Soooo…I’ve had this dress for over a year now and have never worn it. All because while I love the pattern and the buttons in the back, it totally looks like a hospital gown on me. Which isn’t quite the look I was going for – and I didn’t come to that realization until it was too late to return it, unfortunately. It actually looks worse in person, the photos make it look cuter than it is.
Anyway, in an attempt to salvage the situation (there are some redeeming qualities), I had it turned into a shirt! And am sharing the tutorial for how it was done today, just in case you have an old dress in the closet that could use a similar treatment.
I took a quick pic of the before and after on me, but Sara was kind enough to model the more glam after version.
I styled her exactly as I would wear it…with black jeans (of course)…I’m not even sure I own jeans in a color that isn’t black at this point. And while we are different body types, it does look similar on me… It’s a boxy style, that kind of works on anyone and is really comfy / carefree.
Here’s how to convert a dress into a skirt in under 30 minutes…
1. The first thing I would recommend doing is trying the dress on and deciding on a length that you like for the shirt. I’m 5’3 and decided I wanted my shirt to hit around 18 inches from the neckline, but depending on whether you’re taller or shorter, you may want to alter that measurement. And you’ll also lose 1/2 inch when sewing, so keep that in mind.
AND I wanted to add a unique detail to the shirt as well, so I decided to make the back of the shirt slightly longer than the front and create a side vent in the process, similar to the original style of the dress (which was one of my favorite parts of the original). I decided the back of the shirt would be 19.5 inches (and again, I knew I would lose 1/2 inch in sewing).
2. Once I had the overall design and measurements down, we made a few marks on the dress and everything was cut down to size. For the side vents…there were pockets in the original dress, so those were cut out and that formed a slit on the sides of the shirt. But you can also just cut the slits yourself from the side seam (or use a seam ripper) and then tidy up the edges with some sewing which I’ll explain in step 3.
3. The next step is sewing. Super simple – just a few straight lines to tidy up all of the raw edges and you’re done. You may want to pin the fabric down to give yourself a guide. We folded the shirt in at the bottom about a half inch and hemmed a straight stitch across the front of the shirt, then the back of the shirt, and the side vents. Then cut any long pieces of thread, etc and it’s ready to wear.
There’s a little part of me that’s always wanted to design clothes (it was one of my dreams in high school – like everyone else, I imagine). So, this was a fun little project to put together.
It’s not exactly a clothing line (haha), but it’s nice to get some use out of an old piece of clothing again.
Sewing Liz Scoper
Modeling Sara Karr
Do you have an old dress like mine that could use an upgrade? And more importantly…are there any other DIY sewing projects you’d like to see in the future? I’m all ears.