Got a long skirt you don’t wear anymore? Don’t give it away just yet. Why not repurpose it instead—for example, into a ’60s-style pinafore dress? Even though there are a lot of steps to this DIY, each one is really easy to do, and the result is unquestionably rad. (I apologize in advance if this tutorial makes you want to hack up every skirt in your closet. You’ve been warned!)
What you’ll need:
• A long skirt. Really long, like ankle length, so you’ll have enough material for the full dress. (The skirt I’m using is about 30″ long.)
• Thread that matches (or contrasts pleasingly with) your skirt.
• Suspender clips—these can be found near the snaps and buttons at most fabric or craft stores.
• A measuring tape.
• A fabric marker or tailor’s chalk.
• A sewing machine (though, if you’re an ambitious hand-sewer, you could totally do this without a machine!).
How to do it:
Cutting out your pieces:
Step One: The skirt.
Determine how long you want the skirt part of your finished dress to be. An easy way to do this is to find a skirt in your closet that’s the right length and measure that, then add an inch for the hem. Mark that length on the skirt you’re working on (starting from the top of the skirt) with a sewing pin, then sketch out a line with your marker or chalk where the hem will be and cut along that line.
Step Two: The bib.
The fabric that’s left over after you’ve cut out your skirt will become the top part of your pinafore—the bib and straps.
Make two measurements: (1) across your chest, as wide as you want the bib to be; and (2) from the top of the bib to your natural waistline. (I wanted my bib to hit about an inch and a half below my collarbones, so I started my measurement there.) Add half an inch to both numbers for seam allowance, then measure and sketch out a bib on your fabric. (I made mine in a sort of trapezoidal shape, but you can use any shape you want, like a circle, a square, or even a heart! Repeat this step so you’ve got two identical pieces for the bib.
Step Three: The straps.
Sketch out two skinny rectangular pieces, allowing half an inch length- and widthwise for seam allowance (mine ended up being three inches wide and 25 inches long, but yours may vary depending on the length of your torso and your personal preference).
Putting the pieces together:
Lay the two bib pieces one on top of the other, with the “outside” sides of the fabric touching, and pin the tops and sides together.
Fold the straps in half, widthwise, and pin the raw edges together along the entire length of each strap, so you end up with two “tubes” of fabric.
Sew the bib and strap pieces alongside the pins, about half an inch from the edges, using a straight stitch. (Remember to leave the bottom of the bib, and the ends of the straps, open so you’ll be able to turn the pieces right side out!
Trim the edges of the three pieces, about ½ inch from the stitches you just made.
Turn the bib and straps right side out and press them with an iron.
Attaching the suspender clips:
These little clips will keep your bib from falling down. Here’s how you attach them.
Stick a pin into each strap, one inch from the end. Lay out the straps and place a clip (“wrong” side up) at the pinned end of each one. Weave the ends of the straps through the clips, and fold them over so the ends line up with the pins.
Sew across each of these little ends to close the loops you just made.
Assembling the dress:
Fold the skirt and the bib in half widthwise, mark the fold on each with a pin, then unfold them.
Flip down the top edge of the skirt at the seam you made earlier, then lay out your the skirt and bib the way they’ll look when the dress is done, with the bib on top of the skirt, their edges flush against each other. Be sure to line up the pins you just stuck in them.
Flip the waistband back up and pin it to the bib. Sew the whole thing in place along the top edge of the waistband.
Attaching the straps:
Flip the skirt over to the back side and mark two spots with pins, at least three inches from the sides of the waistband. This is where your straps will go.
Place the clipless ends of the straps on top of the inner waistband of the skirt, right where those pins are. Pin, then sew, the straps in place.
Hemming the skirt:
Just one step for this last part! Hem the bottom edge of your skirt however you like—I suggest going with a double-fold hem because it’s quick and easy, and the sooner you get this skirt hemmed the sooner you can wear it out!
That’s that! You’ve now got yourself one totally rad pinafore dress! ♦