Sundress upcycle to shoulder bag

A couple of years ago, a friend brought back these beautiful dresses from Bali for my daughters. They did wear them a couple of times, but then told me they felt too scratchy and uncomfy, and so they've been hanging in their wardrobe ever since, unused and unloved! Which is a shame because the fabric is beautiful! 
 So I decided that we'd make use of them in a different way! Time for some upcycling!  And these bags are the result!

They were pretty easy to make - here's how!

First cut the skirt from the bodice of the dress like this:

These dresses had a small slit up the side, so I stitched that closed..

Then stitched the bottom edges of the dress together (right sides together) to form the main part of the bag:

Next, with the bag still inside out, put your hand in and flatten out the corner to make a point like this:

And put two pins in a line around 4 cm in from the point, then stitch along this line

Now cut the two top parts of the dress to use for the straps, like this:

Before joining them together, turn the raw cut edges of both the bag and the pieces for the straps once and stitch.

Then pin the pieces for the straps to the side seams of the bag - right sides together. And stitch in place. Then turn the top rim of the bag over once more and stitch - this should hide any remaining raw edges

Now you need to join the straps together. Cut to a little longer than the desired length for your strap (try it out for size on your shoulder here).

Then fold the ends together so the raw edges are hidden, and stitch.

These dresses had a handy little tube of ribbon on the straps that I then stitched over the seam to hide it. 

For a little extra decoration, I took the elasticated part from the back of the bodice of the dress, and an offcut from the strap..

....rolled the elasticated part up and tied it..., then handstitched to the side of the bag!

And here's the finished bag:

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial click here.


  1. What a brilliant idea they look fantastic! I DO love upcycling, so clever..

  2. Beautiful Jill, as always! I love upcycling!

  3. Hi Jill

    Wow, these pretty dresses and become stunning bags! Love them!

    Michelle :-)

  4. love the shape of these-great choice. the perfect summer bag!

  5. Are you kidding me with that level of creativity!? Those are gorgeous bags! You did such a great job :)

  6. Great idea! I love taht you used up all of the fabric, too!

  7. Super SUPER super pretty, Jill! I love how you re-pieced everything to make such an elegant shape. I love that you are starting a new page for clothes upcycles - I always love this kind of project (even tho I can't sew a lick!)!

  8. that is too cute, if you have an Etsy page, i would sell these in a heart beat! i would buy one! thanks for sharing this at my party!

  9. Oh my heavens, this is just too cute, I love it it. Your blog is definetly a keeper.


  10. Those bags turned out darling! Thanks for linking @Creative Itch's "Sew Cute Tuesday"!

    By the way...I'll be featuring these tomorrow, so be sure to grab a 'featured' button!

  11. These turned out os cute. I am so inspired right now. you are so dang creative:>

  12. I absolutely LOVE this! What beautiful bags. Thanks for sharing your linky party with me. I linked up.

  13. Wow it turned out amazing, doesn't even look like it use to be something else. I'm going to start looking at old clothes differently now!

  14. New follower and made this awesome handbag thanks to your tutorial here

  15. It would have been such a shame to waste that gorgeous fabric, great upcycling creation!

  16. Awesome bags, Jill. I bet the girls are more than happy to wear these bags. Love the style and the fabric.

  17. These bags are fantastic!!! I found you via the Threading My Way Link Party :)

  18. I love this bag! I have quite a few sundresses that could be used for this project! Can't wait to try!

  19. Those bags are beautiful, Jill! Thanks for sharing this upcycle idea and tutorial!


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