Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Accept

Top of the crops: Floral dress upcycled into crop top and skirt

Posted by Helen le Caplain Oxfam Fashion blogger

3rd Jun 2013

As we take our first tentative sandal-clad steps towards summer, now is the time to retire winter wear to the back of our wardrobes and finally embrace summer pieces.

Floral dresses are a perennial high street classic, so dresses donning either a tiny ditzy print or big bold blooms are ten a penny in charity shops.

This season a cropped DIY job will be the perfect accompaniment to a summer festival or sun-drenched beach holiday wardrobe.




dress upcycle



Safety pins

Straight pins

Sewing machine

Wonder web

Tape measure (optional)

Using straight pins mark where you want to cut the dress to produce the cropped top and skirt.

NOTE: Allow a couple of inches hem allowance on the skirt and top.

If you're using a dress with an elasticated waist you can allow for a slightly smaller (about an inch) hem allowance.

dress upcycle

Cut the dress into two pieces and place the top piece to one side.

dress upcycle


Measure around your waist, divide this by two and add an extra couple of inches wiggle room - this will be the width of the front and back pieces.

dress upcycle

With straight pins mark the new side seams, and cut off the excess material.

dress upcycle


With the right sides together, and allowing for a 1" seam allowance, stitch together the side seams and then press open with a hot iron.

dress upcycle


For the waistband measure half an inch and press with the iron (to hide any frayed or curled edges) and then measure another 1.5"/2" and press again.

Go to the Oxfam Online Shop


Pin the waistband in place before firing up the sewing machine again to stitch it in place.

NOTE: Make sure you leave enough space to thread through the elastic!

Feed the elastic through the waistband until it comes out of the other side.

Tie the ends into a loose knot and fix the elastic so the material is spread evenly across the elastic waistband, when you're happy with how it looks sew the elastic together and stitch up the opening.

dress upcycle

Turning your attention to the cropped top use straight pins and, on the wrong side of the material, mark out the new hemline and press with the iron.

If you're using an elasticated-waist dress, starting from one side take out the straight pins and fix the hem using wonder web. Do this all the way round until the entire hem is secure.

If you're upcycling a regular dress, repeat steps five-seven to create an elasticated top.


Press the top and skirt for a neat finish.

Fingers crossed we get nice weather, however if you're staying in the UK and it's not all that hot, it can easily be layered up either with a chambray shirt or denim jacket.

dress upcycle



Blog post written by Helen le Caplain

Oxfam Fashion blogger

More by Helen le Caplain