Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial

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There’s something to be said about special and unique vintage dresses that can be found in thrift stores. They have gorgeous details and so many memories woven in.

Today I’m going to show you how to refashion a vintage dress with buttons up the front into a modern wrap dress with a gorgeous button detail. With this vintage dress refashion tutorial you’ll learn how to sew a button up dress into a modern wrap dress.

Don’t miss the video at the end of the post!

Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial

I wanted the comfort of a loose dress but the look of a more fitted dress. I met in the middle with a semi-fitted dress with elastic at the back waist. It’s a surprisingly very comfortable dress!

I removed the darts in this dress to get a better wrap effect, but if you are working with a dress and you don’t like the fit you can always add back darts to a dress. Don’t miss all these other dress refashions!

Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //

When I was looking for a vintage dress to refashion I wanted a button up front because I had this faux wrap dress on my mind. For some reason the thrift stores near me did not have any vintage dresses to offer. I searched three thrift stores multiple times and finally settled on this red dress.

Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //

I’ve always said that I don’t wear red, and I don’t. Even though this dress is stunning, I might not actually wear it because the color just isn’t me. But it is the ONLY button front dress I could find.

The fabric is a rayon linen so it’s beautiful to touch and wear, and it’s even fully lined. My favorite detail is the contrasting wood buttons. Once the buttons line up in a vertical line, I think it’s very flattering.

Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //

Can you believe that this is how the dress started? It looks so much better after being refashioned!

Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //



  1. Put the dress on and mark where your waist is. Cut the dress just below the waist mark. This gives you a little bit of seam allowance.
  2. If there are any darts in the dress, seam rip them so the front and the back of the dress bodice is flat. Press the bodice.
    Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //
  3. Put the bodice on and cross the front over the other until it fits tighter around your waist. Don’t make it too tight that you can’t get it off and on your head. Make sure the button side is on top of the other side.
  4. Baste the overlap together so that it stays in place.
  5. If you want to shorten the skirt, then cut the extra off of the top of the skirt.
    • I wanted to get rid of the welt pockets so I cut those off plus a little more.
      Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //
  6. You will now sew the skirt and bodice together. With right sides together line up the button side of the front skirt with the bodice overlap that has the buttons. You want the dress to look like a wrap dress so the overlap lines should meet perfectly. Keep pinning the skirt around the bodice until it’s completely pinned on.
    Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //
  7. Sew the bodice and the skirt together with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Finish the edges.
  8. Start the elastic at one side and around the back of your waist to the other side and stretch tight. This is the length of your elastic.
    Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //
  9. Pin the elastic to the back of the dress at the waist seam allowance. Pin each side first and then distribute the dress and elastic evenly with pins.
  10. Sew the elastic to the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch. Stretch the elastic slightly as you sew.
    Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //

Since the dress is a faux wrap style the waist never opens up, but I still have to be careful of the bodice opening up and the skirt opening up. If I would to wear it a lot, I would tack some parts to keep it from opening up.

Vintage Dress Refashion Tutorial //

If your dress needs more alterations so that you’ll actually wear the dress, you can also: make a dress longer, add sleeves to a dress, add back darts to a dress, raise the neckline, and line a lace dress.

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