Turn a Dress Into a Skirt for Young Girls : Repurposing Your Not So Little Girl’s Clothing

Turn a Dress Into a Skirt for Young Girls : Repurposing Your Not So Little Girl's Clothing

I took a deep sigh of relief when I figured our how to turn my daughter’s very nice but too small dresses into lovely skirts she can still wear for a time.

In the past year and a half my little daughter has been growing by leaps and bounds.

Where she once came to my shoulder she now stands head to head with me (just about). Even though her frame is still small her legs have stretched like a gisele.

This means that her lovely dresses which once came modestly to just at or below her knees are now edging up more to mid-thigh. We’re modest dressers so this did not sit well with her.

It was hard enough to find nice modest dresses for her when she was younger and shorter but now it was almost next to impossible to find decent ones as she grew!

As much as I love my child I hesitated to buy a bevy of new dresses for my daughter because I knew she would grow out of them very quickly. And I wracked my brain on what to do.

Now the strange thing was that in all these years I had never once bought my daughter a skirt.


I don’t really know. Maybe I never really saw skirts for little girls. Maybe I saw a few but they would be really short and not on my radar.

But all of a sudden I had the idea that some skirts for my growing girl might be what she needed.

So she and I scoured the internet looking for nice, pretty, modest skirts and pretty much came up empty handed.

I wasn’t surprised.

I was about to give up and get her some dresses from my old standbys LandsEnd.com and AprilCornell.com I do love their dresses but they don’t come cheap and with a growing child it can get expensive.

Then I thought about turning some of her dresses into skirts. After the thought came to me before I did some online searching but I can see other people had the same brilliant idea.

I couldn’t find anyone on one who had already done this to walk me through but I did find this post on adding a colorful cute waistband with some colored elastic.

The elastic can also be purchased on Amazon. Here are some pretty colors… BerryPurpleand Tile Blue.

First of all I totally apologize that I didn’t take pictures of the original dresses. This was all done very quickly, spur of the moment, we need something for church tomorrow. I wasn’t think about the blog when I did this I was thinking of my daughter. So sorry.

So here are the steps I took…

  1. I did no measuring besides getting a rough estimate of my daughter’s waist, per the article linked above, and went to work.
  2. On the dress I cut off as high on the bodice as I could so that it would make a longer skirt.
  3. Then I gathered the skirt material with my sewing machine. There are few ways to do this but I just used this simple method found on youtube.
  4. Next I sewed the elastic ends together overlapping them a bit.
  5. Finally I attached the elastic to the skirt with a simple straight stitch.

Mostly I would sew the elastic on with the skirt top edge behind the elastic but for an extra fun bit, and if you have a serger (I have this one by brother) you can serge the top edge of the skirt before gathering it. This will give the top edge a playful ruffly look (I did that with one of the skirt in the picture below). Then sew the elastic to the inside of the skirt waistband with about 1/2 an inch peeking over the top.

Voila! I did this with 4 of my daughter’s dresses for 4 new skirts!

Dresses turned into skirts

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  1. Those turned out lovely! Elastic waist skirts were one of my first sewing projects with my daughters. My son has hit a similar growth spurt which had him borrowing clothes from my husband last month.

    1. Thank you Jennifer! It’s really expanded her closet. She’s also more apt to wear them to a casual outing than she did the dresses. I imagine boys pants would be much more difficult. You could have a bunch of shorts but what to do when winter comes ? If you come upon an ingenious idea let us know please 🙂

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