How to turn a dress into a skirt

Now this isn’t one of those Facebook life hacks videos which has the weirdest ways of turning clothing into other pieces of clothing…. this is a proper sewing tutorial!

I have a habit of buying secondhand clothing with the intention of upcycling it but I never usually get round to doing it. Until now. This is the perfect time for me to get all those little projects done because I have no excuses and plenty of time!

Back at the start of the year I did a sewing tutorial on how to alter a skirt to make it smaller (which you can read HERE) which got a good response, so I thought I’d do another. All you need is a dress you wanna turn into a skirt, a sewing machine, and a basic knowledge of how to use it. This does require a zip to be sewn in which you could avoid by getting a dress that buttons up, or asking a family member or a friend very nicely.

I got this GORGEOUS mustard yellow dress in the British Heart Foundation charity shop over a year ago with the intention of wearing it all summer. It’s a size 8 which I sometimes fit into, sometimes don’t. Unfortunately it didn’t fit. I have a size 8 waist but the top half of me is more of a 10 so I couldn’t do up the back, it only went to waist.

It’s been hanging in my wardrobe ever since because I couldn’t bear to get rid of it until I had the idea to just turn it into a skirt! It’s originally from ASOS if you were wondering.

I have tried to make this tutorial as simple as I can, I hope you can still follow along.

Easy first step, just remove the zip. If you don’t have an unpicker tool then a small sharp pair of scissors will be sufficient to cut all the thread surrounding the zip. Don’t cut any fabric on the dress or the zip, just the thread, because you want this all in great condition for when you have to sew the zip back in later.

It does depend on the style of dress as to how to approach this because there’s so many different styles out there. This is obviously for one with a tight bodice and full skirt. This same principle would apply with an a line dress that’s not fitted. You would have to make a waist band out of the excess fabric from the top. I wish I could do a thousand variations of this post for all the different dresses but unfortunately I can’t.

So you need to fold the fabric down inside the dress, (not outside!!!) to create a waist band. Obviously you can adjust the thickness depending on how thick you want the band to be, go wild!

So this on the left is what the inside of the dress should look like! This photo above shows what it should look like on the outside once you have sewn a straight line along the top.

Now it actually looks like a skirt, you just need to sort the inside out!

So if you then cut the fabric from the top back to the seam.

The seam is where the two fabric meets and you can easily see it because you will be able to see the stitching from it.

By slightly folding the edges over mean that it will look a lot neater, otherwise if you just sewed it then the fabric could potentially fray and it would look a mess.

It’s easy to say, just sew the zip back in, but it’s harder to do it. I know.

I mentioned this in the last sewing post I did, but it’s really hard to describe through photos how to sew a zip in. Therefore if you don’t know how to do it then I would recommend finding a YouTube Video, there’s loads out there! All it really requires is 2 lines of machine stitching down the edges and then a little handsewing at the bottom where the zip meets the fabric.

Et voila! You now have one, not so brand new, skirt!

I never wear midi skirts so this is a first for me, because it’s 2020 so why not?!? I actually really love this and it’s so comfortable to lounge around in as well surprisingly. I have paired it with a cropped purple top so it’s a bit more casual but I would definitely add a cute shirt or something if I had something fancy to go to. I think it would look great with both heels or converse.

I really hope that this was useful/helpful/inspiring…. I don’t know, but let me know anyway! I am happy to do more sewing tutorials if the demand is there.

Anyone else love this boho look? How’s isolation going for you?


Check out some of my recent posts:

9 thoughts on “How to turn a dress into a skirt

  1. What a beautiful piece! I love that skirt a million times more than the original dress, even though the original was also cute. You are so creative!

    Liked by 1 person

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