Home » Featured » Turn a Maxi Dress…into a Maxi Skirt {in MINUTES!!}

Turn a Maxi Dress…into a Maxi Skirt {in MINUTES!!}

I love Maxi Skirts.  In fact, I love Maxi Dresses too.  They’re comfy, usually light and flowy, and hide my whitey-white legs. ;)


A few months ago, I found a darling maxi dress at Target, brought it home, hated the fit of it on me……….but knew that wouldn’t deter me from wearing this cute stretchy knit fabric.  So, I cut it off into a long Maxi Skirt and LOVE it.


Oh wait, you haven’t worn many Maxi Skirts?!!  Well, don’t walk, RUN and grab a few…..because the comfort of them is about equal to yoga pants, but definitely cuter.  Ha.  No joke, you’ll be in comfort heaven.  (And you can leave the house in them without feeling like you’re still in your jammies.)


But if you can’t find any you like, grab a dress that doesn’t look so hot on you as a Maxi Dress (or buy one that you love the print of) and turn that thing into a comfy skirt….super speedy fast!


 (By the way, my sister Robin is the one wearing the skirt, so I could take the photos.  Thanks Robby!!)




Some of you also may have a problem with finding Maxi skirts that aren’t “too short” or “too long”……so this technique is PERFECT for you.  Since you’re cutting a dress into a skirt, you can make it whatever length you want.  See?  Very cool.




And you know, that elastic band makes this skirt super comfy, especially for any of you with expanding baby bumps.  (Or maybe there’s no baby in there but you go up and down in size, depending on how much baking you did over the weekend! Ha. ;)  Yeah, that’s me! )







Some of you may even remember when I cut off my friend’s dress and turned it into a skirt for her……but with a shirred waistband.  That’s a really fun variation too.





But I know some of you are still nervous about that whole shirring thing (which you really shouldn’t be….but in case you are, here’s more info about shirring), or maybe your machine doesn’t quite cooperate with you.


So, if that’s the case……try this elastic band version instead.  It’s actually faster.  And just as darling.  Oh yeah, and extreeeeeeeeemely comfy.  Check, check, and CHECK! :)




And keep in mind, this method can be used to turn shorter length dresses into shorter skirts……not just Maxi’s.  I know your mind is thinking right this minute about that dress that’s hanging in your closet, that has never fit right.  Go on, enjoy it as a skirt instead!


 (Thanks again Robin……you’re a gracious little model! :) )



Ready to turn a dress into a skirt??


Okay, time for some magic. :)


Cut off your dress, right at the length that you want it to fit YOU.  However, be sure to measure the width of your elastic, account for the overlap of the two, and adjust the length you need from there.  For example, my elastic was 3 inches wide and I knew I’d be overlapping the skirt onto the under side of the elastic by 1/2 an inch.  So, I cut the skirt 2 1/2 inches shorter to account for the wide elastic. 




Then, cut a piece of elastic that is a 1/2 inch shorter then your waist measurement.  (Actually, I always measure more like my hips, because I never wear these skirts at my waist.  So, just measure where you like to wear your skirts.)  Then overlap by a 1/2 inch and sew the two ends down with the zig-zag stitch.





Next, divide your elastic into eighths and place a pin to mark it.




Do the same with the upper edge of the skirt, a pin to mark your eighths.




Match up each of the pins and pin the elastic to the skirt, overlapping it onto the outside upper edge of the skirt by a 1/2 inch.




Turn the skirt inside out and place your needle down into the fabric and elastic.  You’ll notice between your pins, there’s probably some puckering.




Pull the elastic with your hand (and pull from the back with your other hand) and sew the skirt right to the elastic, with a ZIG-ZAG stitch.  Be sure that the fabric is only overlapping by a 1/2 inch and sew slowly until you get the hang of it.  (TIP: If you’re having a hard time keeping the fabric in place, add more pins and divide the skirt into like sixteenths.)




When you’re done, you will have a zig-zag stitch all the way around.




Iron the skirt from the outside, to eliminate any rippling or puckers.



And that’s it.


Now, you’re ready from some cute comfort.






