Hot! The “It Was A Dress, Right?” Top

The Facts
Fabric: Possibly-not-organic cotton sack dress from H&M, on sale for $10
Pattern: None
Year: 2009?
Notions: Nothing but thread
Time to complete: ~3 hours (6 episodes of Party Down)
First worn: To work, last Tuesday
Wear again? Yes indeed
Total price: $10 as a dress, $0 as a top

My refashion is admittedly tame. I just don’t have that many things to re-do, nor a great imagination for refashioning. I used to be an H&M addict, but since learning to sew I’ve really kicked the habit. I stick to just shoes and under garments now. Anyway, I bought this dress on sale in 2009 (I think) and I’ve probably worn it a dozen times (including our engagement photos in July 2010, now that I think about it), but I was always self conscious about the length so I stopped wearing it.

I thought I could easily refashion this into a top instead. I had to unpick the pockets to keep enough of the length. I’m left wondering now if this was supposed to be a tunic and I was thick enough to think it was a dress all this time…but it would be a looonng tunic…right? This person describes it as a dress (second pic), but says she wore it as a tunic. Hmmm…H&M are sort of notorious for too-short dresses, right?

This was my first try at petal sleeves. I used the drafting tutorial from the blog My Sparkle, which I found on Pinterest sometime ago. Mine definitely look backwards. But I’m keeping them because the fabric will fall apart if I unpick it one more time…and also I wear cardigans over everything so no one will know!



Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.


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  1. H&M does make things a little short sometimes. I like the top and glad your dress got a second chance at life-

  2. I agree – H&M dresses are often short. Regardless of whether it was once a dress or a long tunic, it looks great now as a top! Nice job!

  3. Haha – I always used to buy things that shops described as dresses, and which I thought of as tops.

    I do like your re-do as a top. Especially the sleeves. And thank you for the link to that article about (not exactly) organic cotton in India.

    • Thanks! And you’re quite welcome. I used to think H&M was an okay company, but there have been a lot of negative stories about them in the past couple of years. It’s disheartening.

  4. This is great. I like it much better as a top. I adore super simple refashions. Very cute!

  5. It looks great as a top, much more flattering.

  6. If you end up with a garment that you get a lot more use out of, it’s not lame. It works very well as a short top.

  7. Those petal leaves look sweet. It’s so much nicer as a top. And thank you so much for the link to the tutorial…I’m going to have to try that some time.

    • The tutorial uses it on a child’s dress but I think it works for adults too. I think mine turned out weird because the original sleeves were gathered A LOT and thus too large when eased in. If you use it on an existing pattern for plain sleeves it should work perfectly.

  8. Nice top, I like the sleeve detail and I would say it a success. If you’ll be wearing the top more often, that’s a win.

  9. Great make over! It looks great as a top. It’s hard to bend over with confidence when a dress is too short. I can relate to that.

    • Hahaha, I avoided bending over at all costs! And I always tried to sit with something over my lap – notebook, napkin, tablecloth etc. But no longer! Huzzah!

  10. I was looking at your refashioned top (which I think is adorable) when I noticed the details of your location!! Hey, I know those milk jug lamps. And I definitely know that ice cream! Yum. Felt kinda stalker-ish knowing where you’ve been. LOL! Glad to see someone from my neck of the woods is a Sew Weekly contributor. :)

    • Lol we were at the in-laws’ place for the weekend. I demand a Jeni’s stop every. single. time. My goal is to hit all of their shops in the C-bus area, I’m 4/9. :D

  11. I like this both ways! You definitely have the legs for the dress version :) But yeah… the decency issue Barbara mentioned!