See How This Blogger Turns Ugly Vintage Clothes Into Amazing Outfits

ReFashionista Turqoise Dress

This is a strong case for taking sewing lessons. We’re big fans of DIY hacks and repurposing boring old clothes into something cool. We even love DIY makeup tricks. It’s not just about being thrifty (though if you can save a few bucks, why the heck wouldn’t you?), it’s about not wanting to throw away something that is 70% decent but 30% granny at a bingo game. Jillian Owens had similar ideas when she launched her DIY clothing blog, ReFashionista, in 2010.

Jillian explains that she started her blog because she was sick of wear-once-and-throw-away garments and their impact on the environment. Plus, she was broke and looking for ways to save money, but still be fashionable:

“One day, while digging through the racks at my local thrift store, I started thinking about how easily some of the ugly pieces I was looking at could be transformed into something new. I could dress well on the cheap without hurting the environment, I didn’t have to support unfair labor practices, and I could have a fun new hobby!”

Jillian posts quirky before and after shots of the clothes, so you can see what is possible with some creative thinking and basic sewing skills. She also posts pictures of the design process so you can see that it really isn’t that complicated.

Take a look at some of her repurposed designs and try not to remember the time you tried to hem your pants and wound up with one leg shorter than the other and felt completely inadequate. With some practice, you can do this too:

ReFashionista Gauch Pants Dress

I don’t know if I am more impressed that Jillian found a pair of goucho pants or that she managed to turn them into a dress. It really isn’t that complicated to do. The dress body is actually one of the legs!

ReFashionista Printed Peach Halter Dress

Sometimes you don’t need to go to too much trouble to make a really cute dress. All this one needed was an easy top alteration. The peach fabric dye also helped too.

ReFashionista Floral Maxi Dress

Nope, Jillian didn’t cut her dress into a crop top and pair it with a skirt. The diamond print was actually hiding underneath the flower fabric. Why? That was the 70s/80s/whenever this dress was from, kind of logic.ReFashionista Dyed Dress

For those people who have a greater chance of losing a finger than producing a dress with a sewing machine, here’s an easy fabric dye fix. Jillian actually mixed two shades of dye here.

Check out the ReFashionista blog to see more outfit transformations.

(Photos: ReFashionista)

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    • Lily Savage

      The average person (myself included for sure) wouldn’t be able to see beyond the clothes in front of them and make something completely cool and flattering. She’s got a great eye!

      • Wria978

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      • genevajjones

        before I looked at the check of $8543 , I accept
        …that…my neighbour woz like they say truley earning money parttime on their
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    • Wria978

      before I looked at the check of $8543 , I accept
      …that…my neighbour woz like they say truley earning money parttime on their
      apple labtop. . there sisters neighbour has done this 4 only 19 months and by
      now cleared the debts on their house and bourt a gorgeous Ford . visit this
      site C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • horusfitzfancy


      I am not trying to dump on this just for the sake of dumping on it. She is obviously very skilled. However, I was just reading about this on tumblr and a lot of these reblogs make some very good points about class and size privilege at work in this. Just food for thought.

      • emilykwells2188

        I think that’s a bit of a stretch… So, because she’s thin it’s politically incorrect of her to buy larger sized clothing from thrift stores? And, her facial expressions/stances reflect the out-of-date style of the clothes rather than the size of the clothes. Also, she probably needs to buy larger sized clothes so she has enough material to work with. It seems people can find a reason to get upset about pretty much anything these days.

      • horusfitzfancy

        I’m not upset and I don’t think that she is trying intentionally to hurt anyone or belittle anyone else’s situation. I think it is good to remember when discussing things like this that buying a plus size dress from a thrift to cut it up and discard large quantities of it means that there is one less dress out there for someone who doesn’t maybe have the resources to get a dress from another type of store (see Alana’s comment above).

        While it may be well intentioned it is always good to dig deeper and realize that one person’s purchasing decisions have implications for other people as well.

      • Librarifun

        So I guess then with that logic I could argue that since I can afford to buy ready made clothes that aren’t secondhand, I shouldn’t shop at thrift stores at all since my purchases take away options for those who don’t have the financial means that I do to purchase their clothes.

      • Cara

        Her logic is that if the options for one type of clothing are already slim to begin with in non-thrift stores they are probably even harder to find in thrift stores so the loss of those items of clothing is felt more by the people who need them.

      • Holly

        Yep. I’m one of those plus-sized women who have trouble finding cheap, thrifty clothes second hand (or anywhere) because there just aren’t as many options. So, I get the issues with this. It’s not that I personally feel that she is shaming fat people like me or that she’s trying to stick it to us because she’s thin, but it doesn’t make me happy looking at a thin person who could find cute things second-hand much easier than someone my size could, taking things way too large for her (making frumpy faces at them) and then turning them into something a thin person can cutely wear. I think mostly I just feel envious and sad. So, again, I get it.

    • Alana Vincenza

      Ummm…yeah it’s crafty and her stuff is cute, but there are big girls out there who search through racks at thrift stores to find cute things that fit them since there are limited larger sizes in most stores, so I’m not too into this…

      • Susie

        You need to dig into her blog deeper and then read “Overdressed” by Elizabeth Cline. She gets almost all of her finds from a Goodwill Outlet near her (and some come from friends/family). These are the stores clothes go to AFTER they’ve already been to other thrift stores – in other words, the rejects of the rejects. Second, while I’ve not read every entry on her blog, I’ve followed it long enough and most of the ones I’ve seen her change have only been a couple sizes up from her own – think 10 or 12 (M/L). As someone who needs to buy those sizes myself, there are plenty of choices and one person buying an ugly dress isn’t taking it away from me. (Also, I take issues with some aspects of BMI, but that can be well within the “average” range because it is for me. So they’re not “bigger” sizes.) Finally, back to the book rec, there is a chapter in “Overdressed” about secondhand retail and the short version is that even after donated clothes go to multiple thrift stores and then overseas there are too many items donated each year to ever reuse and they just go to waste. She is not refashioning to take things away from people – she is refashioning to save them from a landfill. And THAT is a good thing.