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Featured Sponsor:


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Dotty Hansen says:

    I don’t wear maxi dresses. I found some lovely ones at Good Will that I cut off to midi style. I love the prints and need ideas how to use them in a project. Do you check suggestions? They vary in widths from 6” to 10”

  2. lindsey swift says:

    i’ve been reading your blog for ages now but never seem to pluck up the courage to try any of your fantastic projects!
    but i am very grateful that i read through this particular project because my 4 year old daughter has a beautiful maxi dress that i got from the local charity shop however 2 days ago she was wearing it and stepped on the bottom when going to the toilet and tore the straps almost totally off! she was soooo upset because she loves wearing that dress so much! but i remembered your idea and after re-reading your tutorial i just fired up my sewing machine and although it’s not as perfect as yours my daughter now has a new maxi skirt that is perfect for her to dance around in again!
    thanks for a great idea – my daughter is very grateful

  3. Janis Barber says:

    Hi Ashley. I’ve just asked you about changing a long dress & I’ve now found it. Sorry to bother you. Janis.

  4. Oriana says:

    So so so cute and inspiring! I’m making my list of dresses to alter into comfy skirts right now…..and it’s almost 10PM! Carpe sew ’em :)

  5. Jenny says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! My mom gave me a fold-over maxi skirt for my birthday several months ago and I couldn’t wear it because it would fall off. I followed your directions and now it fits perfectly. Thanks again!

  6. Kristina Noall says:

    I just bought a swim cover-up on clearance that I think i’ll do this with. Grey knit with black stripes, super comfy and flowy (and long)–that says maxi skirt to me, and for fairly cheap! Thanks for making it easier for me!

  7. suesie says:

    That’s sound a good idea cutting off the maxi dress to mix and match. I’m curious to follow how to. By the way, I found one more choice a relaxing maxi dress that I used to buy and try, so I wanna recommend if you are the one who love relaxation like me. I think it would come with the quality of material which makes you feel relaxed, untroubled, and satisfied physically.

  8. Jill Will Run says:

    So glad I stumbled upon this! I had a baby last summer and have a few maxis from that time that have just been stashed in my closet. And I’m glad that someone asked (and received answers) about the wide elastic. I’ve never seen that, but that makes it seem easy enough to do! Thank you for sharing your tips!

  9. Krista Hansen says:

    I did this to a few maternity maxi dresses that I just wasn’t ready to let go of yet. I love them!!

  10. Ali says:

    Do you think the shirring would work with a double needle?

  11. VeleenFire says:

    Love the idea! Especially in using the elastic.

    I have been brainstorming about making pants out of a skirt like this. Skirts seem to be popular, but I found in the store only one pair of pants and loved them, and I want more. Have you done anything like that? (I know, I know, pants are much harder… But there has to be way…)

  12. Ellie says:

    So, in other words you’re saying this is the type of skirt you could get fat in and not even realize? Ha!
    Love the skirt. But that belt!…obviously we ALL love it!! Such a great contrast with that red. Can’t wait!

  13. Bonnie Ditto says:

    Ashley to the rescue! I had made two maxi skirts that were just too bulky at the waist. Not now! Took out the elastic in casing and did the wide elastic. MIRACLE! So much better and it took longer to undo the casing on one skirt than it did to put the elastic on both. Thanks for the cure!

  14. Chelsea says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, it was just in time. My favorite maxi dress is dieing :( The shiring is coming out of the top (and it’s way too much to fix and have it look good. It’s so nice to have the guess work taken out of these things, especially when it’s already a favorite.

  15. MandaNell says:

    This may be a silly question, but where do you find the wide elastic like that? Do you by it by the yard off of a bolt?


    1. Melissa says:

      You can find wide elastic on etsy. I just search under supplies and then wide black elastic.

    2. Ashley says:

      You can also find it at local fabric stores. It will most likely be sold on large spools, by the yard. Just ask and they’ll show you where to find the elastic-by-the-yard. But yes, online is a great place if you can wait for shipping!
      Good luck!

    3. MandaNell says:

      Thanks to both of you! I live in a tiny town and the closest walmart is 35 minutes away. Needless to say the closest Joann or Hobby Lobby is an hour away, so I don’t make it to fabric stores very often. It would probably cost about the same amount to ship it as to spend the gas going to get it. I appreciate the quick replies. I knew I hadn’t seen it that wide at walmart, so I guess I will be ordering some!

