Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tutorial: Morning Glory Dress

I have been drooling over the Sunny Soiree and Blooming Goldenrod (which unfortunately is no longer available) dresses by Anthropologie for a while now. So when I needed to upcycle something, I thought what better opportunity to knock them off than this? What I love about the way this one turned out is that while it was inspired by Anthro, it is its own unique dress.


I began with a men’s dress shirt (a very fine grey and white stripe), a large yellow woman’s blouse, and a jumper (which hardly ended up being used).

2011-04-15 013

I laid out the men’s dress shirt nicely, all buttoned up, and then used a skirt that I like the fit of as a pattern.

2011-04-15 016

I left it longer than the skirt and didn’t cut anything off the bottom so I wouldn’t have to hem it.

2011-04-15 017

I then laid out a dress that I liked the cut of the bodice on. I wanted wider straps than the dress though, so I just cut extra around the straps.

2011-04-15 018

2011-04-15 019

I liked the way the gathers in the back didn’t get cut off.

2011-04-15 020

The hem band of the shirt was saved to be used as the waist band on the dress.

2011-04-15 021

And other strips of fabric were cut from the remaining fabric to be used as ruffles.

2011-04-15 022

At this point I realized that I really didn’t want to figure out a way to finish off the arm holes, and the original sleeves were completely salvageable—they were just large. So I cut the sleeves from the original seams and then trimmed off the excess so it would fit my new arm hold.


I cut the new waist band to be double the width of the shirt (so it could go around the whole dress) and left an extra 1/2 inch to sew it together into a band with a 1/4” seam allowance.

2011-04-15 026

Sewed the side seams together for the skirt.

2011-04-15 029

I used my rolled hem foot to finish off the edges of the strips of fabric for the ruffles and then used my ruffler foot to ruffle the strips directly onto the shirt—around the neckline and then down the button hole side of the shirt. I stopped just above the buttons on that side so ruffles wouldn’t have to overlap each other.

2011-04-15 030

Sewed in the sleeves (we don’t have to get into how I accidentally sewed one sleeve on inside out twice).

2011-04-15 031

Sewed the waistband onto the bodice and then attached the skirt.

2011-04-15 032

At this point I started playing with material from the jumper to make the sash like both Anthro dresses had. I really didn’t like the way it was looking at all. Even though it’s longer than the finished version would have been, it just wasn’t something I was happy with. To me, it looked frumpy.

2011-04-15 033

I actually disliked it so much that I threw the dress in my scraps pile and went on to start another project. But I didn’t like that one much either, so I returned to the dress. That was when I remembered an old elastic belt of mine. It was exactly what I was hoping for! I made a large yellow flower from the leftovers from the shirt, and two flowers from the men’s shirt material and two from the jumper. A pop of red was just the right finishing touch to pull in the red from the belt.

2011-04-19 049 - Copy

2011-04-19 050 - Copy

Then just grab a gorgeous model and you’re set to go!

2011-04-19 049

I do love this dress and look forward to wearing it!


  1. That is just super-cute! You are so creative!

  2. I loved this one when I saw it at SYTYC! Great job.

  3. I love that dress!!! Oh how I love it! lol.. and the belt is absolutly gorgeous!

  4. Looks great! LOL on the picture of you standing on the tub in your socks!!! Quite a dramatic change with the new belt and heels!

  5. This dress is SO fantastic! I've been fawning over it all week, so I featured it on my blog today. Check it out!

    Thanks for sharing your talent and your gorgeous work!

    Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

  6. Adorable! The belt completely makes the outfit. It's fabulous!

  7. WOW! That is SO PRETTY!! I love how you made it! Great tutorial too, thanks for sharing!

  8. Great upcycling! I love your addition of the belt you had and the flower so much better. Really makes the fnished outfit look fabulous!

  9. That's a darling dress! I want it! :)

  10. This looks amazing, I am inspired to try and create my own dress! Question, how do you get it on and off?? No zipper that I could see, are the buttons on the shirt still functional? What about the waistband that was sew on? Thanks!!

  11. Tiffany-I left the buttons still fully functional, so there was no need for a zipper. There isn't a ton of give in the waist band, but it's easier to pull on and off than some of my tops.

  12. A Men's Dress Shirt? Genius!!! I MUST Copy this fabulous dress - THANK YOU!!!

  13. This dress is amazing1 I have been browsing your blog and I love it. You are so inspiring!I am your newest follwer. Come stop by and say hi

  14. Add me to your new followers because you are so stinkin' creative!! I wish I had an ounce of the creativity you have but I'll just drool over your creations from afar. =) Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with all of us!

  15. This is so cute! The belt totally makes it ;)Oh, how I wish I could sew.
    (I'm rather smitten with that Sunny Soiree dress, myself!)

  16. Wow - this is beautiful and I love that I could buy oversized tops on sale to make a super cute dress. I'm tall and have a small waist and wider hips, I could NEVER find a dress this cute to fit me! Def. going on my summer to do list :)

  17. Love it! Thanks for the tutorial. I have often taken pictures of myself while standing on my tub's edge. Glad I'm not the only one :)


I appreciate comments so much! I'll do my best to reply to you here in the comments section, especially if there is a question so future readers can see the answer.