Thursday, August 15, 2013

maxi skirt to dress refashion (with tutorial!)

We're so excited today to be posting this tutorial. We originally wrote this as a guest post a few weeks ago for the lovely Megan at Homemade Ginger! We thought today we'd re-share this tutorial with you all for how to make this adorable dress out of an oversized maxi skirt:

I (Jessica) had this maxi skirt from forever ago, it came with us in my fabric stash when we moved to Idaho from Washington State. I loved the pattern and fabric, but there was no way it was ever going to fit me. It was huge! Seriously, I could have made a maxi dress out of just that one skirt! I could hold it up under my armpits and it would still reach my toes, look:

The problem was that as a maxi dress it would have been super overwhelming with all that pattern. Not only that but it was just a hair too short to reach my feet as a full maxi dress. I am super picky about how I like my maxi's to fit, and this wasn't it. So it sat in my stash until one day, inspiration hit!

And voila, this dress was born!

And I'm going to show you what I did to make it! It's pretty simple, but kind of hard to explain without a few pics as visual aid. Here we go!

First, I measured myself from my shoulders to just above my knees where I wanted the dress's hem to hit. Then I cut off the top of the maxi dress to match that measurement. This will become the new "top" of the dress, and you'll use the original hem as your new hem:

Then out of my new "top" of the dress, I cut a basic neckline and sloped the shoulders a bit. I also used the seam ripper to open up the sides of the skirt, under the new shoulders I had just cut, about seven inches. Once you sew up your shoulder seams, these will become your new armholes:

Then I sewed up the shoulder seams. After my new shoulders were sewn, I tried the dress on and cut the front of the neckline a little lower then the back, like so:

I cut four long 1 1/2 inch wide strips using the original waistband fabric (not pictured). These will become the binding on your new neckline and arm holes. I sewed the ends together so I had a circle that would fit the neckline I cut:

Then I pinned it together, making sure to stretch my neck binding a bit as I went. This will help it to lay flat when it's finished:

I then sewed the binding in by using a zig zag stitch all around the neckline. I repeated this process for the new armholes as well.

Once you have your neckline and armholes bound, you will have a basic tube of fabric that is starting to look like a dress! But pretty shapeless, right? Try it on and make sure everything so far fits! If it's all right, then cut a length of elastic to fit around you waist. Then you need to measure the length from the bottom of your arm hole, to where you want the waistline to be:

My measurement was about 6 inches from the bottom of the arm hole. I marked that spot on both sides with a pin. Then flipped my dress halfway inside out like this, folding it up from the pins I just placed as markers:

I pinned all along the bottom edge of the fold, making sure it was straight! This will be your elastic casing for your waistband elastic:

Then I sewed about 1/2 inch from the edge to create a casing for the waistband elastic, using a zig zag stitch, leaving about an inch open at the end:

Then, going in from the right side of my dress, I threaded the elastic through my new casing:

I tried the dress on again, adjusted the length of the elastic until it was perfect, then I sewed the tails of the elastic together with a zig zag stitch, and sewed the last inch of the casing closed. Done!

From that gigantic maxi skirt, I got this new dress!

I love it! The fabric is so much less overwhelming as a swingy little dress then as a huge voluminous maxi skirt. And because I made it specifically for my own body it is super flattering! Score!

Let me know what you think!  I hope this inspires you to go check out your closet and see what you can refashion yourself. I just love how something like a piece of clothing that doesn't fit  can be made into cute new clothes with just some basic sewing skillz!

If you want to see more of our clothing refashions, you can always check them out here!



  1. So cute, you did a great job! ~Ann at Tarnished Royalty

  2. What a great dress! Looks like it fits you perfectly. I will have to go through my closet and try this out on a skirt of mine. I love these kinds of projects.

  3. I LOVE your new dress! Well done!

  4. Adorable! I love your fashion sense and everything you wear and make! Brilliant!

  5. Love this!!! Very cute refashion! I would LOVE for you to share this at "That's My Style" Link Party going on TODAY on my blog. I hope to see you there! :)

    Karla @


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