Saturday, October 10, 2009

Girl's Dress Refashion

I found a dress in the $1 bin at my favorite consignment shop and liked it except for the fact that it was a back-less halter style. I like to dress my little girls like, well... little girls. So it came home with us but found new life as a skirt. I took pictures as I went so I could share; I was thinking this would work equally well to salvage a favorite dress that has a stain on the top.

Here is the original:

1. I cut the bodice off and measured my little victim daughter to find the length of the skirt that looked best when sitting at her natural waist. It was a bit long so I cut a couple inches off following the curve of the original waistline (the full skirt is folded in half in the pic). Here we see the dissected dress nicely laid out:

No? How 'bout this:

2. Cut a piece of coordinating fabric for the waistband. Go ahead, interrupt whatever your daughter is doing to measure her waist; she won't mind at all. Buggy's waist is about 19 inches, I needed 2 in. for ease so it can be pulled over her tushie and an inch for seam allowance. So I cut a 22 x 4(width) in. strip of white material. Sew the short sides together, right-sides facing, with 1/2 in. seam allowance to form a ring; press seam open (oops, didn't get a photo of this).

3. Sew, using a long stitch, 1/4 in. from the top of the skirt, leaving the threads long. Pull on one thread to gather the fullness of the skirt to the size of the waistband. Evenly distribute the gathering and pin, right-sides together, to the waistband:

4. Sew, with 3/8 in. seam allowance, so this stitching is just on the outside of the thread used to gather. Press the seam so the allowance is toward the waistband. Also, fold over the other long edge of the waistband 1/4 in. as shown in the photo and press:

5. Fold waistband in half, lengthwise, with wrong sides together so that the pressed edge slightly (1/8 in.) overlaps the stitching of the seam you just finished. Pin in place, but place your pins so they can be easily removed from the right-side of the material (you'll be sewing "blind"!). Like so:

6. Sew veeery carefully just along the right-side edge of the waistband so that the stitching catches the pressed edge in the back. Stop short of sewing all the way around, leaving a 3 in. opening to insert the elastic. See how the raw edges are enclosed in the waist now? Very nice:

7. Cut a piece of elastic that is equal to the waist measurement minus about 2 in. (17 in. for this example). Thread elastic thru the opening. You can just overlap the ends of the elastic and securely stitch them together to form a ring or try this method: Cut a small scrap of material the width of the elastic and sew the ends of the elastic to it. This way it lays flat and eliminates the uncomfy bump in the waist. First side:

2nd side:

8. Tuck elastic ends into the waistband and do a little test run to make sure it slips on and off easily. If all is well, finish stitching along the waistband.


I had originally planned to use the dress top to make sort of a sash/cummerbund but couldn't get it to look right. So I unpicked the little flowers on it and attached them to the waist of our skirt with some pink ribbon from the stash. With a flower left over to sew onto a hair elastic:


  1. I love it!! Nice job!

  2. Erika, that's gorgeous! And a bias-cut skirt, no less. What a find, and what a great job you did with it. Thanks for your interest in drafting. Dang, I wish it were easier to explain and "teach". I'll try my darnest though. See you soon(ish).