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Recycle An Outgrown Denim Dress

Refashion denim dress 1

This week, I am going to write a series of tutorials on how to recycle/refashion an outgrown jeans dress and sewn it into 4-piece kid’s clothing + accessories. Each recycle-tutorial on the denim dress will illustrate how I convert the salvaged materials from the denim dress and turn them into a totally new design of clothing.

Recycle Denim Dress Into:

recycle denim dress

Denim Vest With Ruffled Edge

At first, the unbuttoned top is still kinda tight for her to get her upper arm to move freely especially when she needs to lean forward to get something in front. I decided to take out the sleeves and make the top into a vest, this will free her upper arm movement from being restricted by the tight sleeves. The collar is another problem, so I took that off as well.
Click here for the tutorial.

recycle denim dress

Denim Skirt With Ruffled Hem

The skirt is big enough for my daughter to wear since it was from a drop waist construction. The drop-waist line now becomes her waistline.
Click here for the tutorial.

recycle denim dress

Reversible Denim Belt

I then salvaged the hem of the skirt and make it into a reversible belt.
Click here for the tutorial.

upcycle denim dress

Denim Hem Rosette

By using one of the sleeves, I made a rosette brooch.
Click here for the tutorial.

Below is an old photo of when she was just 4-year-old and wearing the denim drop waist dress I love so much. The dress looked just nice on her during that time, but this didn’t hold long until she hit the rapid growth stage, boom… she has outgrown it a few months later.

She complained that after wearing the dress she is “breathless” and her shoulder + upper arms were paralyzed due to the restriction of the upper portion of the dress. Since then she refused to wear it. I love seeing her wearing it and reluctant to give it away which I usually do for her outgrown clothing, so, I let the dress sit in her wardrobe until recently.

upcycle denim dress

When I inspect the dress closely, I found that I can split it into 2 parts and make it into a top plus a skirt instead. I took up the courage of believing myself that I can do a good job on it…. grabbed my seam ripper to rip all the stitches along the waistline and turn it into the following clothing and accessories a few days later. I am very happy with this recycled denim dress result and so does my daughter 🙂

Here she is, 8, wearing her modified 4 years old clothing. Amazing?
Stay tuned for the rest of the tutorials 🙂

Ruffled denim vest


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Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Hi, you have very cool clothes! Looks very cool and very inspiring to make new advances in reusing unnecessary things. We need to rubbish remove from our shelves and do something similar. Most importantly, we have available examples of such actions. Move on and reinforce us further.

Anne Weaver

Sunday 15th of May 2011

Brilliant!!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:



Sunday 15th of May 2011

You are so very clever and resourceful! you've inspired me to go hunting through my daughter's closets as well.....I wonder what I might turn up. THANK YOU for all your wonderful clever ideas. x

Shelley C

Sunday 15th of May 2011

That is way too cute and so frugal too! Love it!


Sunday 15th of May 2011

Utterly fantastic! As cute as the dress was, this outfit is actually prettier! Your daughter is beautiful, and the new outfit frames that beauty perfectly.