From Basic to Runway Couture: An Easy DIY Embroidery Bodycon Dress

So you bought a basic dress that you snagged from one of the trendy boutiques popping up all over the web only to find out that you've grown tired of it quicker than you expected. Hold up now, lets not get too hasty before you take that bad boy over to Plato's closet in hopes of pawning it off for a quick buck! There is hope still left for this basic piece. What if I told you we could take that piece up a notch or three? Would you believe me?

After seeing the Dolce & Gabbana collection from Spring 2015 (with a dash of 2016), it inspired me to do something similar. The black trim accents look really good, especially the red and black. I wanted to shoot for a similar look, but with a dash of Victorian and/or Modern style as opposed to the French Matador or Bull Fighter in Spain vibe. Click on a few below and get acquainted with a few of the pieces from the show.  

Are any lightbulbs going off yet? You thinking what I'm thinking?? Seeing this made me think of the perfect piece I had sitting in my closet that would make this idea come to life.....a red bodycon dress. I've had this bodycon for awhile now, like years in my closet. Think back to before ASOS expanded to a shipping location in the USA, it's been that long since I put this dress to use. Makes you start to think what clothing items you were quick to get rid of and you could have done something amazing to it before casting it off. 

Despite getting this from a long time ago, you can find any red form fitting dress and still be able to do a project quite similar or even better. Maybe even just take that piece you've been thinking about pawning off and give it a little life, it doesn't even have to be red. Black and white would be another nice color combination, or get a little bold with it go Uma Thurman from Kill Bill with that yellow and black!

Your dress doesn't have to have a slit like mine, but it helps! Why? Because it just adds a more dramatic affect to a simple piece. Something about a slit that just adds a subtle sexy. Not that you can't do the pattern on other spots of the dress, but the slit is an accent by itself and just simply adding to that takes it up a notch like . . .


It's a total game changer. I know. Bet you can't wait to see how I took this dress from basic to couture, enough of the commentary. 

Lets jump into it. 


  • E6000 Glue (Black): this glue is the real deal, so make sure to follow directions and ensure you're either in a well ventilated area or wearing a face mask. We'll be using this to seal the ends of the ribbon trim so the ends to do not fray or unravel over time. Also, we'll use this for adding on the embellishments too.

  • E6000 Fabric Fuse Glue: Fabric glue is preferred since the regular E6000 dries pretty hard and tacky. The intention is for the dress to still hold it's original free flow and movement without restriction.

  • Trimming (Black): You can pick any kind of pattern or style of ribbon, just make sure you think about the long-term when it comes to washing and the fabric of your dress (or skirt). If it's a stable and sturdy fabric, then you can use heavier trims. Yet, if it's thin, then try to go for a more weightless trim like a thin ribbon.

  • Scissors: the sharper, the better. A clean cut makes the ribbon look more presentable and "official" (if you catch my drift).

  • Embellishments: to add more dimension and compliment the trim, although this is not necessary.

  • Red Bodycon: be mindful of the fabric and style dress you're selecting.

  • Scotch Tape (not pictured): only necessary if you have some trim that will unravel or fray once you cut it. This will assist in giving you a clean cut and a neat presentation of your work.

  • Marker Pencil (not pictured): I'd recommend a marking pencil since it leaves more room for error, although not necessary. Since I didn't have one at the moment, almost any writing utensils (even an eyeliner pencil) that can leave a 'barely there' mark should do just fine.

  • Towel (not pictured): prevents you from glueing your dress together. Depending on what the material it is, but regardless, still use it to be safe. You don't want the glue to seep through one side and mess up the other during construction.



Step 1: Grab all the necessary supplies, snacks, and get your music playlist ready! Getting up in the middle of a project because you don't have everything can be a pain in the butt. Set up your workspace and lay the dress you'll be working with on a large flat surface.

Step 2: Now that you have your workspace setup, decide where on the dress you want your accent(s) to go. I decided to go with just adding something to the back slit, but feel free to add them anywhere else you desire. Then, grab your trimming and embellishments to play around with different design layouts. Take pictures of the designs you come up with to make it easier to compare which layouts you like the most.  

Step 3: Once you've decided on a pattern, proceed with the preparing the trimmings first. Measure out the length of trim you will need before you move onto cutting. Depending on the trim you use, some may require a bit more work when it comes to cutting. For instance, some trim can begin to unravel once you cut it with scissors. To avoid unruly unraveling, grab some tape and wrap it around where you'd like to cut.  The tape holds the trim in place for you so you can focus on getting a clean cut. Cut a piece to work with and at the end of the cut, use just a little bit of regular E6000 to seal the loose ends. To dry can either blow on the ends, waft it around in the air, let it sit and come back later, or get a blowdryer to speed it up in order to let the glue get a little hard to the point where it isn't leaving residue on your finger. You don't want to rush this, or you can accidentally smear the glue on something you don't want it on. Once the glue has dried, remove the tape. 

Both pieces above have tape holding them together, the one on the left has not been glued and the one on the right has fresh glue on it that has yet to dry. If you can, try to compress the straying pieces inside of the tape border so it lays flat at the top. The sharper scissors you use, the cleaner the cut you will get.

Both pieces above have tape holding them together, the one on the left has not been glued and the one on the right has fresh glue on it that has yet to dry. If you can, try to compress the straying pieces inside of the tape border so it lays flat at the top. The sharper scissors you use, the cleaner the cut you will get.

Step 4: After you've cut and sealed your pieces, double check to make sure the length of the pieces fit for your design by laying the pieces down in place again and comparing it to the photo you took earlier. Depending on how you are designing your accents, it may be helpful to leave yourself some breadcrumbs in order to guide you during the glue process. Grab a marking pencil (or anything that would be easy to see, but not pop-out) and begin by making dotted lines that follow your design until you've practically marked out your whole design. 

Step 5: Grab your E6000 Fabric Glue and proceed with glueing your trim on the 'breadcrumbs' you left behind. Continue this process until you reach the end of the trimming portion of the dress. Allow the dress time to dry (contain your excitement), that way when you're glueing on your embellishments the ribbon does not shift positions causing the glue ruin the pattern on the dress. If you do not have any embellishments, move on to Step 7.

Step 6: Once the glue has dried enough, grab your regular E6000 glue and add a very thin layer on the back of your embellishment. You don't want to put too much, or the glue will spill out from under the piece when you press it onto the dress. Even if you're using clear glue, you still don't want that to happen. If this does happen, allow the glue just a tad bit of time, about 5 to 10 seconds to get tacky and remove it. Depending on the material, it may leave a residue behind. Once you're finished, let the dress dry.

Step 7: Now that your dress is dry, try it on! How'd it come out? I'd like to see what you've come up with, post it to Instagram or Facebook and then tag it #BenitaTaughtU. You know I love seeing all of your crafty creations! 

Trying to figure out what other 'basic' pieces you can revamp? Then . . .