31 Days of Shut Up and Sew: Girl's Dress into Skirt

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's Day 23 of...

Yesterday, I showed you guys how to make a ruffly skirt out of your hubs' old t-shirts.  Well, today, I'm showing you how to make a skirt out of a girl's dress.  So, basically, the moral of the story is:  Raid every closet in your house except your own, and see what you can come up with! :)

Here's the cutie patootie dress I got at Goodwill for $3.50.  It looked like it had never been worn! I would have never come across it, except it was mistakenly put in the women's section (maybe they thought it was a tunic?  I know I did at first, until I saw that it was a size 7, and there was no way it could be a junior's size 7), so I snatched it up, thinking that I could make it work as a shirt. But alas, the arm holes were too small and I couldn't think of a way to make them larger, plus the zipper in the back would have been a pain in the arse.  For a hot minute, I even thought about saving it for 7+ years until we had a girl who could fit into it, but then I realized that we'll all probably just be wearing spacesuits by then.  So, what to do, what to do...

That's when I realized that it was the fabric I really loved, and while I was sad to see the cute bib part go (don't worry, I saved it for a future project!), there was plenty of fabric to turn the bottom half of the dress into a skirt.

Old dress (this same idea would easily work for one of your own old dresses... maybe you have a stain on the top half?  or got a boob job?  don't throw that dress away - turn it into a skirt!)
1.5" elastic
Fabric for waistband (I used an IKEA curtain scrap.  Their curtains are super long and always have to be hemmed, so don't throw that excess fabric away - turn it into a waistband!)

Wow, this post is becoming one big advertisement for using what you have.  Love it!

~2 hours

Obviously, your dress will be completely different than mine, so these instructions will just be a jumping off point for your own awesome refashion.

First, cut off the bottom half of the skirt, as close as you can to the zipper.  My dress was lined, so I made sure to pin the fabric together in a few spots so my lining wouldn't slip out.

You want to cut as straight a line as possible, and since I don't have one of those awesomely huge cutting mats, I just used a white colored pencil and a ruler to mark where I needed to cut.

If I haven't mentioned it enough already, don't throw the top half away!  I'm sure you'll find some awesome use for it eventually.

Now I have a cute skirt with a raw top edge, pinned together to prevent slippage.

I gave you guys a tutorial yesterday on how to make an elastic waistband, so I won't bore you with the deets again, just refer to this post.

Then, like with the ruffle skirt, just sandwich your fabric and the lining in between the waistband and sew a topstitch all the way around, pulling the elastic tight as you go so you're not sewing through any ruffles.

And that's it!  No hemming involved because we just used the original bottom hem of the dress.

Obviously if your measurements are smaller or larger than the width of the dress, you'll have to do some alterations, but luckily, this dress converted into a perfect Jenna-sized skirt.

Why, yes, I just referred to myself in the third person.

Anywho, here's another close-up!

What I Learned:
To prevent having to basically start over on your waistband, for the love of all things holy, try it on before you sew it together!  Go ahead, throw a pin in there and make sure it will fit over your hips!  Sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised.

To read all 31 Days of Shut Up and Sew, click here.


  1. Great post! I did this with 3 maxi desses this past summer. I loved the fabric/print but the top never fit very well and I almost NEVER wore them. Now as skirts I've worn them more than ever!! And it's great that you don't have to know too much about sewing to get it done.

  2. SO cute!! I'm a new GFC follower :)