How to Refashion a Grandma Dress - zazaofcanada

How to Refashion a Grandma Dress

How to Refashion a Grandma Dress [And Make it Sparkle with Rhinestone Buttons]

Do you have an ancient, out-of-fashion dress sitting in the back of your closet that never sees the light of day? Or maybe you’re just feeling creative and want to take on the challenge of giving a thrifted dress new life?


Today I’ll show you how to refashion an outdated “grandma” dress – and don’t worry, we won’t forget the sparkle!


What you’ll need

  • A dress to refashion: shop your closet or hit the thrift stores!
  • Basic sewing supplies: sewing machine, needle, thread, scissors
  • Gorgeous rhinestone buttons


  1. Evaluate the fit of your dress
  2. If changes need to be made, make some simple alterations
  3. Add the glitz and glam – sew on your buttons


how to refashion old clothes

Step One

First, try on your dress and evaluate the fit. Does it fit well? Is the style from another decade entirely?

Decide what changes need to be made. Perhaps the dress is too big, or it has old-fashioned elements that just need to be changed. Make a list of what you want to change – or sketch it out!

Just be realistic and remember that you can’t add fabric, so don’t plan on making it longer, bigger, or adding some over-the-top voluminous sleeves – unless you cut fabric from another part of the dress (like the hem), you won’t be able to add many design details.

Step Two

If the dress is too big, put it on inside out and pin the side seams in until it fits the way you like.

Take the dress off and mark in where the new side seams will be along your pins. You’ll also want to adjust your markings so that it will be even on both sides. I usually draw in one side, then fold the dress in half and transfer the markings to the other side.

Sew along your lines to make the new side seams. Trim away the excess fabric, give it a good pressing with your iron, and your dress should now fit!

If the style of the dress is just so outdated you wouldn’t be caught dead in it, you can make some simple changes to bring it into modern times. For example, if it has shoulder pads – you’ll probably want to remove those ASAP with a seam ripper. Or maybe it’s floor length and you’re not a maxi-dress fan? You can chop it off (just make sure you chop it straight and evenly!) and fold up a new hem.

how to refashion a grandma dress


Step Three

Finally, the step you’ve been waiting for! It’s time for the glitz, the glam, the sparkle! Rhinestone buttons can add some real pizazz to your new refashioned dress!  

If the dress already has buttons, you can cut them off (carefully!) and replace them with your new fancy buttons.

Or you can add them in as a design detail! You could sew them in a line down the front - think a faux button-up look - or you could add them along the princess seam lines or around the waist.

The buttons are easier to attach than you may think – you don’t need a master’s degree in fashion design to sew on some gorgeous buttons!

Simply mark where you want to place them, then sew them on with a couple loops of thread using a hand-sewing needle.




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