In high school, I was all about the hippie skirts. Okay, so it continued into college too. But anyway, I accumulated a lot as birthday presents and as a result of my thrift store obsession (come back on Free For All Friday to see some of our favorite thrift store finds!). Unfortunately, they’re not really in style right now. Most of mine hit above the ankle, so they’re too short to be maxi skirts. Sigh. Sometimes I pull them up, belt them, and wear them as strapless dresses, but I was looking for something better! I wanted a full out refashion and after some Pinterest-ing (always!), I decided to go with an easy sundress.
I started with this black hippie skirt with a bright colored paisley pattern. There was no tag, so I have no idea what type of fabric it officially is, but it’s breezy and light. My fabric had no stretch, but you could totally use a jersey type skirt — just use a zig zag stitch on the seams.
Iron & ironing board
1/2 inch elastic (optional)
Carefully cut off the elastic waist band of your skirt.
I salvaged the elastic to use for other projects. I’m kind of obsessed with making these easy skirts with elastic waistbands (I’ve already made 3 and have fabric for more) so it will be put to use shortly!
Flip the skirt inside out with the open ends on the sides. My skirt was wider than it was long, so I had to switch the top and sides. Pin the sides for hemming, leaving a few inches open at the top (depending on how wide you want your arm holes — I did 7 inches). I wanted to save the original hem, so I sewed about half inch in so I could cut it off later. Once the sides are pinned, trim off the bottom hem.
Using matching thread, sew up the sides. Trim off the original hem and set aside.
We’re going to sew a new hem on the only open side. Fold over the hem 1/2 inch and press (with your iron) all the way around.
Fold over 1 inch and press all the way around. Pin.
Carefully sew the hem all the way around. With a 1 inch hem, you’ll want to sew 3/4 inches into the fabric.
Lay out your skirt.
Fold in half and along the fold, cut out your neck hole. I wanted a v-neck, so I used a straight edge to made a diagonal cut. If you wanted a scoop neck, you would cut out a u-shape. For more of a boat neck, your hole would only be an inch or so deep, but would be a few inches long (depending on the desired size). Don’t be too aggressive with your cutting! You can always enlarge the hole if it’s too small, but it’s hard to sew it back up if it’s too big.
Try on your dress to see how neck is. I was okay with the size of the back V, but wanted something deeper in the front so I laid it out and cut a larger V.
Remember the original hem we cut off after sewing up the sides? Bust it out and open it up! Using your iron, press it open.
Flip your dress so the right side of the fabric is facing out. With the right sides together, line up your pressed original hem (now one long strip of fabric) and the neckline. I had to cut mine into two pieces to line everything up properly. Pin and sew all the way around.
Flip the dress inside-out and press the fabric at the neck open.
Fold over the neck fabric so the wrong sides are together. Press all the way around. Pin.
Sew all the way around. I put this seam about 1/2 inch into the fabric. Trim the extra fabric off.
Since my fabric frayed, I hemmed the sleeves too, but you may not find this necessary. My hem was about 3/4 inch all the way around.
Try on your dress, belt it, and see how it fits. Mine was a little too baggy in the armpits, so I brought them in a bit.
If you’re happy with your sun dress, you’re done now! It will pretty much look like a big pillowcase with neck and arm holes. Slap on a belt and you’re good to go! The rest of the steps are optional.
I wanted more even bunching, so I added an elastic waist with 1/2 inch elastic. Cut a piece of elastic approximately 1 inch longer than your waist and connect with a zig zag stitch. Wearing your dress inside out, pin the elastic at the center of your waist. Take off the dress, and pin the elastic the rest of the way around. It’s easiest with a friend, but you’ll pull the elastic tight and pin, so you make sure you’re covering all of the fabric.
I also cut two small pieces of elastic to ruche the sleeves. I pinned it along the top seam of each sleeve.
Whether you’re sewing the waist or sleeves, you’ll want to pull the elastic tight as you sew.
That’s it! What do you think? I love the way my refashion turned out! I’ll try to update later with pictures of me wearing the dress, but it’s been super rainy lately and my indoor lighting is terrible. And I apparently suck at taking pictures of people indoors. Soooo that’s something I’ll have to work on!
Have you ever upcycled or refashioned old clothes or something from the thrift store? Let us know in the comments below!