      Thanks again!


  16. Maureen M. says:

    Lovely tutorial! I love the waistband (so fast) and the ability to adjust the length because of using a dress. I found a dress that I thought would make a fabulous skirt on a clearance rack ($5) and passed it up because it was a plus size :( But actually I probably could have measured it against one I have and make new side seams? What do you think?

    1. Ashley says:

      Absolutly!! If it’s super cute fabric and a good length, just sew in the sides, trim off the excess and then add the waistband! See?!?! You’re thinking outside the box! :)

  17. Janie says:

    I need the flower belt tutorial!!!! Please! It goes so well with that maxi!

    1. Ashley says:

      I agree……super cute, huh? I’ll probably re-create it and then share it next week! :)

  18. Hallie says:

    Yes, please do a tutorial on the belt!! I love it! I can’t wait to make two of my maxi dresses in skirts now, they are too frumpy on me. Thanks for the tutorial! :)

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m totally going to. It’s darling and won’t be too hard to re-create! I’ll probably put it up next week though! :)

  19. Sophie says:

    Did you also « upgraded » the shirt?

    1. Ashley says:

      By “upgraded”, do you mean did I make the belt? If so, no, I didn’t make it but I’m going to re-create it and share it probably next week! :)

  20. missy says:

    Awesome. I hope you show us how to make that awesome belt tomorrow!

    1. Ashley says:

      I will, but probably not until next week! Cut though, huh?

  21. Erin says:

    You find the best clothes-to-fabric selections. Technical question: Do you measure the 1/2″ overlap where you place the elastic, or do you eyeball it? Just a general question for other projects as well, to help me avoid uneven hems. Thanks!

    1. Ashley says:

      I honestly just eyeball it. With a fabric like knit, it’s pretty forgiving and you’d never notice if the hem was off by an 1/8 of an inch or something, in one location. And the reason why, is that knit fabric stretches and could become uneven on its own. However, it’s never by much……and isn’t noticeable, since it’s so flowy and stretchy. Try to get it as close as you can……but don’t panic if it’s slightly off.

  22. Sarah says:

    Cute, adorable, love it.

  23. Rebekah says:

    The skirt is great but I also really want to learn about the belt! So cute.

    Thanks :-)

    1. Ashley says:

      I agree, it’s pretty cute! I’ll probably share it next week!

  24. Mandy says:

    Love it! Also wondering about the belt! Did you make it? Can you post a tutorial for that (soon!!!!). Thanks for all of your inspirational projects.

    1. Ashley says:

      Nope, I didn’t make it. I snagged it from my sister’s belt stash. I’s a pretty simple concept that I’m going to have to re-create and share really soon! :)

  25. erin, maker of chimes says:

    that’s awesome, you make it look so easy!

  26. Amanda :) says:

    I love it! And I happen to be one of those with an expanding belly, so this will be great :)

    1. Gia says:

      I LOVED my maxi skirts for my last pregnancy. As the bump grew, I just pulled the skirt up a little higher and I was able to wear them up until the last day and be super comfy. They look great in that weird post partum “frump” stage before you can fit back into your jeans too. They are SOOOOOOO versatile to dress up and down.

      I’m so chopping off the top of my favorite maternity maxi dress to do this. Love the pattern and I know I can still wear it if another bump forms ;-)

  27. The Prudent Homemaker says:

    I kept hoping for a belt tutorial! I hope that post is next!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, you’re gonna get it! Probably next week though! :)

  28. Neviana says:

    Hi, I like the flower, please take some tutorial for this flower belt.

    1. Ashley says:

      I’m definitely going to. It’s pretty cute and isn’t too complicated at all. :)

  29. Jen says:

    Newbie sewing question – do I have to have a special needle for sewing with elastic?
    I am tall and have some really cheap maxis I found at t thrift store that have been collecting dust while I work up the courage to try this.

    1. Ashley says:

      Nope! Just use your regular ol’ needle! Good luck chopping up your old maxi’s!!

  30. Brittany says:

    This is awesome! Thanks! I was wondering… Did you make the aqua flower belt/sash in the picture?

    1. Ashley says:

      Nope, I didn’t make it. I snagged it from my sister’s belt stash. I’s a pretty simple concept that I’m going to have to re-create and share! :)

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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