s post…

Be sure to hop on over to check out how you can make an easy interchangeable fabric headband in less than 5 minutes!

Thanks so much for stopping by, until next time…

Happy Sewing!

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Jess Abbott the Sewing Rabbit is the founder and creative director behind the me sew crazy blog, as well as SewSet.com, 5 & 10 Designs, GNO Events, and co-editor of STYLO. She resides in Virginia Beach with her husband and 3 children.
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  1. says

    It took me a minute to figure out there are buttons on the neck. What a cute dress. Although I think the little girl makes the dress. :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    This dress is AWESOME! And you are totally AMAZING! Your blog never ceases to amaze me. I love to sew but I don’t have the gutts to try making something from scratch like you are always doing. I love how you take a $2 bargain blouse and make it into such a pretty creation. Thanks for always sharing and inspiring!

    • says

      Oh my goodness, thank you so very much! I think it is so much fun to try to make things from upcycled items! That way if it ends up being an epic FAIL, which it does sometimes, you have only $2 invested :)

  3. says

    When I first saw your collection I couldn’t wait to see this piece unfolded and it does not disappoint!! It is my favorite; I love it. Great job and thanks for the tute!

  4. says

    oh, I love it! I do NOT have time today to make one, but now it’s ALL I want to do!!! (Hmmm, how to rearrange the schedule – we don’t REALLY need groceries or clean clothes, do we?…)

  5. says

    I love what you did with the Party Dress bodice. I’ve made the party dress but want to try your version. The zipper is the best part. I must try your tutorial!
    Mary (Hawaii)

  6. says

    Stopping over for a visit from The Polka Dot Chair! WOW! This is absolutely amazing. I am just beginning to work on up-cycle projects and could never have dreamed this up. What an inspiration! Can’t wait to see what else you will be making. Three little girls in this house means I will definitely be trying the headband too!

  7. says

    I’m dying right now! This dress is in my top 5 of everything I have seen from you! That zipper!!!! I need some of those. You are so talented and it is so fun to see your creations. Great tutorial as well. :)

  8. says

    Wow, this is an upcycle for the record books…I mean, I would be drawn to this dress on a rack in any store. Those polka dots! And such a clear tutorial, thanks for that…I love reading the process. I hope this is one of her faves!

  9. says

    Jess…you are a genius. I can’t believe you made this out of a men’s shirt! I’m kicking myself for tossing one that looks very similar to yours. From now on I’m just shipping them to you. -Jen

  10. says

    Seriously Jess, the dress is ADORABLE and your sweet girl is even more ADORABLE. You need to post some new pics of them on FB! I may be making a dress for annabelle for easter now (i had a perfectly good dress for her which seems terribly inadequate now) :/

  11. Tricie C says

    This dress is breathe taking!! I only wished that 20 years ago when my daughter was small I could have made it for her. This is definitely a “WOW” factor!!!

  12. says

    I just saw this on Behind the Hedgerow and I am in love with it! I love the look of the polka dots concentrated at the bottom and your instructions on assembling the bodice/collar/skirt are wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing! :) Lisa

  13. says

    I love this! I have to men’s shirts for a thrift challenge from Pretty Girls Sew, and had no idea what to do, I do now! Thanks so much, this is great! :)

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