Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Turning a Dress Into a Skirt

When I first bought this mini dress from New York & Company a couple of years ago, it fit like a dream. But over time — and many washings — it started to shrink and fit awkwardly. It used to be a cute empire-waist style (without the flare that you normally see in empire-waisted clothing), but the empire line now cuts straight across the bust. While the length doesn't bother me when I'm standing, it's impossible to sit down without the dress riding up in the back and flashing everyone. Both my sister and my husband have commented on it. No bueno.

So I tossed it in the Goodwill pile.

It sat there for a few days, and then I found a blog post that changed my life. (Sadly, I can't remember whose blog it was, and now it's gone forever.) It was a post about re-fashioning your dresses into skirts when they no longer fit properly as dresses.

I immediately rescued my pink dress and decided I would turn it into a cute knit skirt. If I could make the original bust line into the new waist line, it would be long enough to be — in effect — a pencil skirt. I'm not that great at sewing, but I can hem things and sew straight lines, and the material is stretchy anyway so I didn't have to do complicated things like add zippers. One thing at a time.

I got down to business with an episode of Project Runway and my seam-ripper. It took me most of the episode just to get the top separated from the skirt. If it weren't for the shrinkage, I am confident this dress would have lasted forever. It was very well-assembled, and that makes me feel better about blowing all my clothing money at NY&Co all the time.

My goodness that top looks tiny!

Once the bodice seams were removed, there was a folded loose edge along the top of the now-skirt, so after procuring the correct color of thread, I pinned it and sewed it down.

Then, I folded the top over to form a "waistband" and sewed two lines about an inch apart. (Note: if using stretchy knits, make sure you don't stretch the fabric as you're sewing or it will look baggy.)

And done!

Top: White House Black Market; Shoes: Seychelles "Code" via Endless; Earrings: Target; Bracelets: J.Crew and Forever 21

I have another dress I'd like to make into a skirt as well, but I know for sure I will need to remove the existing zipper and sew in a new, shorter one to finish it. I don't think I'm ready for that yet.

Do you ever re-fashion clothes that don't fit right?


  1. Very cute!!! That's awesome that you were able to keep it as a skirt (I also spend a decent amount at NY&C).

  2. I am so impressed! Sewing is not even remotely in my skill set, but projects like these make me wish otherwise :)

    1. If I can do it, you can do it! It was literally just sewing straight lines all the way around!