Turning a Dress into a Skirt

This is a dress I made last summer.turning a dress into a skirt The pattern came free with a magazine. Despite some misgivings I decided to have a go at making it.

However, I should have heeded the warning on the packet. “Easy” is usually a synonym for “completely shapeless and won’t fit. You might get away with it if you are stick thin but if you are a bit chunky, forget it”.

I am definitely on the chunky side and there was no getting away from the fact that the finished dress looked like a sack. I made a little belt but it still looked dreadful. It was utterly shapeless and the facings wouldn’t behave. I pressed them the right way and understitched them, but it made no difference at all.

I do not like having clothes in my wardrobe that I do not wear because it is an inefficient use of space. So I set about turning this horrible, shapeless dress and its ridiculous facings into something I could actually wear without needing to cover most of it up with a knee length jumper.

I decided to turn it into a skirt and here is how to do it if you want to do the same!turning a dress into a skirt

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt

1. Try the dress on and mark where your waist is.turning a dress into a skirt

2. Remove the zipturning a dress into a skirt

3. Cut off the top part of the dress along where you marked with the pins. turning a dress into a skirtFold it in half to check that it is symmetrical.turning a dress into a skirt

4. Add the zip. The zip I used in the dress was quite long, too long for a skirt. Fortunately I had another, shorter zip in the same colour. Otherwise I would have cut down the original zip I used in the dress.

I pinned it over the back seam as this was where the zip was in the dress and some of the seam was still open. turning a dress into a skirtThen I tacked it, then sewed it in place. turning a dress into a skirtThen unpicked the rest of the back seam to free the zip.turning a dress into a skirtYou can find a more detailed tutorial in how to put in a zip here!

5. Try the skirt on. If it needs adjusting, you could either gather it or take it in at the sides. I took the sides in as it only need altering a little bit.turning a dress into a skirt

6. Make a waistband. It will need to be 8 – 10 cm wide and long enough to go round your waist, plus a bit extra. I used the belt I had made. You could use fabric from the top part of the dress or make the waistband out of different fabric altogether.

Fold the waistband half lengthways and press. Fold the raw edges into the middle and press again. Attach the waistband to the skirt by sewing the raw edge of the waistband to the raw edge of the skirt on the wrong side. turning a dress into a skirtThen fold the waistband over and top stitch all the way round, remembering to tuck the raw edges at the ends underneath.turning a dress into a skirt

Transformed! From this…turning a dress into a skirt

To this…!turning a dress into a skirtturning a dress into a skirt

About AnnaWilson

I'm Anna and I live in Norfolk with my four beautiful boys, my husband and a three legged cat. I don't have an actual craft room due to the fact that we are six messy people living in a not very big house. I do however have a pile of unfinished projects. Thankfully there is plenty of room in cyberspace, so make a cup of tea, pull up a chair and make yourself at home! And please leave me comments! And maybe like me on Facebook :)

10 comments on “Turning a Dress into a Skirt

  1. Phew, FINALLY! I’ve just bought a silver dress from a charity shop that I wanted to make in to a skirt for Christmas and have been trawling the internet for good tutorials on how to do this correctly. I was beginning to lose the will to live, as I didn’t want an elasticated waist and that was all I was being shown. This is exactly what I was looking for, so a huge thank you! Your skirt definitely looks great (much nicer than the dress!) and I love the fabric, so I just hope that mine turns out as well as yours did. I’ll need to cut down my zip, which I’ve not done before, so fingers crossed with that too!

  2. Have done many alterations but not zippers or whole patterns yet: how does the zip go up into the waistband so you can get into the skirt? Or does the waistband encase the top of the skirt and you sew it down either side of the zip? With a full skirt can I pleat extra fabric width under the band or need to sew separate pleats? Thanks if your able to help out xox

    • Hi Rebekah, you’ll need to sew the waistband so that on end starts on one side of the zip, then it goes round the skirt so that the other end is at the other side of the zip. There’s a tutorial here showing how to do this http://www.awilson.co.uk/how-to-attach-a-waistband/. As for pleats, I would put in a few stitches by hand near the top so that they’re covered by the waistband. If they turn out to be visible when you’ve finished, you can just take them out. Hope that helps!

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