One of the easiest things to up-cycle is a dress into a skirt. I do many of these for clients with their  beloved formal gowns. I hope you enjoy a very simple one that needed no closures or elastic casings.
What makes it so simple is that more than half of the work has already been done for you by the fabric already being preshrunk, seams are already sewn and finished as well as the hemlines being completely taken care of.

My friend bought this used dress for a swim cover up. She is so tiny that the dress looked like it was wearing her. She kindly gifted it to me to use the fabric however I pleased. It is my personal opinion that yellow always steals the show but it’s such a fun loving color and perfect for a little skirt.

I cut the bodice off the dress by simply folding the dress in half.

Since this dress has lining I pinned the two layers together to make sure nothing gets shifty on me.

I ran the two layers through my serger to marry them. If you do not have a serger you can always use a zigzag or finishing stitch on a regular sewing machine. Then hem your finished edge 1/4″.

Instead of making a bulky elastic casing I chose to do a technique called shirring, it is really easy to do.

Fill a bobbin with the elastic thread. TIP – the trick is that you want the elastic thread loosely wound on the bobbin. Do not put the elastic thread through the bobbin tension disc to fill it. Some use a pencil or paint brush and fill it manually by hand.

Load the top of your sewing machine with regular thread just as you always do. Place your bobbin in the bobbin house just like you would normally do a bobbin. Make sure you have a long tail of elastic thread to draw up from. The thread is elastic so it can behave like a snake and bounce back in your machine to hide.

I like to use a 3 mm stitch length and back stitch really well.

Sew around the top of your skirt by placing it right side up in your machine. I feel it is easier to sew a spiral around the waistline instead of starting and stopping at every rotation of the skirt with the shirring method. Disclosure, all fabrics will react to shirring differently, practice and test on your fabric first.

When you first get started it will not look like it is gathering at all until you have a few rows.

Make sure as you go around you stop to check before you run out of the elastic bobbin thread. You will want to lock in your last stitches really tight so it’s important to not run out. I got almost ten rows before I started to run out.

The secret is to shoot it with a little steam from your iron to really bring it all in.

I made this skirt in about thirty minutes, but if you are new to shirring I suggest you practice on a scrap before getting started.

Behind the scenes~

All of the spring classes have been listed.

Last weekend was my big art opening with Artist United at The Orphanage Gallery.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!

Tracy McElfresh
Latest posts by Tracy McElfresh (see all)