Saturday, October 20, 2012

Totally Awesome Dress Refashion to Children's Maxi Skirt Tutorial!

I want to share with you this awesome refashion tutorial from a women's knit tank dress to a super-fun children's maxi-skirt! This is a great sewing project that even a beginner can handle, and who doesn't love a comfy maxi-skirt?  Check through your closet, sewing friends, and look with new eyes. I'm always impressed with the refashioning and repurposing I see online and there's no reason why you can't take part too.

It started with a knit tank dress from the Gap. I wore this as a maternity beach cover-up. Um, I think its safe to repurpose it into a child's maxi-skirt!

Want to try one for yourself? Stick (pun intended) a new ballpoint/jersey needle in your machine for best results and let's get started!

1. Make your yoga waistband first. 
This will help you more accurately measure your desired length of the maxi-skirt. For the yoga band, I used an old white T-shirt made of a fairly thick knit, not too flimsy.  In fact, the knit was thick enough that I found the T-shirt hot, and never wore it. Let's give it some new life, people! Now, y'all can use fabric from the actual dress you are repurposing, especially if its a long dress, but I needed to save as much as possible for the length of the skirt.

You want to cut a front and a back waistband piece, then sew together on both sides (sideseams) to make a tube.

Desired waistband length = waist measurement MINUS one inch, maybe even two. Especially if your fabric is stretchy. This accounts for 1/2" seam allowance. Remember, knits will stretch and you want it to be snug around your waist.  So, you need to cut 2 pieces that are half of your desired waistband length, to be the front and back.

Here is some living math. My daughter's actual waist measurement is 22".
Desired waistband length = 22" MINUS 1"
Desired waistband length = 21"
Cut 2 pieces that are half this measurement, that is 21 divided by 2 = 10.5"  Good?

Cut across the T-shirt, the same direction as the stretch of the fabric. 

I have cut two strips that are 10.5" long, which will fit a 22" waist.  I cut the band 9" wide for a 4" wide yoga band. You can adjust this to your liking.  Sew the sides up, right sides together.  Like this:

Fold it in half lengthwise, with the seams facing each other on the inside.  Like this:

Try it on at this point, just to be sure it fits over the hips and is snug around the waist.  Adjust if needed. I ended up taking out another inch because the fabric was quite stretchy.

With your child wearing the yoga band comfortably, measure 1/2" from the bottom of the yoga band all the way down to the desired length, such as the ankles.  Add 1/2" to this measurement for seam allowance. With me so far? Hey, we're really almost done.  

2. Now onto the skirt part.
Go get your dress and lay it nice and flat. Cut it off, measuring out the desired length, from the center of the bottom hem. That way you don't have to even hem this baby!

Lay your yoga band above the skirt piece, centering it. You are going to kind of eyeball where to cut the skirt side seams.  You want it to be a bit bigger than the yoga band, to give a little ease.  Mark about an inch out from the yoga band, on either side edge of the skirt, like this:  See where my ruler edge is?  You can do it!!

Using your ruler and rotary cutter, or at least a good pair of scissors, cut from the place you just marked at the top, down to the bottom side, forming a nice A-line!  Like this:

Now sew the side seams, right sides together. I paid attention to keep my stripes matching as I sewed down the sides.  Woohoo, almost there you amazing seamstress you!

3. Last step. Sew the yoga band onto the skirt.
Turn your skirt inside out. Then tuck your yoga band inside the skirt so that right sides are facing together and the yoga band raw edges are at the top, even with the top edge of your skirt.  Pin the yoga band side seams to the skirt side seams.  It also helps to pin the center front/back of the skirt to the center front/back of the yoga band.  The skirt top edge is going to be WIDER than the band, but no worries, you will just stretch the yoga band as you sew, to make it fit.  Knits are so forgiving!  Sew it all around. Turn it right side out.

 Line up the yoga band raw edges with the top edge of the skirt. Pin, matching side seams, and sew!

And you're DONE!! Good job sister!! You could give the seams a light press now, but chances are your daughter is going to want to dress up in this maxi-skirt right away. Fold the yoga band over on itself for a lovely fit.

This children's maxi-skirt is so comfy and easy to wear and play in.  It feels good to refashion an unworn dress and bring new life to it. Super-cool.

And just so you don't think that I really do have more than 24 hours in a day, please notice the sea of play-felt all over the floor and you will know that when one is sewing, one is NOT cleaning. One is also taking advantage of toddler nap time; this project couldn't have been brought to you otherwise!

Have fun making your own dress refashion to a child's maxi-skirt.  Maybe one for mom too?

God bless and have a great weekend!

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