Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dress to a Skirt Tutorial

This is my first attempt at writing a tutorial.  If you have any tips or comments please let me know so I can improve.  I would love to hear from you.

I've had this dress sitting in a pile of clothes that I either need to hem or change completely in order to wear them. Since this pile keeps growing and I am moving into my dorm room in a week, I figure I need to stop procrastinating.  I got this dress a few months back when someone was cleaning out their closet.
The dress just does not look good on me... even when I add a belt.  I love the print of the fabric so I knew I wanted to make it wearable.

1. To figure out where to should cut the dress, hold it up to your body at the right length you want the skirt to be.  Cut the dress at the line where it hits your waist.  You can also lay the dress on top of a skirt you already own to figure out where to cut it.

2. After cutting the dress and the lining, Used your overcasting foot to sew where you just cut to stop it from fraying and to secure the two layers together. This is the zig-zag looking stitch in the picture below.  If you don't have an overcasting foot, a normal zig-zag stitch set at a short stitch lenght will work too.

 3. Then fold 1/2 inch of the top edge over to the inside of the skirt and sew 1/4 inch from the top. (see above)

4. For this skirt, we are using elastic thread to create shirring at the top of the skirt.  Here is a great tutorial for shirring.  It is the one that I used to learn how to do this.

5. Wrap the elastic thread loosely (very slightly stretch it) by hand onto your bobbin.  You will be using this elastic thread as the bobbin and normal thread as the top thread.
6. Backstitch about 3 times to secure the elastic and star 1/4 inch from the top of your skirt sew all the way across the top of the skirt.  Just before you reach where you started, start to turn and sew at a diagonal line to continue to make another line 1/4 inch below the one you just sewed.  Continue spiraling down until you have about 7 lines evenly spaced.  You can add a couple more lines if you want, 7 just works for me.

       6.5.  If you have a Brother sewing machine, some of them do not like elastic thread.  They will sew and not create any shirring at all.  On the bobbin case, there is a green screw and I usually have to turn it 2 complete turns clockwise, in order to use elastic thread.  Here is a great tutorial that can explain it a million times better than I can.
 7. After sewing the rows of stitching this is what your skirt should look like.  You should be able to tell that the waist is a bit gathered and elasticized.
 8. Take an iron that is set for steam and hold it OVER NOT DIRECTLY ON the fabric that is shirred.  The fabric will shrink up even more.  Do this all the way around the top until you see the elastic stop shrinking.
 9. This is what it should look like after all of that.
 Here is the finished product! I like it the most when I pair it with this belt that I made using this tutorial.

 Here it is without the belt
 I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  I had a lot of fun creating it!

I am linking this to... Making Monday Marvelous at C.R.A.F.T. and Made With Love Link Up at Sew Chatty


  1. If you want to start a boutique with your sewing skills, it will be very advantageous if you take classes. You should learn more about the terminologies used in sewing, equipment to be used, techniques, as well as how the business runs. You don’t want to go to a battlefield unprepared. Learning how to sew is a fun activity that you can do as a hobby or as a source of income.

  2. This is a great trnsformation! The dress did nothing for you - you are right - but the skirt is cute as can be. I especially like it with the dark tank. Good job! I didn't know about steaming the newly elasticized protion to make it shrink up - that could be the missing link for me with projects that just didn't do as well as I imagined.

  3. Oh, oh, oh!

    Cute transformation and great tute!

    Keep 'em coming!

    Visiting from the Networking Blog Hop and loving what I'm seeing.

    I'm a new follower and would love for you to stop by for a visit! : )

    ~Abbie (


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