Modern Modesty – Dress into Skirt Easy Tutorial

My little darling is growing up, up, up, but not away just yet.  Here is a simple 30 minute tutorial to show you how to turn those too-short dresses into skirts.  This is great for either clothes you already have or for all of those goodies at your local Good Will.  This tutorial can be used for your dresses or hers.

Supplies:  dress, good fabric cutting scissors, seam ripper, thread, pins, elastic (scroll down for elastic measurement)

Disclaimer:  My pics aren’t great.  My model was refusing to cooperate.  Ugh, those super models!

No knees please!
  • Turn the dress wrong-side out.

We're going to cut right below the sleeves to maximize the length.

  • Decide where you want to cut the fabric and cut.  Bonus: this is a knit fabric, so there is no unraveling along the cut edges.

I cut underneath the elastic thread to eliminate any additional seam ripping.

  • Fold the top down approximately one inch.   This is just a play skirt, so I wasn’t intent on perfection.  Break out your handy little sewing ruler if that’s your thing. 

For this dress, I just used the stripes as a guide.

  • Fold down one more time and pin in place.

Again, I used my pattern for a guide. On the other side is a pink line that I want for my top bar.

  • Turn right-side out and make sure it matches the picture in your mind.
This is what it looks like right-side out.

Measuring the Elastic for a Waistband

  • Wrap the elastic around your daughter’s waist for the natural fit(or hips–Gigi pulls everything down below her pot belly.)
  • Cut one inch shorter than natural fit.  (If she measures 20″, cut the elastic to 19″.)

No belly lint. : )

Sewing a Ruffled Waistband Without Elastic Thread

This section will show you how to add a little decorative element to your waistband.

  • Line up your foot with the right edge of the fabric.

The more room you put between the foot and the right edge will give you a bigger ruffle.

  •  Make sure to keep your seams lined up.
It’s the little details like this that will make your work look more “quality”.
  • Sew all the way around.

One straight line, hopefully.

  • Now it’s time to do the second line.  Make sure that you allow enough room between the first line and the second line for your elastic to fit in between.

    Prevent frustration and check visually before sewing!


  • Before beginning this second run, keep in mind that you will need to leave a 2″ gap for fishing that elastic through.

    Nice, good gap.


  • Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic, and fish that elastic from one opening to the other.  Make sure that the elastic doesn’t turn in the process.

    Good-sized safety pin attached to elastic.Going under and in.And out the other side.

  • Making sure that the elastic will lay flat, sew the two ends together.  Some people use a zig-zag stitch.  I just use my triple-straight stitch.

    Don't bang your finger!

  • Pull the waistband to situate the elastic and then sew the gap shut.

    You will have to pull the waistband taut in order to sew a smooth line.

  • Make sure the skirt looks good, inside and out

    InsideAnd out.

Ruffled waistband around pot belly

Work the final photo op! 

She loves it!


Thank you for joining me for another tutorial!  I’m adding tutorials as I can through my moving process.  Here are the others I have right now:

Simple Skirt Tutorial for Girls

Sweet and Sassy Skirt Tutorial for Girls


10 thoughts on “Modern Modesty – Dress into Skirt Easy Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Dealing with Anxiety and Nervousness « Musings of a Minister's Wife

  2. I love this idea! Too bad I don’t sew, and don’t have a sewing machine. My 5 year old loves, her dresses and tutus. It would be fantastic if I could turn her much loved dresses into skirts that she could wear a little while longer!

  3. Great job! I love it! Helping little girls grow up with Godly modesty as a priority and as what is “normal” for them will make their lives as adults so much easier. That is just adorable…and your daughter is precious!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!


    Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I have two more tutorials that I’ve been sitting on that I need to finish, and you just gave me the inspiration. All of my laundry is actually done so I won’t feel bad about taking a little computer time. : )

  4. This is a great idea to share. I love to sew and will give this a try. And thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂 I’m subscribing to yours.
    Have a blessed day,


  5. love this. have done the same before. another idea that i’ve done also is to take the skirt of a too short dress [like this] or a length of fabric from another project and attach it to a t-shirt to create another dress-only longer. then you don’t have to deal with elastic :)–not my favorite thing to do.

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