Monday, September 12, 2011

DIY: Dress to Skirt Re-fashion

I've told a few people that I will post of some of my sewing ventures... here's my most recent one!

One of my absolute favorite sewing projects is sewing clothes for myself. Selfish, yes?? It's just SO easy to do, and it definitely saves money. The EASIEST way to sew for yourself is to take a piece of clothing and tweak it. No cutting out tons of pieces of fabric. Not a ton of measuring. No need to hem, most of the time. It's so, so fun to "go shopping" in your own closet for clothes that you don't wear much anymore and just play around on the sewing machine to create a brand new piece for yourself (or little ones!). Shopping at the thrift store is another cheap and easy way to find clothes to re-fashion. Anyway... on to the project!

As most of you know, we are due with Parker's baby sister December 2nd so I'm dealing with an ever-growing belly. I decided to go digging in my maternity box for this fun project. I found a big, frumpy, tent-of-a-dress. I actually loved this dress when I was pregnant with Parker, but I was a little bigger this far along in my first pregnancy than I am right now... hence the tent-like shape. I wanted a little more updated look so I decided to turn it into a high-waisted "paper bag" -type skirt:

My first step was to cut off the neckline and sleeves. Straight across.

Next, I turned the skirt portion inside out, pulled it up around my waist, and tested out a good length. Once I decided the length I wanted, I folded the top portion down where I wanted it to hit (at my waist, at least what's left of it) and pinned it all the way around. (Before you pin, you can always iron down the fold to give it a nice, crisp edge.) I made sure to measure the same length from the fold to the raw edge so the length would be even.
**Sidenotes: I didn't need to add length in the front for my skirt because the dress was already a maternity dress. Also, you can tell I'm dealing with a BUNCH Of extra material where I folded the skirt over. I decided to wait to cut off the extra material just in case I decided to change the length after trying it on. Finally, you may have noticed that I didn't hem the raw edge... this dress is made of a knit material which doesn't fray! No need to worry about hemming when it won't fray and no one will see it! :)

The next image is just to show you about how far down from the fold I made my stitch to end up giving it a little bit of a paper bag skirt feel.

Next, you will make another stitch around the top of the skirt to create a tube for your elastic. My elastic is about 3/4 inch to an inch wide, and I just wrapped it around my waist to measure the length. (Remember to overlap it by at least a half inch to an inch so you can secure it together at the end.) I just used my elastic as a marker to see how far down I needed to make my second stitch and made a mark with a pin.

Go ahead and sew the second stitch. Mark all way around the skirt with pins to sew an even tube OR you can use the metal plate as a guide like I did in the picture below. REMEMBER to leave a gap the width of your elastic between where you start and finish your stitch so you can thread the elastic through!

Here's the gap:

The easiest way to thread elastic through a tube is to attach a safety pin to one end and push it through. Trust me, you will end up spending an hour trying to push the elastic through on its own!

In the picture below, I think I was trying to show you the extra fabric I cut off and the elastic I was threading through the tube... not a vital step... but in case you wondered what this step looked like, here it is:

ALMOST DONE! Once the elastic is all the way through you need to sew the elastic together. Don't worry. No one will see this, so do whatever it takes to make it secure. I usually sew a box and an 'X' through it a couple times...

Finally, (and I didn't show you because it's self-explanatory) sew along the gap you left for the elastic and turn the skirt right side out! That's all. If you want to cut a piece of fabric for a sash, you could do that at this point, or just wear a belt over cinched part. OR not... it would look great without either! Here's the final product paired with a loose shirt and a belt:
The great part about this skirt is that it will fit me until at least close to the end of the pregnancy! Another great thing? This tutorial works for you non-maternity wearing peeps. You may wear it a little differently since you probably have a waist, but the steps are just the same!

Kyle decided to do a photo shoot. Here are his lack of photography skills paired with my lack of modeling skills:

Pose #1:
Pose #2:
Pose #3:

Now that I've embarrassed myself, I will finish this forever long post... Here's a tutorial for another Paper Bag skirt tutorial and a high-waisted maternity skirt DIY. If you want to sew for yourself, this a great place to start! Let me know if you try it out! :)


  1. Okay, I want to go home and do this. Please post more!!!