Do you remember this dress I bought a few weeks ago at a thrift store for about £3? Even though it was about 2 sizes larger and I could not picture it on myself at all, I decided to bring it home with me.
It wasn’t only because it was really cheap, but I have tried to sew sequins and beads on garments before and so I knew what a gift it is to have a piece of fabric that is 100% silk and full of hand sewn beads in the fabric pile, just in case. I bought it on the same day as the Zara skirt and I liked how that one looked cool because of its simple design (an elastic band on the waist)- and chic because of the silk scarf print. I thought this could might as well work on this dress if I cut it in half, so that’s what I did. It was simple as that.
Okay, maybe not just that simple, but I only made one mistake and could correct it after 20 minutes wasted right away, so instead of long instructions, here is the recipe for successfully turning a dress into a skirt in no time!
- Measure the length of your new skirt (add at least 5 centimeters on top of the desired length).
- Mark it on the dress and cut it (this is the scariest part, I promise!)
- Switch your sewing machine to zigzag stitch and neaten the raw edges.
- Decide how long you want the frill on top of the skirt to be, then mark this and pin it down, inside out.
- Stitch the top seam (mine is 3 cm from the top).
- Put the elastic band below the first seam. Hold it there as close as you can, secure the ends with pins and sew below it.
- Try on the skirt pulling the elastic to the right fit. Secure this with a pin and take the skirt off carefully.
- Stitch the ends of the elastic bands to the skirt and clear the inside of the skirt up.
Click on the photos to enlarge them!
The inspiration for it all.
The casing for the elastic waistband on the Zara skirt.
Step 1: Measure the length of your new skirt.
Remember to add at least 5 centimetres on top of the desired length.
Step 2: Mark it on the dress.
Step 3: Switch your sewing machine to zigzag stitch first and neaten the raw edges.
The dress had a lining, so I pinned the two layer together before sewing.
Step 4: Measure the seam allowances needed. (I left 3 cms for the frilly part + 1 cm for the elastic waistband + ~1 cm for seam allowance.)
Step 5: Stitch the upper seam.
The elastic band goes right below the first seam, in between the two sides of the fabric.
Secure the ends of the elastic band before making the second seam.
Step 6: Finish the casing for the elastic band with the second seam.
Step 7: See how it fits best and secure the ends of the elastic band with pins.
Step 8: Sew it from the outside so that you stay in the line of the original side seam of the skirt.
This is how mine looks from the inside…
Remember to cut once, measure twice(!), but do not worry too much as it will be hard to spot the length differences since it isn’t supposed to be staying straight on your waist anyway.
The mistake I made was making the casing for the waistband before I inserted it. The casing was just big enough to put it in on the first few centimetres but I could not find a way to pull it through the whole skirt, so after half an hour of intense suffering I gave up on it, acknowledged my mistake, patted myself on the shoulder and well…ripped the second seam out.
Despite this tiny little failure, this skirt is still one of the cheapest/easiest/best looking projects as of yet, so good luck for anyone thinking about giving it a try!