PlanetJune Craft Blog

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refashion: skirt to dress

The August whiplash challenge is called ‘wardrobe surgery’ and involves refashioning an exisiting piece of clothing by deconstruction/reconstruction or embellishment/decoration.

I looked through my old clothes and found this long skirt that I used to love in the mid ’90s, but now it’s hopelessly high-waisted and really doesn’t do anything for my body type:

Yuck! I hope it didn’t always look this bad on me! It’s so unflattering…

Here it is laid out on the floor (inside out) so you can see the shape of it: 

How did I turn this into the cute strapless dress shown below?

First I took in the side seams between the original waistband and the new hip area. I added two vertical darts at the front between the bust and waist to fit the bodice more closely, and then added two more vertical darts at the back from the shoulder blades to just below the waist, to fit the curve of my back.

I turned the old elasticated waistband inside the dress (which helps to keep it from falling down – always a risk with a strapless top), and took the bottom of the dress up by 12cm to bring it up to knee length. I used the excess fabric cut from the bottom of the dress to make straps, but the dress looked better without, so I removed them again. I was also considering making a fabric flower to accessorise, but I think the dress looks classy the way it is, so I’m going to keep it simple.

I love the fit of this dress! I can never buy dresses because of my pear-shaped figure, but this does exactly what a dress should do – fits around my top half, and floats over the areas I don’t want to emphasise. It took a lot of pinning and re-pinning (and in some cases unpicking seams and trying again) before I got the dress to fit like this, but it was worth it!

I’m entering this into the deconstruct/reconstruct category on whiplash.


  1. Hannah said

    That is gr8! I am 12 and have taken an intrest in sewing. I got my first sewing machine when I was 10 and now I love it. I’ll see if my mom has some old skirts up in the attic ( which btw is a mess! ) Thanx 4 all the help!

  2. Madura said

    that’s really good. i have some long skirts from relatives i don’t wear. will be nice to alter them for summer.

  3. Samantha said

    The second i looked at the picture of you in the dress, i thought it was a picture of a girl in a magazine dress ad. Seriously, you look amazing in it. I would wear it! And that’s coming from a really picky teenager. I’ve been trying to find a way to make a strapless dress for my first high school prom. Going into HS this year! I need to get a head start if i want it to be perfect. So wish me luck!

  4. Alex said

    i want to do this exact thing with an old skirt of mine!
    i just dont know how to do it!

  5. mary said

    very very lovely dress u got there i like it in a dress than a long skirt…

  6. meli said

    Lovely dresses! I’m also a pear. (What a fantastic fruit. Dried pears in baked goods? Wow…) Btw, as such, I’m quite partial to baby dollish or empire waist. I’ve seen some tanks and dresses with bodice/straps replaced with colorful crochet. Fuuun, and a way to fix a beloved item that may not quite fit up top. But I digress…great dresses!

  7. Robinsbluegg said

    Your reconstruction of that skirt was so inspiring. Today someone gave me a huge pile of hand-me-downs,including some skirts similar to yours and I hope I can be as creative as you!

  8. Eddy said

    you are absolutely creative. that skirt on your beautiful figure makes me attracted to you. it makes you sexy!!!

  9. Kelly said

    Wow!!! You did a Great job! I have several old skirts like yours, and I have kept them because the fabric is so pretty that I couldnt bear to get rid of them! What a perfect idea, and it does look very flattering on you.!!

  10. Regina said

    Very well done- It is very classy and ellegant!

  11. June said

    Thank you all for the comments! This was my first attempt at altering clothing, except taking up trousers that are *always* too long for me, so I think anyone could do it, provided you have a) a decent sewing machine, and b) enough patience to keep trying it on (while avoiding being scratched by the pins) until the fit is perfect.

    Oh, and my other top tip would be to measure across the width of the original skirt at several points to find the centre, and then, with a chalk pencil, draw the centre line all the way down the wrong side of the fabric (inside of the skirt). That way you can make sure your darts match on each side, by making them the same distance away from the centre line.

  12. bekka said

    gosh, how lovely that came out. lucky you. or, clever you! i like it much better as a dress.

  13. charlotte said

    it looks great!

  14. susan said

    Love it! you did a beautiful job and after seeing this example I wonder if I could do it! So great!

  15. Wendi said

    Wow! What a great job! And it looks fabulous on you!

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