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DIY dress to skirt refashion

One last refashion blog post to round out the month, this one is simple and fast. This DIY dress refashion to a skirt takes a frumpy, old fashioned formal dress and turns it into a modern, swingy skirt. I can’t imagine anyone wearing the ‘before’ but the ‘after’ is a great basic piece to mix and match in my wardrobe!

If you don’t have any dresses to work from, check out my tips for shopping to refashion & upcycle here! If you already have a dress, read my tips for actually sewing refashions here! I have done similar but different projects in the past – like when I sewed the elastic to the skirt instead of threading it through in this post on how to turn a maxi dress into a maxi skirt. and when I created a casing for a knit dress to skirt refashion.

The before was so. much. fabric. I loved the color and I loved how it felt – the tag confirmed my guess that it was 100% rayon. I didn’t want to mess with taking in the waist and working around pleats, so I looked for something that would fit my waist as-is (which this did!).

Initially I thought I might turn the top into some type of cropped blouse to wear with the skirt, but the princess seaming and embroidery rendered most of the fabric unusable. I did cut out the sleeves to maybe use on a future project.

Ta-da! In the past I have done much more dramatic refashions with dyes, embroidery, etc. but I really loved how this looked plain and simple. I’ve just started wearing skirts again now that my kids are past the crawling stage and this will fit into my closet nicely.

I actually hand sewed the hem; I initially had planned on recreating the blind stitch that they used but forgot about the folding method required until after I’d already pressed them standard hem into place. I don’t know what stitch I used, I just sewed it like a quilt binding, and I LOVE how it looks.

I did the same thing to the top! This method did leave the top of the zipper peeking out, which I’m sure would bother some purists, so avert your eyes if you are professionally taught. I feel good in this skirt, I saved it from the bin, and I love it!

Pin this DIY dress refashion to a skirt tutorial here:

Want to try this refashion tutorial out for yourself? Here is how!

DIY vintage dress refashion



Step 1 – Separate the bodice from the skirt. The dress I was using already had a seam here, and the skirt top was serged, otherwise I would’ve needed to finish this edge before proceeding.

Step 2- I used my ruler & rotary cutter to trim off the bottom after I tried it on and marked where I wanted it to fall (and then added some length back, mentally, to account for them hem).

Step 3- I used my ruler and a chalk pencil to mark off the hem, and then pressed it up once and once more so there weren’t any exposed edges.

Step 4- I used my iron to press the top edge over once and then hand sewed it down, and hand sewed my hem. Here is an idea of how I hand sewed it, with my stitches spaced further out. You can barely see it from the front!

Let me know what you think about this skirt refashion!

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Wednesday 13th of June 2018

I had thought about using this approach to repurposing a fully lined rayon dress into a more boho style skirt. I devided on panels of the original outer fabric broken up by panels of the lining. Same fabric compisition same fabric weight. Just one is patterned and one is solid. So glad to see Im not the only one wanting to hold on to beautiful fabrics, not so beautiful old designs. They can be reborn, repurposed, revitalized.

Stephanie - Swoodson Says

Sunday 15th of July 2018

Please let me know if you try it, it sounds like a fun experiment! You are definitely not alone in trying to rescue beautiful fabrics :) Thanks for reading, Marsha.

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