Oversize Maxi to Pleated Dress Refashion

B-150720 before and afterI certainly love sewing clothes from scratch.  Being able to create exactly what you want from the style to the fit to the fabric is such a wonderful thing.

However, let’s face it, fabric isn’t always cheap.  But what is great about knowing how to sew is that you can always take a cheap thrifted garment and use it to create something fresh and new.

Today’s refashion is a dress that I found at Goodwill.  I was drawn to the fabric.  I love stripes and blue is my favorite color but I also was drawn to the variety of stripes and colors in this particular dress.

Now this dress was huge and when I put it on I was drowning in stripes! But I knew I could try to turn it into something shorter and more fitted, so that is exactly what I set out to do and this is my final result.  What do you think?B-150720-0143 B-150720-0150 B-150720-0163 B-150720-0176

It would have been better if the skirt was a bit fuller for the pleats, but I think it still works.  You could also do this as a gathered skirt option too.

So here is what I did if you want to see!

Cut the skirt portion out from the dress

1.  Measure from your waist (where you want the bodice and skirt to meet) down to where you want the skirt to end.  Place the dress flat on the ground and using that measurement plus 1/2 inch for seam allowance, measure from the bottom of the skirt up and mark.  Do this going along one end of the skirt to the other, creating a straight line.B-150717-59662.  Cut along the line.   (I followed one of the stripes.)  This will be the skirt portion of the dressB-150717-5967Make the bodice portion of the dress

3.  Take a well fitted tee shirt you own and try it on.  Mark where you want the waist to be for the bodice plus about 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Fold the bodice portion of the dress in half. Make sure all the seams match up nice and even.   Fold the tee and place on top  the same way lining up the mark on your tee shirt with the raw edge of the dress bodice.B-150717-59684.  Trace around the tee shirt leaving a generous amount for seam allowance.  I did about 1 1/2 inches, because it’s better to have it too big than too small.  When you get to the sleeves just fold them back as you follow along the curve.  Trace out along the back neckline.  Cut along where you traced.  B-150717-59735.  You will now have two pieces.  Now to make the neckline for the front piece, take one piece and fold it in half, then place the tee shirt back on top the same way and trace out your front neckline by folding away the back neckline of the tee shirt.  Cut out your new front neckline.B-150717-59776.  Get someone to help you pin the front and back bodice together on you till it is fitting snug all along the sides and top.  Mark where those pins are.  Take the pins out and place the front and back bodice pieces together.  Using a straight ruler, trace from the armhole marking to the bottom marking along the side seams.  If your markings are not the same on both sides (which they probably won’t be) go with the one that doesn’t take in as much and use that measurement to create the side seam for the other side.  Do the same with the shoulder seams.B-150717-59837.  Cut out the excess fabric on the sides leaving about 1/2 inch from the side seams you marked to the raw edge and then baste stitch the side and shoulder seams together where your markings are.  Try this on and make sure the fit is good.  Take in more as you see fit and make any other adjustments like creating a lower neckline if you wish.B-150717-59888.  Once you are happy with your fit, take out your baste stitches then stitch your seams together along the lines you marked with a serger or using a zigzag stitch. B-150718-5999Make the pleats in the skirt

9.  Measure along the bottom of your bodice and then along the top of your skirt.  Figure the different between the two measurements and this will be the amount you need to take in for the pleats.  So if you had a difference of 10 inches between the bodice and the skirt and you wanted to do four pleats, then each pleat would be about 2 1/2 inches.  Start from one side seam and measure over where you want your first pleat to be.  I measured over 2 inches.  Place a pin there  to mark (where the white pin is in the picture).  Then using your pleat size measure over and pin (where the red pin is in the picture).  Then measure over again where you want your next pleat to be and pin to mark.  Again I did 2 inches.  Repeat to create your next pleat.  Repeat all of this for the other side.  (Please disregard my blue markings in the picture.  I ended up redoing my pleat size which is where the pins are.)B-150718-600210.  To make the pleats.  Bring the first pin from the side seam (white pin) over to the second pin (red pin) and pin in place.  Do the same for all the other pleats.  B-150718-6005This is how the skirt should look.B-150718-600811.  Baste stitch the pleats down to keep them in place by stitching along the fold of the pleats an inch or two down. B-150718-6011 Attach the skirt to the bodice

12.  With right sides together pin the raw edge of the bodice to the raw edge of the skirt making sure to match up the side seams.  The skirt will be inside the bodice, with the bottom of the skirt coming out through the neckline of the bodice and the wrong side of the bodice will be facing out.  Baste stitch the skirt to the bodice and check to make sure your pleats look good and the fit is good.  Once you are happy, serge or zigzag stitch the skirt to the bodice.B-150718-6012Finish the neckline and armholes

13.  Finish the raw edges of the neckline and armholes with a serger, or if you don’t have one you can finish them with a zigzag stitch, but since this is knit fabric you could just leave the raw edges unfinished and they won’t fray.  B-150718-601614.  With the dress right side out, fold the neckline and armholes under once and pin in place.B-150718-601815.  Using a twin needle on your sewing machine, sew down the neckline and armholes.  B-150718-6019

And that’s it!


6 thoughts on “Oversize Maxi to Pleated Dress Refashion

  1. Sarah Esh says:

    This is amazing! I’m pretty new to sewing and refashioning, but when a project turns out just as I had hoped, I get such a thrill from it. I would definitely love to see more tutorials like this one, it’s great for inspiration!


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