Refashioning Part 1 | Dress to Skirt

About six months ago I bought this dress from Target.  I fell in love with the colors in the print and was thrilled that it was on clearance. The only problem was I didn't try on the dress before I bought it. When I brought it home I found it was too short for me to wear. I was bummed. So bummed that I couldn't bare return it to the store. So in my closet it hung for months until just last week when I decided to turn the dress that was too short into a skirt that was plenty long enough for me to wear.

Here is what you will need should you choose to pull a similar stunt on one of your own wardrobe pieces:

A dress to be refashioned
Seam Ripper
Matching Thread
Sewing Machine
Serger (Optional)

This kind of tutorial works best with a garment already has an elastic waist. The dress I had to begin with had an elastic waist on an empire waistline.

Step 1: Unpick seam between bodice and skirt. For me this meant picking out not only the seam, but also removing the elastic that was encased between the bodice and skirt. You should end up with separate bodice and skirt pieces.
Step 2: Set the bodice aside. For this tutorial we will only be using the skirt. (I'm working on a second tutorial to put the unused bodice section to use, so stay tuned for that.) My dress had a lining as well, so once I had everything unpicked, I had the lining on the outside and the skirt inside, but they were two separate pieces and were not attached. If your skirt has a lining like mine, place the lining on the inside of skirt with RIGHT sides together.
Step 3: Stitch around the waist opening ensuring that the RIGHT sides are together. I also serged around this opening to help reduce fraying. You could use a zig-zag stitch for this if necessary. If your skirt doesn't have a lining, then just serge around the waist opening to prevent fraying.

Step 4: Once you've stitched your skirt and lining together, open up the skirt/lining so you have an hourglass-shaped tube. Turn the skirt and lining out so that the RIGHT sides are OUT. You can iron this seam flat if you wish.
Step 5: Turn the lining back on the inside of the skirt so you have a nice finished waist opening where the seam is hidden. 
Step 6: We are now going to create a casing for an elastic between the lining and skirt top. Decide what width of elastic you plan to use. I used a one inch elastic for mys kirt. Sew around the waist opening with enough space to place the elastic making sure to leave small opening to allow you to insert the elastic.
Step 7: Measure and cut your elastic to your desired size. Attach a safety pin at the end of your elastic and insert it into the space you left open for inserting the elastic. If you have a lining with your skirt, this space will only be accessible between the two layers of fabric. Push your elastic around the waist opening. It will help to move the gathering along the waist as you make your way around.
 Step 8: Once you've made your way around, attach the two elastic ends together and try on the skirt. If the elastic is too big, make the necessary adjustment.
Step 9: Once you have ensured the skirt elastic is just right for you, you'll need to stitch and secure the elastic to itself. I did this with my sewing machine by overlapping the two ends and sewing a box with a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite.
 Step 10: Evenly distribute the ruffles throughout the entire waist of the skirt. Stitch the small elastic opening closed.
Step 11: Wear your new skirt!!! I paired mine with a fun belt, nude heals, and a striped top for some pattern mixing fun.

I have big plans for the bodice of this dress that I unpicked from the skirt, so stay tuned for part two. Happy sewing!

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