20 Thrift Store Dress Transformations By This Woman That Are Jaw-Droppingly Stunning

Published 3 years ago

Thrift stores are the cheapest places to get your hands on interesting and unique stuff. Most of these stores have a weird collection of clothes- some are large, some are tired, some have dull colors. But there is one good thing about them- they are extremely cheap! And if you are a creative person, you can use your imagination and some sewing skills to alter these clothes just like Caitlin does.

Caitlin Trantham, aka Cait Conquers, is a designer who buys clothes from thrift stores and transforms them into pretty dresses. This talented woman is quite popular as ‘that dress lady from TikTok’ and her gorgeous works will show you the reason for her popularity. Scroll below to see her new collection of amazing dress transformations. Also, check out some of Caitlin’s previous designs that were featured earlier on DeMilked.

More info: Instagram | TikTok

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Image source: caitconquers

“Finally feeling like we have a little bit of normal! and then Hawaii is locking us down again first muumuu flip and I’m already addicted. the colors and patterns and span of decades you can find in thrifts here is a dream come true! this was a freestyle. I even made the encased elastic puff sleeves and waist without having to google and I was super proud, inspired by the current amazing ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic. brb, going to roam an open field of wildflowers.”


Image source: caitconquers

“My not so favorite dress ever. I mean, she’s cute. In her own way! I dyed her purple and moved up the skirt. I decided to wear the buttons in the back so that I had a clean space upfront. I made the apron from vintage placemats! It’s a little cottage core, a little Sound of Music and a little French countryside. All in a fun experience, despite the outcome.”


Image source: caitconquers

“One of my favorite transformations to date! I got this dress from @rentadress.rad in the spring and didn’t quite know what to do with it. with Halloween coming up, I was suddenly inspired to dye it dark and see what would happen the stars were actually a follower suggestion that I ran with! I used rit dye more in graphite for the dress. it is made for synthetic fabrics! after reading reviews, and helpful pictures on amazon, I knew it wouldn’t dye the entire dress pure black. I was still definitely taking my chances with the outcome though!  the satin bodice turned a gorgeous silver and the tulle and underskirt picked up the black perfectly. I repaired all the beading by hand! it took 10+ hours, but honestly, I love passive crafts I can do on the couch.  the stars are from amazon! The only structural changes I made were taking up the straps and putting a simple ribbon corset in the back!”


Image source: caitconquers

“I love who this dress turned out! I feel like puff sleeves are having a moment again, so I decided to keep these. This flip was super easy and I wish they were all this quick and satisfying slightly sad 80s to modern date night.”


Image source: caitconquers

“muumuu to romper!  I hacked two different patterns for this one, and really had to work to get the fit right. I’m so happy with how it turned out, and it’s a huge improvement on rompers I’ve attempted in the past! this fabric is so sweet and perfect for spring.”


Image source: caitconquers

“Happy valentine’s day I decided to do this sweet pink dress this week. It’s been in my closet for ages! it was a side zip, but I had a lot of room to take it out and move it to the back. I measured out the bodice and hacked of the skirt, and then took in the bodice on every seam. I originally wanted to keep the overlay, but it wasn’t working out how I envisioned! so I tossed that idea and stuck to the beautiful fluffy cream underskirt!”


Image source: caitconquers

“I got this ‘church dress’ at salvation army for only $3. it had moth holes all over the sleeves! I loved the thick velvet appliqués at the cuffs, and knew I could do something awesome with them because I couldn’t use the fabric from the sleeves to help squeeze out enough for the skirt, I opted for frankensteining the lining together. I thought the two-toned effect ended up looking really cool! I used simplicity 8330 for the bodice, and once again was disappointed in the sizing. I actually sized down two, and still had to make a ton of adjustments! all in all, it was a challenging project, with lots of learning moments.”


Image source: caitconquers

“Instead of going to the beaches or bbqing, we were stuck in quarantine jail yesterday so, I made this dress out of an old tablecloth! totally inspired by the one Debbie wears in American graffiti. the pattern is Gertie’s Butterick.”


