Repurposing Clothes: Girl’s Dress from a Skirt Tutorial

When I spent all that time going through clothes a few weeks back, I created a bin for repurposing clothes. There were plenty of fabrics I wanted to keep and reuse or upcycle.   This skirt was given to me by my Mother about two years back.  I loved the print but truthfully it makes my hips look even larger than they are.  I don’t wear it, but just couldn’t part with it, it was Mother’s and she wore it often.  Last week I was looking for fabric for Austin’s next two rag upcycled quilt blocks and pulled it out.

I thought it would make a cute little summer dress for Addie and it did!  When you look at upcycling clothing you have so many possibilities.  Sometimes I am in need of something for one of the kids and I can’t find what I need at a reasonable price.  Now just find a fabric you like and get creative!

I started by having her try it on to see how much length would need to be taken off.  I measured around her chest to also see how much would need to be taken off the actual waist.  It already had a zipper on the side, which I choose to use.   (I did actually do this without cloths, but that was the night before.  For a photo she left her cloths on).  Simply mark with straight pins or cloth marker to know how much fabric will need to be removed.

I laid the skirt out and starting cutting off the excess.  Be sure to not cut too much.  It is so much easier to cut more as to trying to figure out how to add it back 🙂  I cut one layer at a time.  This skirt happens to have a thin cotton lining to add to the fullness so I cut through all four layers. Then I removed about 4 1/2 inches off the bottom, but this would vary depending on how long your skirt is and the height of your child.  To be sure the fit would be correctly, I wrapped it around her again and then removed about one more inch of fabric before I started sewing.

I first started at the bottom seams and sewed them with a quarter of an inch seam.  Since there were two layers I started with the outer layer first with the floral print and then sewed the lining.

Next I sewed the side seam closed.  To make sure the fit is comfortable, I decided to sew each layer separately.  I started with the lining again, put your rights sides together (the front patterned side that will be facing out), make sure your seams line up together.  I pinned them together at the seams first and then pinned every 3″ or so.  I then sewed with a 1/4″ seam.

I repeated with the floral print fabric as well.  Make sure again the seams line up first.

Now you can turn it right side out and try it again to see if you need to adjust the fit.  Next comes the straps.  I used the extra fabric I had cute from the bottom of the skirt to make the straps.  Measure the length you will need.  I made mine 10″ long and 3″ wide.  (I ended up with these a little long and adjusting to 8″ long.

Fold them in half with the right sides together and sew with a 1/4″ seam down the entire strip, leaving both ends open.  Once you sew both, then using your fingers, turn them right-side out.

I choose to iron my seams on the inside of the straps, but you could choose to leave them on the side.  I preferred it due to the pattern of the fabric.  Unfortunately, since this skirt was lined there wasn’t an easy way to attach the straps in a clean way without taking the skirt apart.  Since no one will be looking inside the dress I didn’t mind, I take the short cut.

I pinned the right side of the straps inside the skirt where I had measured equally on both sides.

Next I sewed a 1/4″ seam from the top of the dress all the way around the what will now be the chest.  I then made a second line of stitching to help reinforce the straps another 1/4″ below the first.

Cut off any excess fabric below the two seams.  I then pressed it and Addie loved wearing Nana’s dress as she has been calling it!  Since she was 19 months when my Mother passed away I want to help keep Nana real to my children in every way possible.  It turned out really cute and of course I think almost anything on my adorable Addie look great!  This really was super easy and finished in under an hour with lots of stops along the way.

If I didn’t explain a step well enough, or if you have questions don’t hesitate to ask!  I hope to start sharing a lot more upcycle projects with you.  Have you up-cycled anything lately, I would love for you to share!


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17 thoughts on “Repurposing Clothes: Girl’s Dress from a Skirt Tutorial”

  1. Pingback: What to Do With All That Stuff-Do We Really Need It? | The Frugal Greenish Mama

  2. I am not the best at sewing but this looks pretty easy, even for me to tackle. What a cute and creative idea – will have to give this a try for my girls – thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks Andrea and all the others as well. Of course I think she is just beautiful but Mama’s hearts are always more partial 😉

  3. This is so cute! I bought a skirt for my daughter at a consignment sale & when I got home, I discovered that the elastic was pulled way out of the skirt. It was way too big for her. But this makes me think it would be a good swing top! Pinning & tweeting your post.

    1. Oh you totally could! If you really love the skirt, the elastic could probably be repaired but would be a pain. Go for the swing top! Let me know how it goes.

  4. Ah! That is adorable! 🙂 And what a cute little model you have there. hehe! What a great way to use an unwanted clothing item. I have a son and have made pants for him out of Daddy’s old sweaters. LOVE upcycling clothes!!

  5. This is great! I have a few cute skirts that I just don’t wear, but I didn’t want to get rid of either. I’m definitely going to try this with them.

    1. It really is so easy! Next I am going to use elastic at the chest so I don’t have to make straps, so I will share that soon!

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