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Monday, May 5, 2014

how-to: refashion a maxi-dress into a skirt

dress to skirt refashion
The shirr sewing technique is a great option for refashioning oversized jersey maxi dresses and shirts, into skirts. Your basically creating a waist band for your garment simply using elastic thread.
I paired my striped skirt with a denim top, and an antique key & beach pendant necklace combo for that vintage, nautical, sailor look that I love!
1. Loosley hand wrap your bobbin with elastic thread.  You will be sewing your rows of stitching, on the top side of your fabric, with regular thread for your top stitch and elastic thread in bobbin. 
2. Use a piece of scrap fabric to practice your shirr stitch. Adjust your sewing machine's tension, stitch size and length, until your bottom stitch is perfect. 
(see below, this is the underside/bottom of my fabric) 
I tried a lower and higher tension, with a larger stitch setting, but got a bunchy bobbin thread. Then, I tried regular tension, with my stitch size and length set to 3 and it was perfect. 
3. Cut your shirt or dress to a length that works well for your skirt. I cut my maxi dress so I could wear it as a maxi skirt, and I didn't hem the top of the fabric! I simply began my first stitch right below where I'd cut the fabric. I stitched four separate rows, each time, starting at the side seam, and stitching on top of fabric, all the way around to meet side seam, following the navy stripe. Then vertically, along both side seams where I had shirred the fabric. 

4. Finishing/option one-you can leave lengthy ends of elastic thread to tie to finish, so your stitching doesn't come undone. Or......

 5. Finishing option two- you can forward and back stitch. This is what I opted to do!

Check out a few of the tutorials that inspired me:
Sandi of Portabellopixie's has a great shirr tutorial.
Melissa shared a shirt skirt on her blog  Sew Like a Mom.
Carolyn of Kitty Adventures made two sweet skirts in her tutorial. 
My refashion was featured at:

I'm joining up at these lovely link parties.


  1. What a cute look for Summer! I might have a dress I could try this with. Thanks for sharing with Hump Day Happenings!

  2. thank you for linking my skirts in your post :) lovely blog you have here!

  3. Hi Michele,

    So nice to meet you!

    Great redo and wonderful, simple to follow tutorial! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Poppy. Can't wait to read more about your adventures, projects and Crete on your blog:)

  4. What a cute project. Love the nautical look!

  5. I've never even heard of this sewing technique before--that turned out awesome!

  6. What a great idea! This is perfect summer dresses! Thank you so much for linking up at Party in Your PJs.

  7. Great tutorial! Thank you for sharing. You are one of the features at the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Here's the link to the party. Hope to see your prettiness again at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  8. Great tutorial on turning a dress into a skirt! Thanks for sharing at my Creative Ways Link Party! Hope to see you again this week!

  9. I tried that elastic but it didn't work for me. Now I need to find that bobbin and try again while changing the stitches. Why didn't anyone mention that?!?! Thanks for the hints and tips and lovely skirt!!

    1. Buy the thinest elastic thread you can find, i found mine at a larger Joann's store. Wrap elastic thread onto your sewing machine bobbin by hand! Then practice on scrap fabric that is similar to your project fabric. Have fun! Thanks so much for visiting:)

  10. What a fabulous idea! Since I am tall and most maxi-skirts re too short (not to my ankles) this would be a great solution! Thanks for sharing!! Have a happy week!! :)
    xox, Crystelle

    1. Thank you! Yes, you could make it any length. This maxi dress shrank and was too short for me!

  11. oh thats a good idea. I'd wear the skirt a lot more than the dress. i'll have to keep this in mind when i see dresses like this now.
    Thanks for contributing this post to The Sunday Brunch Magazine!
    All the best,

    1. Thank you! Right, with a skirt you can wear it so many more ways!