Monday, July 1, 2013

DIY: Maxi Dress to Maxi Skirt

I adore maxi skirts.

The long ones that brush your toes and have patterns like these:

Miabella Printed Chiffon Maxi Skirt from Neiman Marcus
Palm Print Silk Patio Skirt from Banana Republic
Foldover Knit Maxi Skirt from Piperlime

The problem I run into (besides cost) is that on my 5'10" frame, they end up short.
Like a prairie skirt.
Like I walked straight off of Little House.

But I found a solution.  A quick one.  By thinking outside of the maxi dress.

You heard me.  Dress.

I saw a shirred top dress at Forever 21 for $20, similar to this one:

And converted it into a skirt with a quick elastic waistband job.  And you can do it too, not just for height reasons. But because you've got skills.

Here's How:

Maxi dress
Matching thread

1. Prep your elastic.

There are different types of elastic. Because our fabric is light and we are sewing a casing we should use braided. Determine the length of your elastic piece by measuring around your waist at the point where you want the skirt to hang.  Your final length will typically be about 2-4 inches shorter than that measurement, but it is important to stretch it around yourself to see what feels comfortable for you. Make sure it will stretch enough to go over your widest part.  When you've found what feels good, add in 2 inches to overlap and sew together at the end.

2. Cut off the top of the dress.

Try on your maxi dress and position it where you want your skirt to hang.  For me, that is with the bottom brushing my toes.  Put a pin where you want the waist to be, then measure two inches up. That is where to make your cut, because you need the 2 inches at the top for the casing,

 3. Fold over the casing.

Fold the top of your fabric over towards the inside measuring 3/4 of an inch. Press with an iron.  Fold over again measuring 1 1/4 inches. Press again. I used stretchy polyester, so pressing wasn't necessary.

4. Pin your casing in place.

Pin down the folds you just made so they don't slip out while sewing.

5.  Sew

Begin sewing at the bottom edge of your fold.

If you are sewing a stretchy fabric, use a wide zig-zag stitch and pull the fabric taut while it is feeding through the machine. Stop sewing about 2 inches away from your beginning stitch so you have a slot to feed the elastic through.

6.  Put in your elastic.

Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic that you are feeding through.  Push it all the way through to the other end of the casing far enough so you can easily work with both ends. Overlap the elastic by one inch and sew them together with a straight stitch near the end of each piece.

7. Sew the casing closed at the spot you left open for the elastic.

8. Stretch out your waistband to even out the fabric bunching.


Do something fabulous.  Like see a show or go to the store for eggs.

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