How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt

The following post is by contributing writer Jackie

I have been in need of some new skirts. However, I really don’t like to shop for clothes for myself. So, I went shopping in my own closet. 🙂

What I found was a maternity dress that I liked but no longer needed. It was the perfect candidate for a dress to skirt makeover.


You may be wondering why would you ever need to turn a dress into a skirt?

Maybe you have a dress that you no longer enjoy wearing but still like the print.

Maybe you are nursing a baby and a dress you like doesn’t allow for easy nursing.

Maybe you have a maternity dress you no longer need like I did.

All of these are great reason for a dress to skirt transformation. Here’s how to do it.


  • Dress
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • 3/4 or 1 inch Elastic
  • Safety Pin


1. Lay out the dress and line up the hem on the front and back. Make sure that the top of the dress is smooth and that the side seams are aligned. Pin it together.

This step helps ensure that the front and back of your skirt will be the same length.

Dress to Skirt 1

2. Determine how long you want the skirt to be and mark a cutting line with a ruler and pins.

If you aren’t sure of how long to make the skirt you can lay a skirt you already own on top of the dress and add 1 1/4 inches to the length before cutting.

Dress to Skirt 2

3. Cut off the top of the dress.

Dress to Skirt 3

4. Serge or overcast the cut edge of the skirt without cutting any fabric off.

Dress to Skirt 4

5. Turn the skirt wrong side out and fold the serged/overcast edge down 1 1/4 inches and pin in place.

6. (Optional) Press the folded edge with an iron.

Dress to Skirt 5

7. Sew right along the serged edge all the way around the skirt leaving 2 inches un-sewn to insert the elastic.

This step forms a casing for the elastic.

(Bonus Idea) Cut a small piece of grosgrain ribbon and fold it in half. Put the raw edges of the ribbon inside the casing, at the back of the skirt, and sew during step 7 to form a tag.

Dress to Skirt 6

8. Attach a safety pin to one end of the elastic and thread it through the casing.

Dress to Skirt 7

9. Try on the skirt and adjust the elastic until the skirt fits well. Mark where to sew the elastic together using the safety pin.

Dress to Skirt 10

10. Overlap the two ends of elastic, being sure the elastic isn’t twisted, and sew back and forth 3 or 4 times using a zig-zag stitch. Cut off the extra elastic.

Dress to Skirt 8

11. Sew the opening of the casing closed just like you sewed Step 7.

12. (Optional) Turn the skirt right side out. Stitch along each seam line vertically, only on top of the elastic, to help keep the elastic from twisting in the wash. This is called stitching in the ditch.

Dress to Skirt 9

That’s all there is to turning a dress into a skirt.

How to Turn a Dress into a Skirt

I am definitely going to be checking my closet for more dresses I don’t wear anymore so that I can make more skirts. How about you?

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  1. I think this idea would help me turn cheap baggy dresses at Goodwill into skirts that can fit me. Simple idea.

  2. Julie-Anne says:

    My question is, does this method work for all fabrics? I have an acetate dress that I’d like to make into a shirt for Halloween.
    Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi, Julie-Anne. I think this method should work for all fabrics. I would make sure you have the right needle for your fabric to avoid any issues. Other than that I think you should be fine. Please let me know how it turns out.

  3. Hi Jackie

    Could you do this with a chiffon dress? I am new to sewing but keen to learn!! 🙂
    Thank you!!

    • Hi, Claire. I am sure you could do this with a chiffon dress. I think the chiffon might be a little tricky, but it could be done. Just cut and pin carefully and you should be fine. There really isn’t much sewing to this project. Let me know if you give it a try. 🙂


  1. […] If you want to know exactly how I turned the dress into a skirt then head on over to The Happy Housewife for the tutorial. […]

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