Image source: caitconquers

“Same dress. This upcycle is such a big difference, people on TikTok thought my video was either a lie or a joke this is an amazing example of what I love about refashioning dresses- creative problem solving! I started by taking off the sleeves/ bolero situation. then i dyed it using the same @ritdye synthetic that I used for the big wedding dress. the fabric is a cream damask brocade (raised texture) that was printed with flowers. after the dye bath, the front looked kind of like an oil slick. the pink and green still came through. but, the back of the fabric looked like some amazing haunted mansion wallpaper. sooooo… I took apart every single seam and re-sewed it inside out in the process I did some restructuring in the neckline and tada! new dress!”


Image source: caitconquers

“A total redesign, that involved dismantling every seam. I sewed an entirely new bodice, with color blocking and reused almost all the trim.”


Image source: caitconquers

“Here’s some pictures of the 4 thrifted Target dresses into one big fluffy, twirly dress! I was inspired by a $400 Selkie dress, with a few tweaks”


Image source: caitconquers

“Here’s the grid photo of this fun before and after! I love to use Butterick B6453 because it’s a pattern that requires very little fabric for the bodice. That is essential when you have a limited amount to use! It’s also really easy to modify, and I always just cut the skirt however I want or however the available fabrics allow. To add the embroidery back onto the dress I sewed the panels together, then appliquéd them onto the center bodice piece, before sewing it together. It was fairly simple, but I loved problem-solving and playing Tetris to make it fit!”


Image source: caitconquers


Image source: caitconquers

“Thrifted skirt into a cute little dress! I used a pattern from nhpatterns and adore the end result. I love when I find patterns that don’t use too much fabric- it makes them perfect for upcycling when you don’t have a lot to work with.”


Image source: caitconquers

“I think it’s time for another tie-dye project! I never posted the pictures from this one I did in June”


Image source: caitconquers

“I’m not sure how I forgot to post this side by side of the lace dress! this dress was given to me by an awesome follower, who wore it to her prom in 1986. she was clearing things out, and thought of me! she thought I could possibly give it a new life. when I got the dress, I was hesitant to alter it, because it was so pretty! this is why I understand the mixed emotions and opinions that are surrounding this makeover. I wasn’t going to touch it until I envisioned this beautiful blue. I have zero regrets.”


Image source: caitconquers

“I really think this is going to be my dress for the next marine corps ball!  it isn’t the color I originally set out for, but I’m so happy with how it came out. @ritdye rit dye more came in clutch, and I once again was able to use their formula charts online to create a custom color!”


Image source: caitconquers

“Easy little makeover of this pretty 90s floral!  I started by dissembling the dress at the seams. I attempted to use a pattern for the bodice, but ended up modifying it so much that it’s not worth mentioning I had just enough fabric to construct a new bodice, but it was really really close the front panel ended up too wide, so I did a cute little pinch pleat at the top and added a bow. I reused the ruffle on the collar for the straps. my bodice is lined with an old sheet, that has actually lined 4 dresses so far!”


Image source: caitconquers

“Here’s a grid pic of this lace dress before and after! If you saw the videos, you know this one was just trouble. On to the next!”


Image source: caitconquers

“A lot of people have asked to see pictures! I posted them on my stories and shared some behind the scenes, but here they are! The end dress is a Frankenstein of 4 dresses, a lace duster vest, and then 8 yards of fabric for the ruffles. I set out to upcycle the entire project, but for the amount of fabric, I needed for the ruffles and my time constraints it wasn’t going to happen without yardage. It consists of the main original dress, a black dress cut to add to the train… the lace duster was used as an overlay to cover the maroon fabric in the stripe.. the second red skirt is another dress, and the black peekaboo at the bottom is another dress that I used as a base layer.

I completely restructured the bodice, taking out the back panel and building a new one with thin straps. Built out the train, cut in a high low hem, layered the skirts, and spent 10ish hours making ruffles. It was the most challenging thing I’ve done yet. But I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to challenge myself!

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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Cait conquers, Caitlin Trantham, dress transformation, thrift store dresses, upcycled dresses
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