Woman Modifies Old Thrift Store Clothes To Create New Outfits And Here Are 25 Of Her Best Works (New Pics)

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Thrift stores are full to the brim with treasures beyond your wildest dreams. Though sometimes, you might need a bit of imagination, creativity, and, well, thriftiness, to alter the tired clothes you find and help their inner vintage beauty shine bright like a diamond.

Caitlin Trantham, known online as Cait Conquers and ‘that dress lady from TikTok,’ is a seamstress who transforms tired thrift store finds into marvelous and stunning new outfits. She’s incredibly talented and her skills with needle-and-thread are obvious for everyone to see. Scroll down to see some of Caitlin’s best new dress redesigns and the before-and-after photos.

Make sure to upvote the photos you liked the most and let us know which upcycled designs you enjoyed the most, Pandas. When you’re done with this list, you should definitely check out some of Caitlin’s previous designs, as featured on Bored Panda earlier, right over here.

More info: Instagram | TikTok


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 credits: caitconquers

Caitlin is a mom to three kids and a military spouse. She’s always had a penchant for crafts and a passion for vintage clothes.

It was during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, when pretty much everyone was locked down at home, that she decided to do something new with all the extra time she had on her hands. That’s when she started breathing new life into vintage thrift store clothes. Fabulous? Crafty? Inspired? We think so!


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

Image credits: 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 credits: caitconquers

Her new project became a roaring success almost instantly. Currently, she has over 116k followers on Instagram, as well as a whopping 857.2k adoring fans on TikTok. That’s nearly a million followers put together! She’s also received a jaw-dropping 17.5 million likes over on TikTok so far. We’ve absolutely no doubt that this number’s only going to go up.

It’s no wonder her (re)designs are getting so much attention online: they’re eye-catching and they’re huge improvements over the base vintage dress models that Caitlin picked up thrifting.


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 credits: 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 credits: 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 allows. To add the embroidery back on to the dress I sewed the panels together, then appliquéd then 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 credits: caitconquers

A bit over a year ago, my colleague Rokas spoke to Caitlin about her project. At the time, she told Bored Panda that she began sewing 7 years ago (just over 8 years ago if you’re reading this in the Autumn of 2021!) and had started with quilting.

"I just started really experimenting with clothing this year! When quarantine hit, I had a ton of time to practice and make a bunch of projects,” she shared with Bored Panda in 2020.


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 wild flowers 

Image credits: 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 dyemore 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!they only structural changes i made were taking up the straps and putting a simple ribbon corset in the back!

Image credits: caitconquers


Quick and easy transformation on this maxi dress! the print gave me all the 50s vibes, so i knew i had to do a shorter full skirt. i separated the bodice and the skirt, then took in the bodice slightly at the darts. i got the top off the skirt, and used that extra fabric for pockets then simply gathered the skirt, and reattached it to the bodice! video tutorial will go up on friday  (and yes, my $20 amazon wig is getting a ton of use lately )

Image credits: caitconquers

Thrifting and vintage items have always been near and dear to Caitlin’s heart, for a variety of reasons. “Not only does it obviously save money, but being able to reuse and up-cycle things is great for our environment. Beyond that, I love the thrill of the hunt! I have found some really amazing pieces along the way,” she told Bored Panda.

Caitlins’s always keeping an eye out for unique outfits with transformation-friendly materials when considering her next redesign.


i don’t usually like to call a dress ugly, because everyone has different tastes, and i would hate to make someone feel sad if they liked the before. but.... this one might be an exception  it had a collar, lace bodice, puff sleeves with lace sleeves underneath. it was ankle length and had a huge bow in the back. truly... unquie  and i’m guessing it was a bridesmaid dress and there were several more like it  i decided to remake the bodice, i used the same puff sleeves but i had to put elastic in them so that they fit. the dress as a whole was several sizes to small- so when i added the skirt i had to take a section from further down the length. i picked a short hem to help make the floral pattern feel less ‘old lady curtains’ such a fun transformation!

Image credits: caitconquers


happy valentine’s day  i decided to do this sweet pink dress this week. its 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 credits: caitconquers


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

Image credits: caitconquers

"Embroidery, a fun vintage print, embellishments, or anything else that could make a garment special. Then, I analyze the material -- am I going to be able to manipulate this? Is it going to fight me? The last thing I look at is closures: buttons and zippers, all that stuff. I need to make sure they can be moved or altered to fit my ideas,” she explained her thought process while out ‘hunting’ for thrift store treasures.

The seamstress usually sets herself a limit of $10 per item when out thrifting. You might think it would be difficult to find something for that amount, however, thrift store prices are often very customer friendly.


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 credits: caitconquers


I think you can really see the difference in the fabric from the pictures. Stiff and crusty, to the soft rayon it was meant to be! This dress was very likely headed to a landfill... it also had small holes all over the sleeves, and some in the bodice. I’m glad I got a chance to save it and give it a new life as a rad tie dye number

Image credits: 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 dyemore came in clutch, and i once again was able to use their formula charts online to create a custom color!

Image credits: caitconquers

For example, Caitlin went into detail about how the dresses at the local Goodwill where she used to live were a mere $4 each. Evening dresses were slightly pricier, at $6 while skirts were just $3. However, prices were slightly higher at The Salvation Army.

After buying the dresses that she wants to transform, she then uses some of her budget on various other materials that she might need. From buttons and thread to zippers and closures. Then, she takes everything home and starts weaving her magic. The result? Stunning before-and-after photos that any seamstress would be proud to show off.


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 credits: 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 it 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 credits: 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 credits: caitconquers


The  caitconquers cross country tour continues, this time i’m reporting from my high school bedroom in mesa, az  taking off the puff sleeves and shoulder pads, and moving up the drop waist made for a quick and simple flip! old lady florals are my jam

Image credits: caitconquers


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

Image credits: caitconquers


Image credits: 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 credits: 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 up front. I made the apron from vintage placemats! It’s a little cottage core, a little Sound of Music and a little French country side. All all in a fun experience, despite the outcome.

Image credits: 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 happened 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!

Image credits: caitconquers


Before and after, purple/black/grey ice dye!

Image credits: caitconquers

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